Villa Mangiacane

Lavish, great location, personal

4 Via Faltignano, San Casciano

(39) 055-829-0123

See Website

At a Glance

When it first opened, Villa Mangiacane was an incredible luxury option close to Florence but nestled in the gorgeous Chianti region. Several management companies later, the property is still beautiful but service has not kept up.

Indagare Loves

  • Beautifully restored frescoes in the Main Villa
  • Dinners served in a different location on property each night
  • Secluded setting but only eight miles from Florence


When you first drive up the lavender-lined path that leads to the Villa Mangiacane—a unique hideaway some eight miles south of Florence—you feel as though you’d stumbled onto a Bernardo Bertolucci set. The sculpted gardens, lush with jasmine, citrus trees and slender cypresses; the gnarled olive grove; the surrounding vineyards; the huge terraces with views of Florence—everything has an air of orchestrated flawlessness that makes you question its authenticity and age. But then you learn that the pink stucco villa was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Machiavelli (uncle of Niccolò), that Michelangelo is rumored to have been consulted on the façade and that the frescoes on the first-floor terrace, discovered during the renovation, date from the 16th century. And you realize that Mangiacane is the real deal.

The villa opened its doors to guests in 2005. Occupying 740 acres, Mangiacane comprises two sumptuous villas; three swimming pools, including one with an infinity edge; manicured gardens; and elegant common spaces decorated with a mix of antique and modern furniture. The heart of the property is the 16th-century Main Villa, whose façade is similar enough to that of the nearby Villa San Michele, the region’s most famous hotel that is housed in a former 15th century monastery, to lend credence to the story that Michelangelo was involved in its conception, as well. Mangiacane contains two large loggias, outfitted with lounge chairs and day beds, that look toward Florence. From either one, Brunelleschi’s cupola of the Duomo appears, perfectly centered, in the distance above the treetops. It is said that when Niccolò Machiavelli was exiled here from Florence, he most appreciated the fact that Mangiacane was built on a straight axis facing his beloved city-state. (He wrote The Prince down the road, in nearby San Casciano.)

Perhaps the most exquisite details at Mangiacane are the beautifully restored pastel-colored frescoes that ornament the Main Villa. Depicting hunting scenes, they were lost for decades behind layers of paint. The twenty-six guest rooms are located in the Main Villa and in the recently completed and more modern Vineyard Villa, which has a pretty courtyard, furnished with tables and cushy wicker daybeds, that is edged by a small herb garden. Once you’ve arrived in the idyllic Mangiacane setting, chances are you won’t want to leave, although the sights, museums and shops of Florence are only a twenty-minute drive away.

There’s also a small spa with four treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room and a dramatic underground lap pool area, whose mood lighting, gurgling fountain and marble columns evoke the steamy atmosphere of a Turkish hammam. Dinners can be served at a different spot on the property each night, so if you’re there for a long weekend, you won’t eat in front of the same backdrop twice. The menu consists of fresh Tuscan fare. If you’re lucky, you’ll dine one night on the second-floor loggia of the Main Villa, where you can watch the countryside turn crimson during sunset and gradually transform into a sparkling wonderland as small lights illuminate the surrounding hills.

Who Should Stay

Travelers looking for a base between Tuscan countryside and Florence and who don’t expect super-smooth, round-the-clock service. Several Indagare members have been less than impressed by the staff at Mangiacane.

Written by Simone Girner

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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