One of the best ways to enjoy Florence remains, to this day, the practice of the old nobility: retreat to the hills just outside the city and enjoy country air and peace. Just south of Florence, on one such hillside, where olive groves and orchards are interspersed with elegant mansions (including one recently bought by the couturier Valentino), is La Torricella, named after the 15th century tower which forms the heart of the property. Here, where the family has lived for the last hundred years, the Manettis have converted their 'casa del contadino', where the estate wine was made, into a small hotel of great charm. The conversion is beautiful and the recent addition of a pool with a wooden sundeck has added the finishing touch to this hidden little gem. On a hot day there is nothing more welcome than a swim after 'doing' the museums. Just 400 metres away, a bus runs regularly directly into the centre of Florence, a 15-20 minute ride. So convenient is Torricella for visiting Florence that it would be all too easy to overlook the fact that the hotel is also just a few kilometres not only from the Florence-Siena Superstrada and the motorway to Lucca, Pisa and Arezzo but also the 'Chiantigiana', the scenic route which winds through the heart of Chianti Classico, so there is plenty of other exploration to be undertaken from this little rural oasis. With just eight rooms, decorated with restraint and good taste, La Torricella has the feel of a family home. The owner and manager, Lisa Manetti, herself an artist and cook (Lisa gives informal Tuscan cookery lessons to guests on request), has called on talented artist friends to embellish her hotel with pressed flower pictures, stained glass and ceramics. For sheer indulgence, when you feel too lazy to dine in the little town of Galuzzo at the foot of the hill or in Florence, home-cooked dinner is available (if requested in advance) and can be enjoyed, like the buffet breakfast (which generally includes home-made cakes) either in the pretty little dining room or out on the terrace. Accommodation Details: Bedrooms have wrought iron twin/double beds, telephone, satellite TV, wall safe and minibar. Each has a shower room with hairdryer. Breakfast is served either in the cosy dining room or on the sunny terrace. Signora Manetti is a superb cook and so, in addition to preparing delicious dinners (please order in the morning), she will happily give lessons, bookable/payable locally. Lessons in Ceramics can also be arranged with her friend. A continental buffet breakfast is included in the price.
Via Vecchia Di Pozzolatico 23/25CP:50100,Florencia,Italia
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