During a short break from the city heat, I spent a couple of nights at Villa Barberino in the Valdarno area southeast of Florence. The history of the villa dates back as far as the early Middle Ages when it was called Barberino Castle. Because of its strategic position it played a role in the quarrel between Florence and Arezzo between the 13th and 15th century.
In the 1980’s the villa and its hamlet were restored to their former glory and turned into a resort with various types of rooms and holiday apartments, swimming pool, tennis court, restaurant, and gardens. The accommodations are located in various historic buildings inside the walls, and you really get a village vibe when you walk in the narrow street, past little squares and peek through archways and hidden alleys. The main square still holds the central well but is now surrounded by the tables where breakfast and dinner are served.
Villa Barberino can be reached by highway from Florence in about an hour. It is conveniently located near San Giovanni Valdarno and the main town of the area Figline Valdarno, that also has a train station. It an ideal base for discovering the green Upper Valdarno area and for a day trip to the nature reserve Le Balze.
This video shot with a drone shows Villa Barberino from some unusual and high viewpoints.