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The Italian Job; Florence to Amalfi is the ultimate road trip

16th April 2013 Print
Residenza Vistamare

Set your own pace for exploring Italy’s charms this summer. Live the Italian dream by driving a luxury classic car following whatever route takes your fancy. Fly to Florence, spend a few days in the city living it up like a true Fiorentino then head for the hills, for Perugia, for Rome, for Amalfi……the world is your oyster, freedom is the name of the game and at every turn there is a divine A&K Villa or boutique hotel just waiting for you. 

Start the odyssey in the sophisticated Renaissance gem of Florence, living in luxury in Abercrombie & Kent’s luxury apartment Firenze Tre, bang in the middle of the city. Bask in the architecture, museums and galleries, pay homage to the sensational ice cream of Italy in the birthplace of gelato (Grom near the Duomo is not to be missed) and marvel at the brilliant little hands-on Leonardo da Vinci museum before exploring those seductive surroundings on horseback for a blast of fresh air.

From Florence, take to the road in style to cruise the scenic Chiantigiana route, passing the exquisite Carthusian Certosa monastery en route. Meander through Italy’s famed wine region and instantly recognisable hillscapes, visiting tiny villages and delightful towns almost too perfect to be real. Stop at Greve, an ancient market town and home to Chianti’s largest wine fair held every September. Roam through classic Tuscan countryside punctuated by tall cypress trees to the picturesque mediaeval hillside town of Cortona, where one of Europe’s foremost antique fairs takes place at the end of August in a heart-stoppingly beautiful 17th century palazzo.

From there skirt around the reed-fringed Lake Trasimeno, stopping for fish al fresco, before heading to the stunning Estruscan walled hill town of Perugia. Time your visit to coincide with the international jazz in July and the classical music extravaganza that takes place in historic monuments and churches throughout the town in August or for the chocoholic, a dreamlike chocolate festival in October. Meanwhile base yourself in the fabulous Castello di Reschio Spinaltermine, a private estate set in 2700 glorious acres that couldn’t be more perfect for relaxing and unwinding in style.

Nearby, the World Heritage Site of Assisi is a must. Incredible architectural and artistic masterpieces are crowned by the Basilica San Francesco, burial place of St Francis and the superbly preserved 1st century Temple of Minerva. A host of fascinating events includes a spine-tingling mediaeval tournament, Palio della Balestra every August.

Whilst moseying down through yet more lovely scenery, thoughts turn to things gastronomic. Abercrombie & Kent’s celebrated art and wine tours are based in Norcia and Tuscany, and in Norcia itself the gorgeous 16th century Palazzo Seneca offers a warm and inviting welcome in this ultimate Umbrian foodie town.

From here Rome beckons. A slow drive south culminates in the delights of the uber-luxurious Regina Baglioni, with its spectacular views of the city and equally spectacular location just a stone’s throw from Villa Borghese and Via Condotti.

For those with time to spare, scudding down to the Amalfi coast is the irresistible grand finale of this road trip of all road trips. Abercrombie & Kent Villas have a sensational line-up of luxury villas in this glamorous part of the world. The stylish Residenza Vistamare is a peaceful and private retreat. It overlooks a quaint fishing harbour, has stunning views of Capri and Mount Vesuvius and is lavishly decorated with antiques. From £592 per person per week.

At the entrance of Amalfi, the superbly restored Scaletta has a spectacular cliffside location with panoramic views reaching as far as Ravello. Original stonework dates back 800 years whilst beautiful ceramic objects and a brilliant fusion of historic charm and modern luxury render this villa truly special. From £441 per person per week.

Just outside the charming town of Posillipo, Villa del Mare is an elegant whitewashed confection, idyllically situated in one of the loveliest and most sought-after areas on the Gulf of Naples. Live in staff, extensive grounds, antique furnishings, a gym and home cinema, all mod cons and breath-taking views towards Capri combine to make this one of A&K Villa’s most popular villas. From £965 per person per week.

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Residenza Vistamare