Although I love visiting Florence in summertime when the weather is warm, a strategy is required to avoid an all-family meltdown given that the city is compact and during prime tourist season, it’s almost impossible to escape the crowds. The majority of the city hotels do not have swimming pools or open spaces for kids to run around. A bad combination.
Villa La Massa is located just 15 minutes from the center of Florence in Candeli, perched right on the bank of the Arno River. This is exactly what makes it a fantastic part of the all-family meltdown avoidance strategy — Villa La Massa has all the benefits of a countryside estate with seamless urban access via their free shuttle into town.
I visited the hotel recently to get an update and was thrilled with what is in place for families.
The highlight is the extraordinary amount of outdoor space for guests to relax, leaving plenty of room for adults to be pampered in peace and quiet, while kids run around around like monkeys. There is a play structure and swing set paired with flat grass that extends as far as the eye can see. This area of the hotel is absolutely ideal for kids of all ages.
In addition, free bikes are available for guest use available in all shapes and sizes. There’s a heated outdoor swimming pool, although families need to note that there is no shallow end and the atmosphere immediately around the pool area is quiet. Nonetheless, it is a place where families can cool off and happily take a break (there’s a lifeguard standing by too).
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Villa La Massa is known for it’s superb restaurant and glorious terrace overlooking the Arno. Outdoor dining always feels more kid-friendly to me; there is a full children’s menu available. Kids are always given full drawing sets (the nicest I’ve ever seen at a restaurant) to help pass time during a leisurely lunch or dinner.
Room service is available anywhere on property. One of the great things about a true luxury hotel like this is that the staff will — within reason — do anything for you, i.e. asking for dinner in a spot where you will feel most comfortable is expected.
One of the best features of Villa La Massa for families is the array of guest room options available. Connecting rooms and suites are plentiful. Guest rooms are unbelievably spacious, light, bright, and comfortable. They opened up a Presidential Suite in 2009 that is essentially like having your own villa at the hotel.
Of course, the main activity from here is sightseeing. As discussed, Florence is easy to access and so is Siena (45 minute drive), and the Chianti countryside. In fact, what makes this location so appealing is easy freeway access versus the main roads into the Florence city center which will put even the happiest relationship to the test. See my article on Tuscany attractions with kids for ideas.
If you want a down day at the hotel, the property offers cooking lessons with their chef, including classes just for kids! There is also a fitness center and beauty treatment room (not a full spa). All-in-all, it’s love for Ciao Bambino as it offers some special for everyone — what we’re all about!
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