When my cousin’s husband insisted that we add a three day stay in Tuscany to our tour to Italy, I was looking forward to the idea of chilling at the pool and taking casual strolls through the vineyards, olive groves and narrow village streets. The prospect of living out a movie scene from Diane Lane’s dreamy flick ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ promised some down time away from Florence’s city centre which is over-flowing with tourists.
Flight Centre accommodated our request and booked three rooms at Villa Olmi, a little piece of heaven only 20 minutes out of the city. It’s a five-star resort with over 50 opulent rooms characterized with tasteful paintings and beautiful antique furniture. In addition to this rich decor, the mansion expands into a relaxing terrace where snacks are served, a formal restaurant and an organic vegetable garden which grows cherry tomatoes, peaches and even grapes.
While it is a wonderful getaway for older people, my younger cousins and I were in the mood for sight-seeing and a whole lot action in Florence. Getting to the city centre was as easy as pie with a convenient (and free) hourly shuttle service from the hotel to Florence’s National Library located along the Arno River. To relax our feet after eight hours of walking, we returned to the hotel and that’s when I soaked myself in the bath tub and switched on the jacuzzi jets for an aqua massage in my own private space. Just a note to English speakers to avoid a cold shower: Villa Olmi did not mix up the hot/cold indicators on the bathroom taps. In Italian, ‘C’ stands for ‘Calda’ which means ‘hot’ and the fancy font ‘F’ stands for ‘Freddo’ which means ‘Cold’ 🙂
At night, the rest and relaxation session moves to a candle-lit set up under the stars and between the tall trees in the sprawling garden. Golden oldies inspire couples to slow-dance and the atmosphere is romantically charged with the sound of falling water and the smell of citronella candles burning feverishly on the gravel.
Overall, Villa Olmi is a stunning location which offers the best of both worlds. I love the architecture, the greenery, the art and the divine breakfast spread of fresh fruit and cream croissants but best of all is the friendliness of the staff who are so polite and eager to please. What a pleasant change from the rude, dismissive service we received in Rome at the Diana Hotel.