Feb 252016

Luxury holiday rentals in northern Tuscany

As one of the most beautiful regions of Europe, Tuscany is a prime vacation destination for many. It can be especially appealing to those wishing to celebrate special occasions (such as weddings and anniversaries), bring friends together, and spend quality time with their families. Very popular accommodations in the region are luxury villas that have been transformed into holiday rentals and opened to guests.

A family enjoys making pasta with Monica at La Novellina, a luxury rental villa in Tuscany

A family enjoys making pasta with Monica at La Novellina

As guests of EsteVillas, a premier holiday rental resource in Italy, Mr. TWS and I stayed in two of the luxury villas in their collection and visited five others, meeting with owners and staff while enjoying their hospitality. Villa stays offer the benefit of having your friends and family under one roof (or a few steps away if the villa offers a complex of buildings) while enjoying the experience of Tuscan villa life. In addition to also providing a central location for touring the region, they offer many activities for guests to become more immersed in the culture, such as cooking classes, visits to medieval villages, wine tastings with local vintners, and outdoor recreation.

Biking on the ancient walls of Lucca while staying at Villa Buonvisi, a luxury holiday villa rental

Biking on the ancient walls of Lucca while staying at Villa Buonvisi

Or if they choose, guests can simply relax in style at the villa enjoying the amazing views or lounging by the pool (an amenity of each of these properties). We liked the variety and flexibility of standard and optional services that the villas offer to help with many aspects of arranging activities for your vacation, if you choose. Guests can also cook all of their meals in their own well-appointed kitchen (standard in all of these rentals), have meals prepared by staff or local cooks, dine at nearby restaurants, or a combination of these options.

Friends and family dining al fresco at Borgorosa, a luxury rental villa in Tuscany

Friends and family dining al fresco at Borgorosa

I previously published posts about each of the villas and the nearby activities we experienced and you’ll find links to those in this post. Here, I want to briefly summarize each property to provide an easy reference. Amenities, services and available activities vary by property, so review the EsteVillas website for details about these villas and others in their collection.

7 luxury villas under the Tuscan sun

La Novellina, Fiano (up to 9 people)

View from La Novellina terrace at breakfast

Enjoying the view from La Novellina’s dining terrace at breakfast

La Novellina is a historic beautifully-renovated farmhouse that exudes the characteristics of authentic Tuscan ambiance, traditions, and décor throughout its living areas, five bedrooms, and four bathrooms. It is situated atop a hill surrounded by vineyards and olive groves with excellent vantage points of the area for many miles, including the famous Via Francigena, the ancient road from Florence to Rome. Dining on the terrace overlooking the olive groves was heavenly. On the estate’s 69 acres, there are 1500 olive trees (from which they produce their own extra virgin olive oil), vegetable and herb gardens, and 4000 bees for honey.

With La Novellina as our base, we visited medieval hill towns of Certaldo Alto and Barberino Val d’Elsa, spent an afternoon in Florence, enjoyed wine tasting with local vintners and visited three other villas in Mercatale Val di Pesa and Montespertoli.

La Novellina, one of EsteVillas' luxury Tuscany villas for families

A path through the rose garden leads to the ivy-covered entrance of La Novellina

More about La Novellina: Authentic Tuscany at La Novellina

Borgorosa, Mercatale Val di Pesa (up to 22 people)

Crossing the lawn from the main villa on the Borgorosa estate to the holiday rentals

Crossing the lawn from the main villa on the Borgorosa estate to the holiday rentals

Filled with history in a secluded setting among the cypress trees of the Chianti hills is Borgorosa, a grand historic estate with holiday rentals adjacent to the main villa. Two buildings (a former olive mill and barn) consisting of a total of 11 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in five units (completely restored in 2011) are tastefully furnished with original artwork and antiques. The units can be rented separately or together. Each unit has full kitchens, living areas, and private outdoor areas for al fresco dining in addition to outdoor common areas for all guests.

Nearby activities that may interest guests include horseback riding, golf, and tennis. We visited Cantine Antinori, a prominent wine estate in Bargino, on our way to Borgorosa.

Tuscany villa for familes: Borgorosa, Mercatale Val di Pesa

The renovated olive mill and barn of Borgorosa

Casa Mattei, Mercatale Val di Pesa (up to 14 people)

Relaxing on the terrace of Casa Mattei

Relaxing on the terrace of Casa Mattei

A former monastery that dates back a thousand years, the building was completely restored in 2006 and its rooms were meticulously decorated in contemporary fashion. The interior is spacious and beautifully-designed and includes five bedrooms (each with a private bathroom), and a wine cellar. There is also a separate small and charming building that can sleep two additional people.

We enjoyed a walk on the grounds through the organic gardens (where they grow artichokes, tomatoes, zucchini, and other vegetables), olive groves, and to the freshwater mosaic-tiled swimming pool. Following our visit, we stopped for wine and cheese at Fattoria Corzano e Paterno, a short drive from Casa Mattei.

Casa Mattei, Mercatale Val di Pesa

Casa Mattei, Mercatale Val di Pesa

More about Borgorosa and Casa Mattei: A Day in the Heart of Chianti

Casa Egle, Montespertoli (up to 8 people)

Lunch on the hilltop at Casa Egle

Lunch on the hilltop at Casa Egle

In a serene location full of fig trees and flowers with plenty of privacy on a hilltop in Montespertoli is Casa Egle, originally built around 1100 A.D. The villa and the surrounding property easily brings to mind a blissful image of the Tuscan good life and an essence of tranquility. The villa has four bedrooms (each individually-decorated with tasteful colors and fixtures), a spacious and bright living room, a large dining room, and bright airy kitchen.

Casa Egle provides bicycles for exploring the area in addition to a number of nearby recreational and cultural activities including winery visits, cooking classes, hot-air ballooning and golfing. We enjoyed a tour of the stunning tower town of San Gimignano while visiting the villa.

Tuscany holiday rental for families - Casa Egle, Montespertoli

Casa Egle, Montespertoli

More about Casa Egle: On the Hilltops of Tuscany

Villa Buonvisi, Lucca (12 to 38 people)

On the red carpet to the entrance of Villa Buonvisi in Lucca, one of EsteVillas luxury holiday rentals

On the red carpet to the entrance of Villa Buonvisi

Villa Buonvisi, originally built in the 16th century offers guests an experience of classic Tuscan elegance. Extensive renovations were made in 1992 to bring it to its current splendor with modern conveniences yet retaining its elegant ambiance and historic features. The villa has 11 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and ample living and dining areas. We stayed in one of the adjacent Vera farmhouse units which was spacious and lovely with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a dining/living area.

The estate’s 300 acres include olive groves, vineyards, gardens, a gated pool, tennis courts, and outdoor entertaining areas with a BBQ and pizza oven. The villa is very convenient to the city of Lucca (with many restaurants, activities, and sights to see). We also took easy side trips to the Versilian coast (visiting Pietrasanta and Viareggio) and to Pisa.

Roses in bloom with a mountain backdrop on the grounds of Villa Buonvisi in Lucca, Italy

Roses in bloom with a mountain backdrop on the grounds of Villa Buonvisi

More about Villa Buonvisi: Classic Tuscan Elegance at Villa Buonvisi

La Fattoria, Lucca (up to 15 people)

Lunch al fresco with La Fattoria villa owner

Dining al fresco with La Fattoria’s owner

Just a few miles from Lucca in Pieve di Compito is La Fattoria, a beautifully-restored 17th-century farmhouse with a private chapel. Tucked away down a narrow gravel road surrounded by woods and gardens, La Fattoria gives guests a feeling of luxurious seclusion while restaurants, shopping, and attractions are within easy reach. The villa’s four bathrooms, living areas, and kitchen were all restored in 2012 with bright and colorful décor that seamlessly combines the original architecture and antiques with contemporary furniture and decorations.

Guests can enjoy hiking and biking on a private trail on the estate. While visiting La Fattoria, we sampled local wine, meat, cheese, and gelato at local shops and toured an olive oil mill and local fresh market.

Covered outdoor lounge area and gardens of La Fattoria, an EsteVillas holiday rental available for gatherings of friends and families

Covered outdoor lounge area and gardens of La Fattoria

More about La Fattoria: The Fresh Essence of Tuscany at La Fattoria

Villa Sant’ Andrea, Pietrasanta (up to 11 people)

Gardens and views of Villa Sant' Andrea

Gardens and views of Villa Sant’Andrea

About four miles into the hills above the art city of Pietrasanta is Villa Sant’Andrea, an elegant holiday rental with dramatic vistas of the Versilian coastline. Its baroque style with beamed ceilings, extensive manicured gardens, and decorative frescoes are quite stunning. The rooms are large and stylish with fine furnishings, marble and ceramic tiles, and fine art. Particularly impressive are the frescoes throughout.

Guests have convenient access to the Versilian beaches (he nearest one is only 6 km away), a golf course in Forte dei Marmi, and many of the areas attractions. We spent a lovely day in Pietrasanta, Viareggio. and on the scenic roads of the Apuan Alps foothills on the day of our visit to Villa Sant’Andrea.

Villa Sant'Andrea, Pietrasanta

Pool on the grounds of Villa Sant’Andrea, Pietrasanta

More about Villa Sant’Andrea: The Art of Pietrasanta, A Tuscany Highlight

Mr. TWS and I feel that each of these luxury holiday rentals are wonderful places for family and friends to gather for vacations, celebrations, relaxation, and quality time together sharing and experiencing all of what Tuscany has to offer.

Disclosure: We were guests of EsteVillas and the villa owners, but our opinions and perspectives are totally our own, as always.

Map of the area showing villa locations and closest airport cities of Pisa and Florence

  2 Responses to “7 Tuscany Luxury Villas Ideal for Families and Friends”

  1. We are headed to Tuscan this spring. Wish I had known about these lovely villas!

  2. Thank you Cathrine you did really a very good job giving a lovely and reach detailed account of our area. Hope to meet you again!

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