I AM breathless as I ascend out of the symmetrical streets of the Florentine suburbs and up the winding mountainside. I begin to get the feeling that I am en route to somewhere and something special. Passing through the narrow entrance to the property, I am not disappointed. The Roman-revival, Palladian-like architecture of the hotel’s facade stands strong governing the immense vista over the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’, better known as Florence. The Belmond San Michele, situated on the hill of Fiesole, is the perfect respite to experience the city’s beauty from a height.
Belmond Villa San Michele
Entrenched with historical endeavours, the 15th century monastery was named after St Michael the Archangel. The blend of the monastic grandeur built with Pietra Serena stone and the contemporary interior displays an energy and contrast between old and new. The labyrinth of hallways leads to the bar and onto a modern-day Garden of Eden. The viridescent perfectly manicured flora of the gardens sweep through the landscape like an exquisite work of art.
Ristorante La Loggia
Here is the ultimate destination to sip indulgent aperitifs, devouring the outstanding vista from the adjoining gardens. Dine at Ristorante La Loggia del Piazzale Michelangelo and soak up the view over Florence through the frames of the 15th century arched terraces.
View across Florence
I would recommend the hotel’s novel offering- the Florentine Street Art Tour. Our tour guide is a local street artist who gives an insider’s peak into the world of the famed Florentine outdoor art. The street artist Blub’s work is hard to miss, famed for his L’arte Sa Nuotare or ‘Art Knows How to Swim’ project. Sedicene Moradi is a name I could not forget after admiring his sculpture, including ‘Selfie-Man’. Both these artists also are a strong feature in the Belmond property, adding a closer feel to the streets from the Fiesole hills.
Contemporary art at Belmond Villa San Michele
The property intricately mirrors Florence’s contrast of rich history and modern art, while adding a luscious coat of Italian luxury. With courtesy shuttle buses running frequently to and from the city centre, there are few better places from which to take in the great spectacle of Florence than the Belmond San Michelle.
By Rachel Spencer
Prices start from 450 Euros per night for a classic double room at Belmond Villa San Michele, based on two people sharing and including breakfast and excluding VAT. All Street Art Tours can be arranged upon request.
Tel: 0845 077 2222