Designed by Michelangelo, the 15th-century Belmond Villa San Michele was once a monastery, and still exudes an expertly preserved aura of the past with its frescoes of The Last Supper dating from 1602, and deeply worn flagstones paving the warren of narrow passages from the lobby to the splendour of the Loggia. The service is outstanding from the moment that guests arrive.

Set in the verdant hills of Fiesole, the views of the city of Florence and the hazy Tuscan hills beyond are unparalleled. These are views that can be enjoyed from the Loggia which is home to the hotel’s restaurant, the swimming pool and nearly all of the hotel’s 46 rooms and suites whether in the main building or those in the gardens with their private terraces hedged in by bay and lemon trees.

Stretching the entire length of the façade, the Michelangelo suite is the most impressive room from the point of view of history – it was once Napoleon’s headquarters in Florence – and its atmosphere. Meanwhile the Limonaia Suite set in the former greenhouse where lemon trees were housed during the chilly winters is incredibly comfortable and benefits from a small swimming pool in its private garden.

A fleet of taxis will whisk you down to the city and when you have had enough of sightseeing or shopping you can retreat to this haven of peace. It is one of the few hotels in Florence we recommend during July and August given the large swimming pool and being up in the hills means there is always a cool breeze.