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Tuscan Heaven: Villa Mangiacane

By Guest
Posts: 4

Posted on: October 24, 2008 at 1:44PM

fter a one night stay in Florence itself,my gf and I took a taxi out to the villa(about a 25 min journey). Through the rather impressive gates and up the long drive bordered by vineyards we were finally there. Our mouths were agape at the astounding beauty and stillness of the grounds. We were given a glass of prosecco and shown around the Villa and to our Terrace Suite(a free upgrade !) in the Main Villa: the doors opened and we were in a HUGE room with the highest ceilings I'd ever seen in a hotel:nice welcome bottle of their own Chianti on the table,lots of seating but where was the bed?! Then we noticed the staircase,u the stairs to a room with a GIANT bed (mmmmmm),then through another door to the bathroom and then through another door and upstairs to a hidden room which was our wardrobe! By this point,we were ear to ear grins. WOW WOW WOW ! We were on the second floor and outside our room was a very large loggia(Tuscan open air terrace/balcony/sitting room) with beautiful soft furninshings,tables,art books,sound system,TV and heaters for those chilly nights).BUT ,the view was the killer:beautiful grounds(complete with two "mini horses in residence) with Florence's Il Duomo directy ahead in the far distance.Sensational.Oh,and ,supposedly,the murals in the loggia were by Michaelangelo. The main villa also had two LARGE(again)reception areas where you could sit,have a drink,look at the lovely books/photo albums,play the grand piano,surf the internet,listen to music courtesy of a great Bose soundsystem or watch TV. Beautiful buffet breakfasts were served in the lovely charming garden nearer the main house:again,faultless.ahh,this was the life indeed! As part of our stay with LL a cooking class with the Villa's chef was included.We were really expecting a cursory hour with a grumpy chef "teaching" a class ful of tourists how to cook pasta BUT,oh no, it was just us,the chef ,fantastic fresh local ingredients and a fabulous Tuscan country kitchen for FOUR hours. During this time,we learnt how to make a great soup,risotto,fried tuna and gnocchi.Of course,at the end of all this "work" we sat down to our efforts with the chef for a GREAT meal (with wine).WOW(again). Also included,were spa treatments each. The spa is located in the basement of the main villa and had a 25 m pool ,sauna,steam room and treatment rooms.After our spa treatments,we were suitably relaxed to doze off in the outside pool(there are three pools at the Villa !) hammock.Bliss! We also had a three course dinner in the restaurant included:so good:i recommend the duck ravioli. We loved the Villa so much that we stayed an extra couple of nights and were moved to a (cheaper) Junior Suite in the garden villa.Ok,this didn't have the loggia as in the other villa BUT the room was more extra ordinary:again two floors:a bed that was even bigger(9' or 10' long' and which needed steps to climb up into!). Upstairs,was a lovely bathroom with a MASSIVE walk in waterfall shower( a small family could have stayed there)and a rather Jamed Bond-esque black marble 5' jacuzzi. At this side of the Villa there is another large pool ,gardens , percolas and even a tiny little man made beach! It was great to watch the slowly setting sun from here with a nice glass of wine at dusk. Oh,forgot to mention there are lovely sculptures everywhere you go in the grounds. And all the time we were there,we really felt like were alone and this was home ( i wish.,.lol) Now,the "downsides" which really didn't bother us too much as were too happy being in such a lovely place: 1) the room service: it can take a LONG time and often be wrong.For some reason,the Villa uses young local staff who obviously have not been trained properly.They're lovely girls and i did feel sorry for them carrying HUGE trays out to us as we sat sun- bathing. 2)There's a hefty service charge each time so coffees and tea can be a pretty pricy drink. 3)No coffee/tea making facilites in the rooms.With all the gadgets in the Villa you'd think a kettle in the room wouldn't be too much to ask for. ...and that's about it. Insider Tips: 1) If you don't have a car,don't worry,there's a rural bus which stops right outside the gate:handy if you fancy a trip to Florence or San Casciano 2)Go to Cantinetta del Nonno ( a quite wonderful restaurant)in San Casciano(a lovely little town) 3) Within a 10 min walk,there's a tiny little village with a family restaurant that served the best food we ate in Italy(and that's saying something!) 4) Go to the Pitti Palce/Boboli Gardens in Florence 5)If you want a great view of Il Duomo(Florence) and have a coffee or cocktail,go to the department store ,Rinascente,go up to the top and there' you'll be greeted by a lovely terrace cafe with great views. 6)Get up at dawn to see the Tuscan countryside in all its splendour and look out for the hot air balloons! 7)In Florence, go to Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio‎ for the BEST food .Much better than the more touristy main market nearer the centre All in all,just GO! report a problem

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