Luxury Travels in Italy: Part 2 Tuscany

Sunset in Tuscany
Sunset in Tuscany
Sunset in Tuscany

We left Florence at 11:00 AM for our first stop at Castello della Paneretta for a tour, wine tasting and delicious lunch. A lovely place to learn about wine and view sixteenth century frescoes from the Florentine painter Bernardino Poccetti. The food was simple, fresh, and delicious. The hosts were gracious. A wonderful stop on your journey through Tuscany.

Our next stop was a quick stroll in San Giminiano, before heading to our hotel for the evening, The Grand Hotel Continental in Siena.

San Giminiano
San Giminiano

The Grand Hotel Continental is the nicest hotel located within the old walls of the city of Siena. It is a Virtuoso property, and includes the associated complimentary amenities. However, be cautious about your room category as some rooms are in desperate need of a refreshing.

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • A complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people per room once during stay, excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

Our guided walking to of Siena was one of the highlights of our trip. This is a must-visit city when you are in Tuscany. It is truly like nowhere else on Earth. The historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At the end of our walking tour we had a truly epic lunch of bruschetta, salad, and fresh pasta, finished with a double espessro and warm from the oven biscotti.

Our next destination was my most anticipated hotel stay of the trip, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. It did not disappoint!

What can I say? I absolutely adored my stay at the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. The hard product with rooms and furnishings designed by Ferragamo are beyond stunning. I love that everything you see embodies not only great design, but also great function. It feels luxurious, but not fussy or pretentious. You will want for nothing.

Outdoor heated pools, a vineyard and golf course of property, stunning vistas, hiking trails, chef’s garden, and a lovely gift shop. The wine tasting and cooking class are not to be missed!

My clients also receive the following complimentary Virtuoso amenities:

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Tuscan or American breakfast daily, already included in rates
  • $100 USD Equivalent Resort or Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • For guests staying in Villa, 1 ready-to-eat dinner delivered in Villa on the arrival day
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

The remainder of our time in Tuscany was spent visiting the Tuscan jewels of Montalcino, Pienza, Montepuciano, and Orvieto.

There is so much to see and do in the area, including doing nothing at all and just soaking up the beautiful views or relaxing by the pool.

Ready to start making your Italian dream vacation a reality? Contact me via email or at 508-485-3061.

See also, Part 1 in the series which is my experience in Florence and Part 3 which highlights the best in luxury in Rome.

 

Luxury Travels in Italy: Part 1 Florence

Ponte Vecchio
US Airways 718 PHL-FCO Business Class
US Airways 718 PHL-FCO Business Class

In October 2015 I went on a whirlwind nine day trip to experience some of the best of Florence, Tuscany, and Rome with one of my favorite Virtuoso on-sites, Italian Dream Incorporated Travel (IDI).

I found a great deal on Business Class tickets to Rome, so I set aside my general aversion to flying out of my way and booked the tickets from Boston via Philadelphia. Technically, I was starting my trip in Florence, but when I looked at the flight times and costs it made the most sense to arrive into Rome and take car service the rest of the way.

I spent my first night in Italy at the exquisite hidden gem that is Villa Cora in Florence. Wow! This hotel is often overlooked because it is slightly outside of the heart of Florence. However, it is truly an oasis that is just minutes from the Ponte Vecchio. There is complimentary shuttle service, or you can take a taxi or even walk.

Villa Cora
Villa Cora

I had a beautiful well-appointed suite with views of the gardens and outdoor heated swimming pool.

Suite at Villa Cora
Suite at Villa Cora

The true highlight of my stay was the Food & Beverage team. The dining experiences were second to none. At every meal they knew that I was a vegetarian and offered me personal suggestions and recommendations. They didn’t make a big fuss about it, nor did they expect me to remind them or specifically ask for accommodation. They simply offered excellent service and gracious hospitality. It sounds simple enough, but is in reality it is quite rare.

20151017_110304348_iOS

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016:

  • Upgrade at time of arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary buffet breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Children’s amenities available, welcome gift per room, per stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

I spent the next two nights of my stay in Florence at the beautiful Portrait Firenze. The suite interiors are all painted a soothing dove gray and each one has a kitchenette. Located on the Arno River, the hotel is a half block from the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio
Sunset over the Ponte Vecchio

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • A bottle of Italian sparkling wine in room upon arrival
  • Complimentary one-way transfer to airport
  • Complimentary internet access
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

There is so much to see and do in Florence that three nights is not enough time to have the full experience. I definitely recommend using private guides and planning your stay well in advance. This will ensure that you are maximizing whatever time you have and are getting the most out of your experience in Florence.

The highlight of my sightseeing was an exclusive visit to Michelangelo’s Secret Archive. Beyond words!

There is no shortage of gorgeous art and architecture in Florence. Here are a few photos from the Accademia Gallery, the Uffizi, and the Duomo.

In addition to my sightseeing activities, I also did a number of hotel site inspections which included the Hotel Savoy, Villa la MassaHotel Lungarno, Gallery Hotel Art, and the Continentale. The first three are Virtuoso and come with usual complimentary amenity package. The latter two are lovely four star hotels for those on a smaller budget. Of course, I can VIP you at all of them!

If you have questions about luxury travel in Italy, please do not hesitate to give me a call at 508-485-3061 or send me an email.

Grazie!

See also: Luxury Travels in Italy Part 2 Tuscany and Luxury Travels in Italy Part 3: Rome