With the launch this season’s new and incredibly popular television drama on Starz, Da Vinci’s Demons, the magnificent city of Florence is in full focus. Florence has become a bounty of Leonardo Da Vinci treasure ripe for the finding. Complementing any sojourn into the birthplace of the Renaissance movement would be a stay at Il Salviatino where accommodations approach masterpieces preserved through the centuries.
While Da Vinci may not have slept here, Il Salviatino was certainly around in the artista’s day. In the 14th century, the noble Florentine Salviati family, bankers to Pope Sixtus IV, built this opulent country villa on the outskirts of Florence. Today the imposing mansion with its myriad art-infused chambers and eleven acres of sculptured gardens remains – now one of the finest hotels in Italy and a true treat for all the senses.
A renovation in 2010 exposed long lost frescoes painted on ceilings and walls and other hidden secrets as the property reopened as a hotel with 45 exquisitely designed accommodations. Find luxurious linens, valuable antique furnishings, original art, 14th century appointments and a choice of chambers that range from The Affresco Suite (comes with your own private frescoes) to the Salviati Suite, which offers multi-level spaces and a private rooftop terrace overlooking Florence, to the Tegliacci Suite with its enormous fireplace, to fantastical greenhouses cottages of glass located in the garden.
Dining is also part of the Il Salviatino experience through its gourmet restaurants serving local Tuscan favorites with innovative twists. The hotel holds an annual truffle foraging and wine-tasting celebration in the fall. SPA Il Salviatino, is over 6,000 square feet and offers a wide range of treatments using cosmetology products from the Dr. Vranjes Laboratory. It’s all happening just a few miles outside of the bustle of Florence in the cypress-covered hills of Fiesole. The hotel offers complimentary transport for guests to the center of town, around 15 minutes away.
Visitors looking for signs of Da Vinci may also find a little Giotto, Michelangelo, Dante and Brunelleschi as well, but the life of the extraordinary polymath can be traced in a number of iconic spots in every section of Florence.
The Museum of Leonardo da Vinci, is a good place to start. There, visitors can see life-size models of the artist’s ideas, as well as inventions — from the famed glider that sought to copy birds in flight to his war machine designs, specifically a tank carved from wood.
Then there is the Uffizi Gallery (pre-reserved tickets recommended), one of the oldest art museums in the Western world. Da Vinci’s “Annunciation” and “The Adoration of the Magi,” are on view in a gallery that also houses “The Baptism of Christ,” attributed to Verrocchio and da Vinci, and numerous works by Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Rafael, Titian and Tintoretto.
It is said that the Palazzo Vecchio hides a da Vinci treasure: “The Battle of Anghiari” is rumored to be covered by one of Vasari’s frescoes (tipped off by the words “Seek and you shall find” in one of his paintings). And then when it is time to return to this century, Florence presents a bounty of modern artwork, found primarily through the artists of fashion — Gucci, Pucci and Cavalli got there starts in Florence as did Ferragamo. Prada, Chanel, Armani and others also keep their signature in the city with glossy boutiques on Via Tornabuoni.
A stay at Il Salviatino does not require being a Medici. The property is running a number of special deals and discounts this season, including an “I Love Mondays” offer that brings a 50 percent discount on any Monday during a stay of at least three nights. Also, in time for the spring and summer blooms, Il Salviatino is offering a 30 percent discount on Greenhouse Suites with bookings of two nights or more. Click here for full range of specials. Average room rates at Il Salviatino start at around $600 per night.
Il Salviatino, Florence, Italy
(+011 39) 055 904-1111
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.