Cultural Italy Blog: Art, Coffee & Love

Villa Mangiacane


Among all the Tuscan beautiful estates, Villa Mangiacane stands out for its majestic beauty and noble history. Located just outside Florence, its name originates from Latin, Magna Cane, which literally translates to ‘great dog’, as a referral to the Neapolitan mastiffs which originally used to guard this property.

About the origins of this villa, it has been said that Michelangelo himself participated in the design and it was built for Niccolò Machiavelli’s family in the 15th century. An Italian historian, politician, diplomat, and philosopher, Machiavelli was a prominent figure during the Renaissance. He achieved the title of Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512 when the Medici family was out of power.

There are just 26 individually designed rooms and sumptuous suites all decorated with fine Tuscan furniture and set among 600 acres of flourishing vineyards, olive groves, and sculptured gardens. The views go all the way to Brunelleschi’s cathedral dome and the rooftops of Florence.

The estate’s 6,000 olive trees produce its own distinctive extra virgin olive oil, and once you set foot inside its premises it will seem like stepping back in time. You will find precious Renaissance-reminiscent decorations and fittings, gorgeous fountains, and beautifully restored frescos. These were uncovered in the restoring works and were most likely created to commemorate weddings, birthdays, or other important dates for the Machiavelli family.

The breathtaking views of the countryside around, visible from almost every corner of the house, from the vast windows to the high arches of the verandas, remind you of the typical Italian scenes depicted as a background of the many portraits of that era; the landscape painting we have admired in a museum is now in front of us, almost identical, 500 years later.

You can enrich your stay here with either cooking, fresco painting, and yoga classes offered at the Villa itself or with more – say – eccentric activities, such as a hot balloon ride in the Tuscan skies.

A daily complimentary shuttle service from and to Florence allows you to keep in touch with the city’s hustle and bustle or if you wish you can simply relax by the gorgeous outdoor pool. Besides this, Villa Mangiacane offers you all the amenities that you can expect from a luxury hotel.

If you happen to be booking in May I would advise you not to miss the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the oldest music festival in Italy, which takes place in Florence, and lasts about 2 months. During this time, the arts take over the city with a plethora of ballets, concerts, opera, and art exhibitions.

If you arrive in October, be prepared to be entranced by the bright autumn and its colors: Villa Mangiacane is a magical and seductive place any time of the year.

Nicoletta Lucia Paganucci

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