Podere La Specola, Tuscany, Italy (Vrbo): The Roaring Twenties are back, baby! Or so we are all desperately hoping. Summer 2021 is the time to trade in your flapper-girl fringe and coupe of champagne for a mask with fringe and vaccination records… and a coupe of champagne (not everything has to change in 100 years). And then (safely) book a trip somewhere fabulous. For those whose tastes lean towards da Vinci, this is a Tuscan getaway that will have you bringing out the oil paints and doing your best impression of Mona Lisa.
Let’s talk about the most important feature first: the grounds. After a year of being cooped up, it’s time to throw open the doors and permanently declare your life al fresco. This expansive yard is complete with a large pool, a hydromassage tub, plenty of space to lounge, and views that will have you clicking that camera nonstop.
Podere La Specola has plenty of that rustic Italian appeal. But don’t let the weathered stone or antique vibes fool you. This is an old-school villa. Read: large and fit for an extended family. Or, in this case, your 17 closest vaccinated friends.
If you get tired of your immediate surroundings (unimaginable, I know), you can get those steps in while you wander a little farther afield. The property is surrounded by everything on the quintessential Tuscan countryside checklist: olive groves, rolling green hills, and a bucolic forest.
Can’t imagine leaving? No problem. While the on-site owners (don’t worry, they live in their own private space on the property) might object to you permanently moving in, there is a 5-14 night minimum, which means you have a great excuse to plan a nice long vacation. Sorry, boss, it’s mandatory.
“La Specola” means “observatory” in Italian, a nod to one of the home’s former residents. Among his many renaissance-man accolades, Marsilio Ficino was an astrologer and a teacher of the Medicis. Don’t forget the recommended bedtime story after a night gazing at the stars: “Good Night, Barbera.”
This property is made up of a main house and two annexes. While each has its own set of living areas and bedrooms, the main house is where the communal areas for eating, drinking, and catching up on all the year’s craziest events are.
The second most important feature of this (and any) holiday home: the option to add on an in-home chef. Homemade pizza and authentic bolognese, anyone?
Who needs to eat in the finest establishments to be found in Florence or Rome—or the nearby village of Figline Valdarno—when you have this dining setup in your very own (temp) home.
In America, a home filled and furnished with antiques might be considered something of a poseur. In Tuscany, it’s an authentic expression of being hundreds of years old. Those copper pots? Brand new at time of purchase.
Some old houses skimp on the bathrooms—indoor plumbing took awhile to catch on, after all—but not here, where your crew of 18 has 10.5 baths to enjoy.
Like all quality, centuries-old villas, this country home can sleep generations of family members in the nine bedrooms. Or, if you’re one of those unfortunate souls who has been living that family life during a long, hard quarantine, it can sleep up to 18 of your best friends.
It’s impossible to believe you could ever want more than this little forkful of paradise—more than two social plans in a week has many of us running for solitude these days. But if you want to stretch your legs outside of the beautiful grounds of Podere La Specola, Florence is just a short drive away, as is the famed outlet shopping center known as The Mall.
The bedding may be thoroughly modern, but the wall art gives you a little taste of the local Renaissance flair.
To truly embrace the revival of the Roaring Twenties, we should be thinking in multiples: vacations, parties, massages. But planning out your travel and spa schedule can be so stressful. You should probably book a trip to Tuscany and get to work on your calendar while relaxing near an olive grove. Bottoms up!