Villa Cora is my favorite type of hotel…scandalous history, immaculate restoration with over-the-top glamour, yet unpretentious and comfortable with perfect service. Baron Oppenheimer, of the banking family which financed the Suez Canal, built this villa to impress his new Italian wife. No expense was spared, the finest craftsmen, artist and designers of the day were hired. Once the newlyweds moved in, their parties were legendary, the most desired invitation in Europe. The good times did not last…the Baron suspected his bride of being unfaithful. In a fit of rage he tried to burn down the house. She wasn’t thrilled and left, the family fell on bad times. The house was abandoned. Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, bought it after her husband was dethroned. She spent years and millions restoring it to its original splendor; planting the rose gardens which she adored. Edldio Cora bought the villa in 1894 and it is from him the Villa takes its name. It became a hotel in the 1960’s. It became the pinnacle of luxury after a 3-year restoration by the current owners in 2010. And WOW! What a job they have done. The ballroom is now a large sitting area filled with trompe l’oiel frescos, ornate stucco work, parquet floors, huge mirrors, lavish chandeliers and giant bouquets of fresh flowers. This same lavishness permeates the entire property. The restaurants are delicious, the pool heated, the guests chic and the gardens a refuge from the unpleasant hassle of Florence’s crowds. This is one place you’ll want to splash out for a suite on the Noble Floor, they are unique and truly special. Now a historic landmark, Villa Cora is also a divine place to stay.
Number of Rooms: 38
Sweet Suite: The imperial Suite, where I stayed, is one of the most beautiful and romantic rooms I’ve ever experienced. Located on the Noble Floor, the first floor in classic villas, it has huge windows overlooking the gardens and the city. Filled with precious antiques, it was named after the Emperor Akhito of Japan who stayed here in 1982. Original frescos by Pietrasanta & Samoggla decorate the walls. The huge four poster bed decorated with red velvet fulfilled my childhood dream of being a Queen, or at least being treated like one. While the marble bathroom has the most instagramable bath…stunning! I couldn’t leave…I ate both dinner and breakfast in this magical space so as to take full advantage of every possible second.
Favorite Thing: The location…located above the city center it is the perfect escape from the heat, crowds and hustle of Florence. It is only a 20-minute beautiful walk or short shuttle into town if you manage to drag yourself away from this slice of heaven
Near By: Boboli Gardens, Forte di Belvedere o di San Giorgio, Palazzo Pitti, Museo di Storia Naturale, Porta Romana
Amenities: private gardens, Bellevue roof terrace, Le Bristol Restaurant, heated pool, Bene Spa with sauna, tepidarium, sauna &hammam, gym, shuttle to city, walking tracks, bicycles, cooking lessons, cigar room, underground passages to connect buildings in the winter, pet friendly
Villa Cora is a Virtuoso Hotel…if you book through me, you will get VIP status and special amenities