Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante Italy, Tuscany

Built at the height of the Italian Renaissance, this gracious 15th-century villa is set into the hillside above formal terraced gardens, with captivating views to the historic centre of Florence and its surrounding countryside.

The interiors are as beautiful as the vista, ornate yet elegant and packed with original features that bring the history of the house vividly to life. Your feet will walk on 600-year-old floor tiles, you’ll sleep beneath ancient beams and share the same extraordinary views that first inspired some wealthy Italian nobleman to build his country estate in this seductive spot more than half a millennium ago. There’s no shortage of contemporary comfort either, with a new, high-spec kitchen and a large, indoor, heated Jacuzzi located in a vaulted cellar room with direct access to a sunny, south-facing garden terrace and a small pool for cooling off on the outside terrace.

The house has seven bedrooms that would comfortably accommodate two or three families, though the gardens have various ledges and drops unsuitable for young children. Located 10 to 15 minutes by taxi from the centre of Florence, Villa Elegante is an ideal base for a group of friends interested in the art, history and culture of the city, and for a personalised taste of la dolce vita, local cookery courses can be organised on request. You can drive into Florence fairly easily, and many other Tuscan treasures including San Gimignano, Siena and the vineyards of Chianti are reachable within 30 to 60 minutes by car. And should you reach art-overload after a few days, the chic shops and enticing restaurants of Florence offer an equally inspiring way to sample Italian culture.


  • 7 bedroom house (sleeps 12)
  • Changeover day – Saturday
Ground floor:
  • 2 large living rooms with fireplaces
  • Dining room
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • WC
First floor:
  • 2 double bedrooms both with en-suite bath/shower rooms with WC
  • Double bedroom
  • Single bedroom
  • Shower room
Mezzanine floor:
  • Twin bedroom with en-suite bath/shower room and WC
  • Single bedroom with en-suite bath/shower room and WC
Upper floor:
  • Large private suite
  • TV room
  • Kitchenette
  • Double bedroom with en-suite bath/shower room
  • Washing machine and dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Cot and highchair
  • Telephone
  • DVD and CD players
  • Hi-Fi, iPod docking station with speakers
  • Central heating
  • Open fireplace
  • Air-conditioned bedrooms
  • Portable fans
  • Large indoor heated Jacuzzi/whirlpool 3m x 2m with shower room, located in vaulted cellar room on the lower garden level with direct access to the outside terraces
  • Some drops so young children should be supervised at all times
Complimentary wifi:
  • All properties with wifi are able to support basic functionality such as web browsing and checking emails
  • We aim to offer an uninterrupted service but sometimes due to factors beyond our control reliability can be affected
  • Bed linen, bathroom and pool towels are provided
  • Weekly linen change for bookings of one week or more
  • Extra linen changes and cleaning €12/hour
  • Cook available on request
  • Complimentary welcome breakfast included
  • Cookery courses can be arranged on request
  • All services payable locally
  • Prices quoted are subject to change

With its close proximity to Florence, Villa Elegante provides the perfect base to explore Florence and visit the many other cities in Tuscany. The cultural wealth and natural beauty of the region is so rich that you feel like you are simply a feature of a Renaissance painting that has just come alive; a visit here is one never forgotten.

Florence, Tuscany’s most sophisticated city and regional capital, is the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to masterpieces of art and architecture. Florence has more art per square metre than anywhere else does in the world. The most iconic sight is Florence Cathedral, with its terra-cotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and bell tower designed by Giotto. The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo’s ‘David’, while the Uffizi Gallery exhibits pre-eminent works such as Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and da Vinci’s ‘Annunciation.’  Experience too an evening stroll along the Lungarno, with the twinkling lights of the Ponte Vecchio as a backdrop.

Siena is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings. The fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is dominated by the Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall, and Torre del Mangia, a slender 14th-century tower with sweeping views from its distinctive white crown. From this square at the centre of town extend the city’s 17 historic city wards. According to local legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus and nephews of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. The Palio di Siena is a horse race that is held twice each year (2 July and 16 August) when 10 horses and riders, riding bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent 10 of the 17 city wards. A pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world. The race itself circles the Piazza del Campo three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds.

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena known as ‘The Town of Fine Towers’. It is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which form an unforgettable and distinctive skyline. Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The historic centre of San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the town is also known for its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the Vernaccia grape that is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.

Historic Arezzo, with its Etruscan and Roman origins, offers a roman amphitheatre and superb frescoes in the church of San Francesco.


  • Florence 8km
  • San Gimignano 63km
  • Siena 80km
  • Arezzo 80km

This Simpson Secret is booked on an accommodation-only basis, but for an administration fee of £25 per person we would be delighted to book return flights.

Below are the flight options available, including the most convenient airport in Tuscany to help you reach your destination as quickly and easily as possible.

Florence 8km/20min drive

Departure airport Airline Flight days Seasonality
London City British Airways Saturday All season
London City Air France Saturday All season
London Gatwick British Airways Saturday All season



  7 May 14 May 21 May 28 May
Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  4 June 11 June 18 June 25 June
Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  2 July 9 July 16 July 23 July 30 July
Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  6 August 13 August 20 August 27 August
Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  3 September 10 September 17 September 24 September
Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14
  1 October 8 October 15 October 22 October 29 October
Simpson Secret – Villa Elegante 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14 7 14

†  Flight availability is limited on your chosen dates.

Please call us for assistance with your holiday on 020 8392 5872.

Booking Conditions

  • Prices are in pounds sterling and are for the accommodation only for the guests named on your invoice
  • The assistance of the property owner, housekeeper or concierge
  • Information book in your accommodation
  • Any breakages, damage, losses, extra cleaning or outstanding accounts incurred during your stay 
  • Visas 
  • Holiday travel insurance
  • Airfares, car hire or transfers
One cot and one highchair are provided free of charge in our self-catering properties.  Additional cots and highchairs may be available upon request.
In order to allow you to co-ordinate your holiday arrangements with friends and family, in many cases we are able to hold an option for up to 24 hours before confirming your booking.
In order to confirm your booking a deposit of 30% of the accommodation cost is required.  This payment is non-refundable. The balance payment for your holiday should be paid at least 10 weeks prior to your departure. We accept most debit cards and credit cards, and personal cheques. All payments made by credit card will be subject to a 1.25% charge* reflecting our incurred costs. (*American Express is subject to a 2% charge.) 
Please familiarise yourself with our full booking terms including our cancellation policy here.
Most of our self-catering accommodation is privately owned and sometimes it is the owner’s main residence, which they vacate for the summer season. In order to protect the furnishings and fittings, some owners require a security deposit which is collected 3 weeks prior to departure. The deposit will be refunded in full within 7 days of your return provided there is no damage or additional cleaning required and the property remains in the same condition as upon arrival. If a security deposit is applicable, the amount required will be stated in the Details section of the property. Please alert the owner/caretaker to any breakages or damages during your stay.
It is compulsory that all our guests have comprehensive travel insurance and we will need full details of your policy at the time of booking or before you travel.
Your travel documents are available to download and print 2 weeks prior to departure via our Manage My Booking facility on our website provided you have paid in full.
It is your responsibility to be in possession of a valid passport and any necessary visas. EU citizens do not need a visa to travel to France. If you are a non-EU citizen then you should check with your own embassy for the entry/re-entry requirements necessary for your journey. Children not on an accompanying parent’s passport before October 1998 are now required to hold their own passport if they are under 16 years. If you do not have a passport, it is recommended to apply at least 6 weeks before your holiday. Passports should be valid for 6 months after your return date.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date travel information to help British travellers make informed decisions about travelling abroad. Should you wish to check their advice or information about the destination you are travelling to, please visit their website: or call 020 7008 1500.
Air-conditioning and heating
We have indicated in the property descriptions which accommodation has air-conditioning included in the holiday price. Heating is available in some of our properties during the low season weeks, which is normally included in the holiday price.
Animals and wildlife
As in all rural communities, indigenous animals are an essential part of the way of life. The braying of a donkey, crow of a cockerel or the barking of a dog is not a complaint that receives much sympathy from the locals! Care should be taken to minimise the presence of insects and animals in your accommodation. Keep surfaces clean, dispose of refuse regularly and ensure that food is not left uncovered. Cats and dogs are often resident where an owner or manager lives on the property. If you are allergic to cats and/or dogs please ensure that you check the suitability of your chosen accommodation with us prior to confirming your booking.
We have specified if a barbecue is available at your accommodation. Please note that often in summer, due to the hot weather, use of your barbecue may not be allowed and/or strict rules for its use may apply. The local or national government reserves the right to introduce new rulings at any time, often with little prior notice, prohibiting the use of barbecues to reduce the risk of fires. Where a barbecue is not provided, it is usually because the surroundings are considered a fire risk or inappropriate for the use of barbecues.
Beach/pool towels
Beach/pool towels are provided in all our self-catering properties and these are normally laundered weekly.
Please note that a double bed could be two single beds placed together. French bed sizes vary and can be 140cm.
Check-in and check-out
You will usually be able to occupy your accommodation between 4-7pm and you should vacate it on the day of departure before 10am. Please refer to specific property details for exact times. 
All our properties are cleaned for your arrival. The details section of each property has further information regarding the cleaning schedule. If additional cleaning is required, please contact us to arrange this in advance of travel. Please note additional charges will apply.
Distances and timings
Please note that all walking and driving times stated are approximate estimates only. Transfer times are also approximate estimates only and do not include any waiting time.
Health and safety
Simpson Travel is committed to raising the standards of health and safety throughout all our destinations. Our guests’ safety and wellbeing is of the highest importance to us. However, please note that since many of our properties are private homes, it is not always possible to meet the same exacting standards as in the UK. In your accommodation we will provide any necessary health and safety information. We ask you to familiarise yourself with this information and the property on arrival, particularly when travelling with children, and to raise any concerns with the Simpson Travel telephone representative.
Internet access and wifi
Internet access and wifi is available when stated in the relevant accommodation description details. Please note there may be restrictions with the availability and speed of the service transmitted by the local provider and technical issues may cause temporary withdrawal of internet facilities. We are unable to accept responsibility for any down time or consequences of using this service and refund/compensation cannot be offered due to circumstances beyond our control such as adverse weather conditions.
Linen and laundry
Bed and bathroom linen is provided weekly. For your convenience all of our properties in France have a washing machine and most have a tumble dryer.
Noise and building works
Traffic, farm work, roadwork, animals and other sounds form part of everyday life, however, what constitutes ‘noise’ to one person may not be a problem for another. Please let us know if you have any special needs regarding this. Occasionally, building work is unavoidable as we do not control such work and may not know about it in advance. Whenever possible, we will notify you of any work that we believe may affect your holiday.
Only guests named on your invoice are entitled to occupy the accommodation.
Satellite television
We cannot guarantee that a full selection of satellite channels will be available. Channels in English may be very limited and these are often only CNN or BBC World.
Seasonal facilities
Some facilities are subject to weather conditions and the general season, for example swimming pools, restaurant terraces and courtyards, pool bars, local restaurants, and they may be limited or unavailable at the beginning or end of the season. Please do not hesitate to check with us, should a particular facility be a necessity to you.
Swimming pools
Swimming pool details are given on our website. Pool dimensions are approximate only and, unless specified otherwise, pools are freshwater and unheated. Dates when pools are operational are subject to the prevailing weather conditions at the time of opening and closing and we cannot be held responsible if poor weather means the pool is opened later, or is closed earlier in the season.
Upon arrival at your accommodation, we kindly ask you to acquaint yourselves with the pool’s safety and hygiene rules. All our pools in Corsica and mainland France comply with French law and are fitted with one of the following forms of security: fence, alarm or cover. Some pools are ‘infinity pools’ which have an exposed pool edge with an unprotected drop. This maximises views and is an attractive feature of the pool. We recommend that you do not sit, lean or walk on the unprotected edge. Children must be supervised at all times.
Villa owners
Whilst the owners or staff of some properties may live on site and tend to the grounds, they are aware that you value your privacy, and will do their best not to intrude. We do ask you, however, to allow them reasonable access to the property so that they can maintain the grounds and keep them in good order.
Welcome Pack
We offer a welcome pack in all our self-catering accommodation consisting of a small selection of staple items.