A Dream Villa

The week I spent in Villa di Masseto in Tuscany seems like a dream now that I look back on it.  It’s still a bit hard to believe that we were all really there.  Some of my dear friends could not join us, for reasons of work and family and timing, etc, and I really missed them.  But I had a wonderful time catching up with those who could come and also meeting some of Kevin’s friends.

Kevin and I picked this place because it was pretty close to Florence (~25 minutes by car) just north of Fiesole, it was big (10 bedrooms, olive groves, pool, four-story tower, a billiards room, etc), and it had a great balance of old and new (~500 year old buildings with original details but with fully renovated bathrooms and kitchens, yes multiple kitchens, and wifi).  We didn’t know anything about the history of the villa or the family who was part of the Pazzi conspiracy, and that was a great surprise for us.  I also had no idea that Valentina, the villa manager, and Patricia, the chef, would make our holiday so special.  I feel lucky to have stayed at Villa di Masseto and I’m truly grateful for the experience we had.

Valentina told us about the Guadagni family who used to own the villa and how we’d see their family crest (cross with thorns) in various places, like in the kitchen, over the fire place, outside walls of the villa, etc.  They used to own everything on this side of the mountain and the other side was owned by none other than the Medici family.  After they unsuccessfully conspired with the Pazzis to take the Medici family down (more on that later), all of their property was confiscated and they were exiled.  According to Valentina, this villa was given back to the Guadagni family eventually and remained in the family until the new owners bought and renovated the place.

 

Lynnie and my favorite room of the house.  The big window let in a ton of gorgeous light and the view out to the rose garden and the pergola was just precious.

A downstairs living room where we often hung out as a group and the dining room set up for breakfast.

Since I can’t do a post without mentioning food..  This is a part of the huge breakfast spread Valentina had ready for us each morning, set up in front of a giant fire place (not pictured).  Thanks to Peter for the photo…

I loved having my morning practice in “the tower” surrounded by Tuscan hills and valleys.  Valentina explained that this was the oldest part of the house and needed to be completely rebuilt.  My bedroom was in the tower, a level below this but above the second floor of the main house.  I went up there each morning to watch the sun come up and over the mountains.

The views!

After one of the hottest and driest summers EVER in Tuscany, the week we spent there was relatively cool with a couple of cloudy days.  Had it been a few degrees warmer I think we would have had more swimmers in the pool.  I took full advantage of it however.

I didn’t take photos of any of the rooms (um, the master bedroom had a phenomenal tub IN the room) or the beautiful bathrooms or the huge fire places.  But they were lovely and I hope I’ll remember all of them.

Below is Peter’s photo of the gorgeous stone stairs I took a dozen times a day as a short cut to my room on the third floor.  We could never find each other in the villa because there were so many places to hide yourself away.  But I could usually locate half the guys in “their” living room sitting in a semi-circle around fire place with what looked like a mini Apple store in front of them.  The other half were either playing pool or carefully brewing coffee, but that’s another story for another day.

Here is one of Paula’s favorite spots where she sat often in deep contemplation… when she wasn’t plotting to win her next foosball match.

View from the second floor window by the guys’ living room.

It was an incredible place for us, so much more beautiful than I hoped for or imagined.  It still seems like a dream…

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7 Responses to A Dream Villa

  1. How did you book this Villa? I can’t find its website. Does it go by another name?
    Thanks

  2. Hi! I just discovered your wonderful blog in doing research on Villa di Masseto. I am very interested in renting this villa & have already been in contact w/ Tuscany Now. However, we will be renting in August 2015, & are concerned that not all the bedrooms are air-conditioned. They do provide portable fans. From your experience there, do you see it getting terribly hot indoors at the height of summer? Any help/advice is much appreciated.

    • We were there the last week of August/first week of September, so I think the weather & temperatures were probably comparable to when you’ll be at the villa. It was the hottest & the driest summer they had had in a very long time, and I was a bit concerned about our comfort level as well. But overall, we had no trouble with the place being too hot. I had the “hottest room,” the top floor single in the tower but it really wasn’t bad at all- I don’t remember heat being a problem. We did spend most of our time downstairs/outside/away from the villa and the pool area was great, too. You will have a wonderful time! let me know if I can answer any other questions for you.

      • Hello.

        Thank you for such a detailed and lovely review! You pictures are beautiful and the history of the villa is very interesting, especially for a history enthusiast like myself! I have recently booked the villa myself for August 2015 for a week and wil be having my wedding reception there. I was hoping that you might be able recommend any restaurants nearby? we also have several friends and family coming for the day and wondering how you found the travel to the villa and what places are nearby?

        Look forward to hearing from you

        Colette

      • hi Colette, Congratulations first of all and apologies for my late reply. I’ve been traveling and having too much fun to update my blog! We ate at the villa quite often (we’d arranged for the arrival night dinner, breakfast everyday, and my birthday night dinner) and for lunches we were on day trips to various nearby places so we weren’t really at the villa for them. We had a ton of leftovers from dinners and we also asked to have some groceries delivered to us so we cooked a few times as well. Some of my friends arrived early and stayed in Florence before coming up to the villa so I also asked them to do some grocery/produce shopping beforehand. Some of my brother’s friends went down to Florence for a few quick trips (obviously there are a ton of great restaurants there). There is a little pizza place down the hill from the villa that you can try (I’m pretty sure we got that info from the villa manager, she also did the grocery shopping for us. the villa has a wine cellar so if you want wine, you can choose from their list or ask the manager to pick some up for you) but there is nothing else within walking distance from the villa. If you have the time, I would highly recommend a meal at Villa San Michele (~20 minute drive?)- the views are spectacular and I really enjoyed my evening there. I would also recommend visiting the castle just over the hill where we had a really fun wine and olive oil tasting (you can also do lunch there with prior notice). That castle also had a great history & my friends still talk about the olive oil they purchased there (we enjoyed their chianti as well). As for traveling to/from the villa, I arranged car service for myself and most of my guests. Those who drove gave me mixed reviews- the guys loved driving up and down the curvy roads, some got terribly lost and took a long time to find the villa. My car service guys spoke to the villa manager prior to picking us up so he had very clear directions but apparently GPS was not very helpful. Please be aware of that. If you’re there in August, I’m sure it will be pretty hot. The pool area is really nice and we took walks around the property and beyond, picking ripe figs and strolling around olive groves. I spent most of my time at the villa but you can certainly take day trips around Tuscany (we also took a trip to cinque terre, it was a bit rushed but fun). You can read about those here, along with the car service company I used. https://dreamgolive.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/its-my-holiday-and-ill-stay-home-if-i-want-to/

        https://dreamgolive.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/cinque-terre-trains-boats-and-automobiles/

        Hope this is helpful to you in some way!

  3. Hello.

    Thank you for such a detailed and lovely review! You pictures are beautiful and the history of the villa is very interesting, especially for a history enthusiast like myself! I have recently booked the villa myself for August 2015 for a week and wil be having my wedding reception there. I was hoping that you might be able recommend any restaurants nearby? we also have several friends and family coming for the day and wondering how you found the travel to the villa and what places are nearby?

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Colette

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