Villa San Michele ★★

The Belmond Hotel Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Florence
The Hotel Belmond Villa San Michele, in the hills of Fiesole above Florence

This used-to-be monastery has made a turn into an luxurious hotel teeming with elegance

The peaceful air this place exudes recalls its origins in the 15th century as a Franciscan monastery, but I doubt the good friars had a heated outdoor pool or Jacuzzis in their cells.

The facade was reputedly designed by Michelangelo, and everything is in shades of creamy yellow with soft gray pietra serena accents.

The antique furnishings are the epitome of simple elegance, and some rooms come with canopied beds and linen sheets; other are fitted with wrought-iron headboards and antiques.

The regular rooms are all in the main buildings, with modern junior suties dug into the hillside behind it, snuggled into the slopes between the terraces that host the swimming pool and formal gardens (several junior suites enjoy their own mini-gardens or tarraces).

They've also converted the tiny hillside chapel into a cozy honeymoon suite with sweeping views, and the limonaia (where potted cirtus trees once spent the frosty winters) into a grander suite.

The monks never had it this good.

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Tips & links


Via Doccia 4 (just below Fiesole off Via Fra Giovanni Angelico)
tel. +39-055-5678-200

Bus: 7
Hop-on/hop-off: Regresso (B), Fiesole Regresso (C)

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Florence hotel & lodging links
Useful Italian for lodging
English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a hotel un albergo oon al-BEAR-go
...a B&B un bed-and-breakfast oon bet hand BREK-fust
...a rental room un'affittacamera oon ah-feet-ah-CAH-mair-ra apartment for rent un appartamento oon ah-part-tah-MENT-toh
...a farm stay un agriturismo oon ah-gree-tour-EES-moh
...a hostel un ostello oon oh-STEHL-loh
How much is...? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
a single room una singola OO-nah SEEN-go-la
double room for single use [will often be offered if singles are unavailable] doppia uso singola DOPE-pee-ya OO-so SEEN-go-la
a double room with two beds una doppia con due letti OO-nah DOPE-pee-ya cone DOO-way LET-tee
a double room with one big bed una matrimoniale OO-nah mat-tree-moan-nee-YAAL-lay
triple room una tripla OO-nah TREE-plah
with private bathroom con bagno cone BAHN-yoh
without private bathroom senza bagno [they might say con bagno in comune—"with a communal bath"] SEN-zah BAHN-yoh
for one night per una notte pair OO-nah NOH-tay
for two nights per due notti pair DOO-way NOH-tee
for three nights per tre notti pair tray NOH-tee
Is breakfast included? É incluso la prima colazione? ay in-CLOO-soh lah PREE-mah coal-laht-zee-YOAN-nay
Is there WiFi? C'é WiFi? chay WHY-fy?
May I see the room? Posso vedere la camera? POH-soh veh-DAIR-eh lah CAH-mair-rah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Is there a cheaper one? C'é una più economica? chay OO-nah pew eh-ko-NO-mee-kah
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Villa San Michele

★★ Via Doccia 4 (just below Fiesole off Via Fra Giovanni Angelico)
tel. 800-237-1236 in the U.S. or 055-567-8200 in Italy. Fax 055-567-8250

Bus: 7
Hop-on/hop-off: Regresso (B), Fiesole Regresso (C)

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Other useful links
  • Car resources
  • Emergency service/tow: tel. 803-116
  • Highway agency: (traffic info, serivce areas, toll calculator, weather)
  • Italian automotive club (~AAA):
  • ZTLs: (lightly outdated, but handy, links to cities' traffic-free zones)
  • Transport Florence—Livorno cruise terminal
  • (private car: 90 min, €40–€260)
  • (train: 68–100 min, €9.10) + Livorno port-station transfer (€1 bus; €20–€30 taxi)


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