Tuscany is Italy condensed: the culture and art, the vineyards and fruit farms, and of course the great food and wine. There, between rolling hills and the Apennine mountains in the Mugello valley (home to the famous race track) lies Lake Bilancino. And next to it, Villa Le Maschere, a massive estate in the hills and one of the most beautiful late Renaissance country homes in the area.

Careful and painstaking restorations that took more than five years have recovered the works of Tito Chini, many stuccoes throughout the complex, Venetian style floors, and ornate frescoes by the school of painter Francesco Furini, and brought the villa back some of the glory it had when it played host to lavish parties and hosted popes, noblemen and artists.

Today, Villa Le Maschere has 65 rooms and suites, all unique, with some of them boasting impressive artwork. Two impressive statues carved by Giovanni Battista Foggini at the end of the seventeenth century decorate one room, the decorative floral reliefs by Tito Chini embellish another. And some delicate eighteenth-century frescoes ‘illuminate’ a suite where Pope Pius IX once slept.

Breakfast is included in your stay, the buffet even offers plenty of gluten-free options and during the warmer months food is served on the big terrace overlooking the park. At night, the restaurant Il Piopponero (The Black Poplar) serves a seasonal menu that features lots of local dishes from Tuscany and the Mugello area.

If you want to perfect your swing (or just try out the sport for the first time), one of Tuscany’s most popular golf courses is close to the villa at UNA Poggio dei Medici hotel.

Villa Le Maschere would also be the perfect spot for a digital detox. But If your idea of fun includes Instagram, Snapchat and FaceTiming with your jealous loved ones at home, don’t worry: free and fast wi-fi is available throughout the hotel and even at the pool.

The spa is located in the former basements of the villa and has a spectacular view through the three large arches that lead to the outside swimming pools. On offer here: saunas, a Turkish bath, plenty of jacuzzis and of course massages and treatments en masse.

If you’re in the area but not staying at the Villa, you can still take advantage of the glorious wellness area and pool: ‘day spa’ packages offer you different treatments and one of the beautiful rooms in the villa for the day, starting at 150€.

Villa Le Maschere // Via Nazionale 75 // Barberino di Mugello // Italy // website

Thank you Villa Le Maschere for hosting us.