Welcome to the Florence’s Artisan Quarter of Oltrarno, Italy
Known for its artisan and antique shops, the Oltrarno also offers a great choice of bars and restaurants. On a recent visit to the Tuscan capital, we were lucky enough to stay and visit some of the city’s most outstanding properties, located within or very close to this unique area.
Via Bellosguardo 8 Guests | 4 Bedrooms
One of those properties is the exceptional luxury villa, Via Bellosguardo. Set in a peaceful hillside location, it benefits from magnificent views over the city, yet is a mere 15-minute walk through the authentic Oltrarno area to the River Arno and Ponte Vecchio. While the location is steeped in history, the design of the villa offers all modern comforts, and eco-friendly values. With a spacious living area, three bedrooms, plus a separate office/bedroom, all rooms open to terraces and the garden.
Guests can enjoy relaxing after a day sightseeing on both the main ground floor furnished terrace, or the roof terrace with comfortable loungers, a dining area and a jacuzzi.
The property manager here prioritises the wellbeing of guests, offering the choice of a 5 star hotel service, or leaving them in complete privacy. A personal shopper, chefs, and babysitters can be arranged on request, as well as exclusive bespoke experiences for guests during their stay.
The experiences include tea at the historic Torrigiani Garden, hidden in the heart of Florence, and the largest privately owned garden (17 acres) in Europe. Other experiences include painting classes on the villa’s terrace, visits to artisan shops to see old paintings being restored, as well as cookery classes and wine tastings. Yoga classes and beauty treatments, meditation and reiki can also be arranged.
We also visited two stunning apartments right in the heart of the Oltrarno, one directly opposite the magnificent Pitti Palace, and the other with views over the Arno River. Via de’Bardi runs along the Arno, and our apartment here is on the first floor of a building, with lift access, just steps from the Ponte Vecchio.
With two bedrooms, the interiors of the apartment are both spacious and elegant, with the large living room windows offering stunning view directly across the Arno to the Uffizi Museum. Enjoy the city’s best traditional Tuscan restaurants at your doorstep and explore the iconic local artisan shops when staying at this stunning TLTB apartment.
Our next stop, the staggering Apartment Bellini, is a fabulous period home rich in one-of-a-kind antiques and precious artworks. Situated in the Oltrarno, in a beautiful 16th Century building, directly opposite the historic Piazza Pitti, the property is also close to the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River.
On the first floor (with lift), it benefits from unique views of the façade of the Palazzo Pitti, with its huge art collection, from several of its windows. 16th and 17th Century frescoes decorate the walls and ceilings of this very spacious four bedroom apartment, also furnished with original Art Deco pieces.
With a spacious and well equipped kitchen, this apartment can also offerauthentic Italian cooking class experiences. The teacher, Erika, from the area between Florence and Bologna, famous for its hand-made pasta, will arrange a bespoke cooking class based on various types of pasta, including tagliatelle and ravioli. At both the Via de’Bardi and Bellini apartments, truffle hunting can be arranged, followed by a meal with truffles, as well as wine and cheese tastings.
OUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT
We have mentioned this restaurant before … but it is a bit special! Located just past the Pitti Palace near the Boboli Gardens on a quiet street, it offers a very personal service, and no traditional wine list, the waiters here will discuss guests’ food preferences, and then accompany them to their impressive ‘wine wall’ downstairs to help select the perfect wine for their chosen dishes.
TLTB RECOMMENDED BARS
Further down the road, and opposite the Palazzo Pitti, the same owners as Osteria dell’Enoteca also have a very charming wine bar, with an impressive choice of Italian wines. These range from well known Italian producers to smaller, family owned wineries. Wine can be purchased by the glass, or the bottle, and the accompanying food menu offers fresh and delicious small plates, ranging from caprese (made with roasted aubergine, tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella) to excellent prosciutto, and marinated beef carpaccio.
For a relaxing and beautiful ambience for an evening drink, the upper floor loggia at Palazzo Guadagni is another must-visit! Situated in the historic Piazza Santo Spirito, this iconic Palazzo, built in 1505, offers the perfect romantic setting while admiring the sunset and the city lights.
For airport transfers and tours in Florence and Chianti, we highly recommend Francis, at Chianti Pro-Driver, who offers a variety of Tuscan experiences. He loves driving people around in his very comfortable Mercedes V Class 7-seater vehicle to discover the history and traditions, as well as guests’ shopping requirements.
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