Villa Sassolini

Montevarchi, Tuscany, Italy
Book from GBP Book from £167 per night

Villa Sassolini

Montevarchi, Tuscany, Italy

A 15th-century palazzo with contemporary design and gastronomic flair, set in the hills of Chianti

A 15th-century palazzo with contemporary design and gastronomic flair, set in the hills of Chianti

When we arrived in the peaceful hamlet of Moncioni, we wondered where a design hotel could be. But hidden behind plain stone walls is a very stylish find. For centuries a holiday home of Florentine nobility, Villa Sassolini Country Boutique Hotel has been impeccably restored by acclaimed designer Massimo Tani, known for his novel approach to everyday objects. Villa Sassolini, however, is anything but everyday. Smart, contemporary furnishings, softened with the occasional period piece and cool muted colours, have created an atmosphere of clean, understated luxury. It's a refreshing change from the many over-antiquified Tuscan villas around.

You're in the heart of Tuscany, up high and the surroundings are inspiring, with breathtaking views of the Monti del Chianti and the valley below. Dine in the intimate restaurant with its fantastic menu or grab your Guccis and soak up some rays next to the good-looking pool. You'll understand why the lucky nobility kept it to themselves for so long.

Highs

  • Stylish modern design, and not a hint of overdecoration
  • Delicious haute cuisine in the impeccably maintained gardens; and there's a wealth of fine wines on your doorstep
  • Beautiful pool (open from May to Sept) and small on-site spa
  • Tranquil, scenic location
  • Conveniently located for day trips to Florence (50km), Siena (40km), Arezzo and the designer outlet stores.

Lows

  • It's principally aimed at couples (only kids 14 and over accepted), though there's one twin and an extra bed is available
  • If you are looking for a historic feel with period furniture, try somewhere else
  • The restaurant is closed on Mondays
  • A car is crucial – and be prepared for some small, winding roads

Best time to go

As with other Italian properties the very busy months are July and August when the roads around this area can get quite clogged with tourists. However, it's cooler up here in the summer than in the valley which is a relief for those hot months. It can be a little chilly earlier in the season until mid-May or so but spring time is a lovely peaceful time to visit.

Our top tips

Bring some smartish clothes for the restaurant - you'd feel out of place in scruffy day wear.

A decent road map is very useful for negotiating the smaller, winding roads in this area.

We really advise dining in - the food is superb, the wines too, and you don't have to worry about driving home afterwards.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12 bedrooms
  • Restaurant (closed Mon)
  • Children 14 years and over only
  • Closed: Nov-March
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car essential
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
Room:

Rooms

All of the stylish, minimalist bedrooms and suites are stunning and spacious, with limed floorboards, sleek wooden beds painted in pale olive green, fabrics in muted shades of cream and brown, and lots of natural textures. But there are also some individual flourishes - a delicate ceiling fresco, huge ceiling beams, an exquisitely carved cabinet...

Try to get a room at the front: they have fabulous views overlooking the pool, valley and hills (the best are the Paris Suite and the In Montagana and Marrakech Deluxe rooms). We also liked the A Caccia Suite, which has a cute side-facing Juliet balcony. Rooms at the back of the hotel are just as lovely inside, but they do face other houses in the village, and the windows are rather small - making the interiors a bit dark.

Most of the Deluxe rooms have double beds, either a four-poster or low platform; In Montagna has wide twin four-poster beds instead ('French beds'). If you don’t want to shell out for a Suite, the Marrakech Deluxe comes in at a very close second. The fantastic view and striking round window in the bathroom, makes up for the lack of bathtub.

Finally, there are two annexes near the main villa that each contain a few spacious rooms – we haven’t viewed them yet, but their quiet setting and chic interiors are promising.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

The cuisine is a highlight of any stay. The hotel holds a coveted "Quality Restaurant" badge, and builds its menus around the availability of local, seasonal produce prepared in an 'avant-garde' way. The restaurant is renowned for experimental takes on traditional Italian fare. We had a smoked swordfish and tuna starter with orange and lemon sauce, followed by delicious pear ravioli, washed down by a very reasonable (and quaffable) local wine from the top-notch wine cellar. The menu changes weekly. Meals are served in the refined and intimate restaurant with its cream-coloured slip-cover chairs and crisp linen napiery, or in summer in the stylishly lit gardens. Out of season it's very quiet; in summer it's open to the public.

If you want to venture out for dinner, be prepared for a 10-minute drive to Montevarchi; staff at the hotel will happily recommend places to eat. The hotel restaurant also serves a limited lunch during the summer months (bruschetta, pizza or sandwiches) and on Sundays the rest of the year.

The setting for breakfast is stunning – next to the pool, gazing over the Chianti hills. When we first visited, we found the buffet rather samey - croissants, cereals, yoghurt, with some obligatory cheese and ham - but on our latest visit the spread had improved to include eggs cooked as you like, and a great range of coffees. The terraced garden next to the pool is immaculately kept and cleverly planted with lavender, rosemary and roses, the scent wafting over as you sip your coffee, and watch the swallows dip in and out of the pool.

Breakfast in bed, packed lunches and 24-hour room service can be organised.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Being in the heart of Chianti, you can easily day-trip to Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, tiny Monteriggioni and dozens of other hill towns, not to mention scores of vineyards. But you will need a car...
  • The nearest town is Montevarchi (10 mins), Italy's antiques capital, with an extensive market on the 4th Sunday of every month, except July and August. There are also several designer outlets, including Prada (Space)
  • Also nearby is Coltibuono Abbey, set in atmospheric woods, with a restaurant, wine-tasting and cookery courses
  • You're only 40km from Siena and 50km from Florence - both offer world-class art and architecture, and are feasible as day trips
  • Hire a couple of mountain bikes and explore the quiet roads and villages around the hotel (be prepared for some steep lanes, though!)
  • We also liked medieval Radda (20 mins), with its armorial gateways and curving lanes leading to the Palazzo del Podesta
  • Bag a sunlounger by the pool and enjoy the calm ambience and peaceful setting, then enjoy a massage in the small on-site spa
  • Book ahead for a cookery lesson at Il Sillabo in San Giovanni Valdarno, about 10 km from Villa Sassolini; they also offer Italian language courses
  • There's not much to do in the village - it's a great place for enforced relaxation

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Only children aged 14+ years permitted. Not ideal for young children, as there is nothing much to keep them amused locally and the quiet, calm atmosphere might not be conducive.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Villa Sassolini Country Boutique Hotel is in the small village of Moncioni, 7km from Montevarchi, a few kilometres from the A1 motorway between Florence and Arezzo in the Chianti region.

By Air:
There are some flights to Florence Peretola airport (50km). However, most people fly to Pisa Galileo (100km). Rome and Milan airports are about 3 hours from Florence.

By Car:
The hotel can arrange a transfer from Florence, Pisa, Arezzo or Rome airport but we strongly recommend you hire your own car – see our car rental recommendations. It takes about 45 minutes by car from Florence airport and about 2.5 hours from Pisa.

By Train:
If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can reach Florence quite easily from London, and there is a train from Florence to Montevarchi several times per day. You can arrange for a transfer from the station. See Seat 61 and Trenitalia for more details.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Italy and getting around

Airports:

  • Florence-Peretola 50.0 km FLR
  • Pisa Galileo 100.0 km PSA

Other:

  • Beach 120.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 15.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Villa Sassolini

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