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Villa San Michele

History

The 15th Century
Villa San Michele is a former Franciscan monastery, founded in the 15th century. The land on which it stood was donated by a Florentine family, the Davanzatis, who also contributed to the monastery's upkeep by gifts of woodlands and money.

The present building, with its façade attributed to Michelangelo and its imposing loggia, dates from 1600 when it was enlarged and completely renovated by Giovanni di Bartolommeo Davanzati.

The monastery remained the property of the Franciscans until 1808, when the monastic orders were dissolved by Napoleon. Many of its most treasured possessions were subsequently dispersed throughout Florence's churches and art galleries. The triptych in the Accademia attributed to Niccolò di Piero Gerini and another above the high altar in the church of Santa Trinità both originally stood in this hilltop sanctuary.

 

The 20th Century
In 1900, the Villa was acquired by Henry White Cannon from New York, who landscaped the gardens, erected large greenhouses and restored the building after the fashion of the Victorians, by adding wrought-iron gates and applying a rust-coloured patina to the walls. He also converted the courtyard into a winter garden by covering it with a roof of glass and iron.

World War II
During World War II, the Villa was badly damaged. In 1950, it was bought by Monsieur Lucien Tessier as a private residence. He set about restoring the 20 first-floor rooms, while he himself lived on the second floor, but the cost involved was substantial and, to finance it, he turned the Villa into a hotel for those wanting to visit the nearby art treasures of Florence and the surrounding countryside.

More Recently
In 1982, Orient-Express Hotels, which already owned the celebrated Hotel Cipriani in Venice, bought Villa San Michele and the surrounding land. 
Once more a comprehensive restoration of the buildings began, this time with the cooperation of the Florence Fine Arts Authority.

Over the past decade, the entire Villa has been painstakingly and expertly refurbished in a style that provides a luxurious environment while still maintaining the beauty and heritage of this magnificent building and its estate.

   Hotel
 

Once more a comprehensive restoration of the buildings was embarked upon, this time with the cooperation of the Florence Fine Arts Authority.

Over the past decade great care and expertise has been engaged to refurbish the entire Villa in a style that provides a luxurious environment whilst maintaining the beauty and heritage of this magnificent building.

 

Features & Offers

Eclectic Characters

Eclectic Characters

Discover what makes Villa San Michele so special and enjoy our new Eclectic Characters video! More »
Grand Tour of Italy

Grand Tour of Italy

Explore the splendours of Italy with one flat rate, available at all Orient-Express Hotels in Italy. More »
Cookery School

Cookery School

Learn to cook the Italian way at our cookery school. More »
Special Promotion for Meetings and Events

Special Promotion for Meetings and Events

Valid for March, April, October and November 2013 More »