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For many, Tuscany is the heart of Italy. Not only is it located in the center of the country (and kind of shaped like a heart), but it's also the birthplace of the Renaissance and the home of so much of the rich culture that is now considered quintessentially Italian. This extends to villa culture as well.
In fact, the word villa is Italian for country home, and though this tradition dates to the Romans, it had a rebirth of its own in Tuscany. So, it's no surprise that luxury villa rentals in Tuscany continue to be some of the best in Italy, often with their own celebrated histories.
Villas in Tuscany offer an experience you just can't get at a hotel. For starters, they are usually located in the fabled Tuscan countryside, often in restored farmhouses or estates that have been owned by aristocratic families for generations. The architecture, artwork, décor, and even landscaping all reflect this heritage of passion and care.
Tuscan villas also make for the perfect retreat after a day of taking in the sights in cities like Florence, Siena, Lucca, and Pisa. Because of their location outside of the city, they often include large, private pools and immaculate gardens – great for cooling off.
Lastly, luxury Tuscan villas often include a staff, including a private chef if you so wish, so you can be sure you're always eating the freshest food with the best ingredients, prepared the way you like.
If you want to live like an agrarian noble and especially if you're traveling with a group, then luxury villa rentals in Tuscany will give you the kind of authentic Tuscan experience that has inspired so many beautiful works of art.
For one, Tuscan villa rentals are often historic affairs - it's just a question of how far back you want to go, with some having features or facades going as far back as the 12th century. That said, with so many antiques, you'll want to consider the age of all your guests. While many Tuscan villas are happy to accommodate children, some set an age restriction of 8 years and older. Another consideration is what kind of balance of modernity and history you want – most Tuscan villas toe this line to varying degrees, so it's worth considering where on this trade-off you fall.
Lastly, consider how much staff you want and need, since both unstaffed and staffed Tuscan villas are available.
Tuscany is teeming with history and staying in a historic Tuscan villa is a great way of experiencing it firsthand. These Tuscan villas have often been passed down from generation to generation and maintained and restored with centuries of care and passion. Throughout, you'll find frescos, antiques, paintings, and sculptures that have been lovingly collected by the families and which reflect different periods in the region's celebrated artistic history. Here are a few of our guests' favorites:
Machiavelli: It's difficult to think of a more historic Tuscan villa than one owned by such a famous statesman. As the name implies, this is the former home of the Machiavelli family, though it was later owned by the Mazzei family of winemakers. This gives the villa a unique heritage – it is both a 15th century testament to power, and a reflection of the winemaking heritage of the Chianti region. The interior is simply magnificent, with restored frescos, intricate tapestries, and fine materials all throughout, while the exterior features superb landscaping and a striking pink façade. It can also be rented for a destination wedding that is sure to get the guests talking.
Feronia: This sprawling 14th century estate, located just outside the city of Florence, is truly one of the grandest historic villas in Tuscany. With 19 bedrooms, it can be rented in full, or individual rooms can be rented separately depending on availability. In either case, you'll be granted access to grounds with a massive scope and timeless beauty, as well as a living piece of Tuscan history. The villa features period artwork all throughout, as well as a historic chapel. It also has magnificent views of Tuscany's famous duomo. It's perfect for a family gathering or wedding, or simply for those who want to experience both the magic of Florence and the Tuscan countryside.
Alfieri: Just five miles from the medieval town of Siena you'll find Alfieri, a beautiful, restored Tuscan country house. Generations of passion can be seen reflected in the architecture. artwork, landscaping, and even the functional areas of this villa, like its Tuscan-style kitchen. It also has plenty of modern amenities too, including a large private pool with a waterfall. It's a great example of how the old and the new can combine to make something special.
Tuscany is one of the most romantic destinations in Europe, so finding that perfect romantic villa in Tuscany can really elevate a couple's trip by providing the ultimate retreat after days of sightseeing. Here are a few great examples:
Villa La Rocca: Located between the famous walls of Lucca and the underrated Tuscan coast you'll find Villa La Rocca, a 3-bedroom part of a medieval castle that is seemingly made for couples. The interior features romantic details like a large wood fireplace, soaking tubs, glass showers, and marble bathrooms. The exterior has a private pool area surrounded by lavender, roses, lemon and orange trees, and several different spots to sit and enjoy them together. It is easily one of the most romantic villas in Tuscany.
Keana: Just outside Florence lies Keana, a 2-bedroom extension to a larger 15th century villa. It makes for a great value for any couple, and features a private pool, beautifully manicured gardens, and a rich, Tuscan décor. Its location is also ideal for exploring Florence or Siena by day and retreating to the moonlit countryside by evening.
Gismonda: For couples that prefer to stay in Florence and are looking for something contemporary yet romantic, Gismonda is a perfect way to discover the best of this enchanting city. Gismonda is a luxury apartment with a distinct sense of style and featuring only the highest end linens and fabrics. It also includes stunning views of the Duomo and has one of the best locations in all of Florence.
Staffed Tuscan villas usually include housekeeping, gardening, pool, and chef service. This is due in part to their location, since they are often located far enough away from restaurants and other services, as well as due simply to the need to maintain these historic properties to the highest possible degree of care. Of course, it also makes for a luxurious experience for guests as well, and staff often live on-site, in a separate residence. Here are a few of our favorite staffed Tuscan villas:
Valla le Agavi: Located within Monte Argentario and set atop a promontory, Villa le Agavi offers a rare glimpse of coastal Tuscan living in an area that has not yet been overrun by tourism. The region has been called Italy's best kept secret and likened to a wilder Cote d'Azur, and the villa itself reflects the distinct character of its surroundings, and of its owners. It has a soul all its own, extending to the uniquely decorated bedrooms and to the rich garden, infinity pool, and stunning views. The staff lives in a separate residence by the villa and include housekeeping and chef service.
Isimora: Nestled between Florence and Siena is Isimora, a beautiful 6-bedroom villa that offers the best of Tuscan country style. It makes for a particularly great stay for families, thanks to its experienced and professional staff and its idyllic location, including its large outdoor pool and its meticulously cared-for garden. Inside, it also features plenty of period artwork, majestic frescos, and more. It's been designed top-to-bottom for the kind of relaxation and connection that the Tuscan countryside promises, and which so many travelers dream of.
Rosenzia: Rosenzia is a beautiful 10-bedroom villa that rises high atop the hills of Val d'Orcia and its legendary landscapes. Set in southern Tuscany, Val d'Orcia is a UNESCO heritage site and has inspired countless works of art. Rosenzia is a true testament to this surrounding beauty, and it stands out amid the landscape with its beautiful architecture. The interiors evoke the same sense of magnificence and scale, with plenty of exposed wood, brick and other materials creating a distinct, historical impression. The villa includes housekeeping and gardener service, and chef service and villa pre-stocking can also be added.
Italy is part of the Schengen Area of the EU, so visitors from the US and Canada can enter with just a passport, and only need to past customs once when they enter the area. Visitors should make sure that their passports do not expire within 90 days, however.
International travelers coming from overseas can fly directly into Tuscany by landing in Florence International Airport or the smaller Pisa International Airport. That said, you'll find more flights that land in Italy's three other major airport - the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, the Malpensa International Airport in Milan, and Marco Polo Airport in Venice. Each airport offers high-speed rail access to Tuscany operated by Trenitalia. The trains are fast, convenient, and comfortable.
You can also rent a car to experience even more of the Tuscan countryside on your own terms, and many travelers find this to be a very rewarding experience. A rental car will also be very helpful if you are staying in a Tuscan villa in the countryside, though driver services are also another option. If you're booking with Rental Escapes, transfers, rental cars, and drivers can all be arranged by your concierge.
Tuscany's peak season is in the summer from June-September, with August being its busiest month. If you want to visit during the peak of festival season, as well as when everything is open at peak capacity, this is the time to go. That said, do be advised that temperatures are also at their highest at this time, as are crowds (so, for example, you'll want to book your museum tickets in advance online to avoid waiting in line outside).
In contrast, winter in Tuscany is low season, and while Christmastime certainly has a certain magic, do be aware that temperatures can get cold, and there's even a chance of snow. Some villas may also be closed during this time, but for those that are open, this is when you'll find the best deals.
For many, shoulder season from April-June and September-November is the best time to visit Tuscany. Crowds and temperatures are much lower, and you can get an excellent deal on a Tuscan villa that might otherwise not even have been available. All the major sights and most services are still operational, and you can get a glimpse of authentic Tuscan life for locals, without the mass of tourists.
Visit Florence: No trip to Tuscany is complete without spending some serious time in Florence. From its world-renowned museums, including the stunning Uffizi Gallery, to its distinct architecture capped off with its instantly recognizable Duomo, Florence is a city of art and beauty unlike any other. And while it's easy to get lost reliving the Renaissance, it's also a vital city that continues to offer fabulous restaurants, great opera, and an energetic atmosphere.
Visit Sienna: Sienna is a beautiful medieval city that contrasts nicely with Florence thanks to its more Gothic-era art and architecture. It's main plaza, the Piazza del Campo, is also a UNESCO heritage site that ties much of the city together, whether it's to sit and enjoy a picnic in its centre or to eat one of its restaurants on its borders. And if you're lucky, you can catch one of its many parades and processions, including the big one – the Corteo Storico, typically in July and August.
Go wine tasting: Tuscany is home to some of the most storied vineyards in the world, some of which are even paired with Michelin-starred restaurants. That said, whether you're visiting the famous Chianti region or a vineyard near Livorno by the Cyprus trees on the coast, the wine itself is only a part of the attraction – really, it's the people, stories, landscapes, and history that you'll appreciate in the process that make this such an unforgettable experience.
While known for its wine, Tuscany also has a rich heritage of excellent food. Tuscan cuisine typically uses a few simple, fresh ingredients, with a big emphasis on letting their quality shine through the dish.
Here you can expect to find lots of fresh olive oil, those famous Florentine steaks, wild game like boar and pheasant, and a variety of cured meats, cheeses, seafood, and vegetables that are brought in from across Italy.
The tradition of a primi pasta plate followed by a secondi meat or fish plate is alive and well here, though in practice many Italians will often go for one or the other unless it's a special meal.
Lastly, if your villa has a private chef, then a meal plan can also be set up to make sure all the food served is to your taste.
Tuscany benefits from a Mediterranean climate. Summers tend to be hot with very little rain, with average highs of about 86°F (30°C) and average lows of 64°F (18°C).
Spring and Fall are milder with a little more rain and see average highs of 72°F (22°C) and average lows of 52°F (11°C).
Winter, meanwhile, will see some colder days and especially nights, as well as a slight possibility of snow. Highs reach about 52°F (11°C) and lows average to 37°F (3°C).
If you're planning to visit this beautiful region of Italy, Rental Escapes can elevate your Tuscan villa rental into a true luxury experience. We offer the finest luxury villas in Tuscany, including historic estates, restored farmhouses, beautiful coastal properties, and more. Your reservation agent can find the best villa option for your group based on your needs, and from there your concierge personalizes your trip, including through transfers, car rentals, chef service, reservations, and so much more. Contact us today to learn more about our luxury villa rentals in Tuscany and to start planning your next dream holiday!