For our September, 2008 trip to Italy, I wanted Tuscany to be the leg of our journey that was most special. We were willing to splurge to accomplish this for the right place, (it was $390 Euro/ night at a time when the exchange rate was at its worst). We were not willing to spend $800/night for a room under any circumstances, nor $400 +/a night on a place that wasn't that special. I spent hours on Trip Advisor but couldn't find just what I was looking for . Finally, a helpful respondant on Metafilter.Com suggested Villa Delia in response to my posting requesting suggestions. We were not interested in the cooking school but after looking at the pictures on their website it seemed to be just what we were looking for and we were not disappointed. Driving from Florence finding the Villa was NOT easy (I highly reccomend a GPS loaded with European Maps, even then, it is not so easy to find one's way around Tuscany). Find it we did (Bravo to my husband's driving and his patience) and disappointed we were NOT! Driving onto the property, I knew we had made the right choice. It is an incredibly beautiful place. The grounds are breathtaking, our room was very large and elegantly appointed in the Tuscan Country Style, with a wonderful little balcony/Juliette windows overlooking the picture-perfect landscape. The bedding was wondefully comfortable, the bathroom luxurious for a country villa (even the view from the bathroom window was breathtaking), and From the moment we arrived, the service was warm, friendly, and welcoming. Monica graciously showed us to our room, helped us get oriented, and arranged a mind-blowing "snack" and some wine for us, every bit as beautiful as it was delicious. Monica remained our go-to person and friend throughout our stay and I remain in touch with her today. She is beautiful, bright, witty, and warm, and seemed dedicated to making us feel comfortable in any and every way during our stay. We explored the gardens, vineyard, olive grove, tennis courts, and swimming pool, meeting a few of the other guests, all interesting and friendly. The grounds are exquisite and just what you would picture the Tuscan Countryside to look like at its most romantic. We were the only non-Canadians staying there during this time, The Villa is much more well known in Canada where the owner, Umberto, is a celebrated chef known for his former TV show and his highly regarded restaurants. We were lucky enough to have Umberto in residence during our stay. His warm, friendly, laid-back, relaxed demeanor was delightful. This was true of all of the staff including Umberto's sister, also a chef, and brother-in -law Sylvano who serves as Villa Manager. Umberto joined all his guests for dinner each night, sharing wine, laughter, and many wonderful stories. It is expected that you eat dinner at the Villa each night, and you will want to do so because it is delicious, lots of fun, and besides, who would want to try to find their way around the dark country roads at night, not to mention after a couple of glasses of Chianti? Dinner is served family style, and something different is prepared every night, using fresh gardens and fruits from the gardens. There is no menu to select from, but if you have any dietary issues or requirements, you need only discuss that with them in advance and you will be accomodated. The meals tend to be rustic and simple fare, but presented, embellished, and seasoned brilliantly and elegantly. If you do not plan on dining at the villa on a given night, you simply need to inform them of that ahead of time, but you will probably not want to miss this enjoyable part of your stay. Dinner was $45 Euro/per person with wine extra. The wines we drank at the Villa were not memorable. We were not given choices on this (aside from "red" or "white") but I assume pricier bottles are available upon request. Breakfast (included in the room cost) was not quite as wonderful as I had heard from someone who had stayed there a few years earlier. It seemed the loaves of fruit bread had been made in advance, frozen , then thawed, not tasting quite as fresh as I would have liked, but my husband loved the custom made egg dishes, which we did not learn were available until we had been there a couple of days. One of the highlights of our trip was a trip to the Anti Nori Vineyard that Umberto graciously arranged for us. We went with another family staying at the Villa and were treated to a private tour of the Vineyard and Cellar followed by a lunch we will never forget. The cost of the lunch with wines was (gulp) $200/person (USD), but it was spectacular and, well, you only live once! We had absolutely no regrets. Antinori looks just like what you would picture the Tuscan Vineyard of your dreams. Our guide (and later our server) Marcello was amazingly friendly, informative, down to earth, and honest. We also visited San Gimignano and spent a delightful day there; and Pisa (worth it to see the leaning tower if you have time) . We tried to visit Luca but by the time we found our way there (which was challenging, even with the GPS and directions given to us by Sylvano) we could not find anywhere to park in town! If we had it to do over, we would have skipped Lucca and saved it for a day trip (preferably by train if possible) out of Florence. A stay at Villa Delia is expensive, but very much worth the splurge--it was absolutely the highlight of our trip to Italy, and a memory of a lifetime. If we ever get back to Italy, we will stay there again for sure. It was very difficult to select the most representative pictures to add to this review, we have so many pictures we love of this place, it was truly a photo-op! If anyone would like to contact me through Trip Advisor, I would be glad to email additional Villa Delia Pictures .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC