In search of the Garden Eden

Iris in all its glory: Villa La Massa impresses with colorful natural highlights at the gates of Florence – be it in the extensive park or stylish cocktail glass.

In Greek mythology, the iris was the messenger of the gods. At Villa La Massa, in the middle of the Tuscan countryside and surrounded by 25 acres of lemon trees and olive groves, it signals the arrival of spring. Strolling through the extensive park, you will discover new perspectives and wonders of nature time and time again. The iris garden not only impresses with its magnificent flowers, but also forms the basis for a culinary journey that harmoniously combines history and nature.

Villa La Massa

Blue, purple, white and yellow – this is how the iris blossom shines and delights more than just garden fans. Countless varieties of iris, small and large plants, fragrant beauties and colorful eye-catchers thrive on over 4,300 square feet in Villa La Massa’s specially created iris garden. A visit to the luxury hotel on the Arno is particularly worthwhile between April and July, when the iris garden is in full bloom. The green paradise was created by the renowned landscape architect Maria Chiara Pozzana. It is a continuation of the old tradition of the Medici family, who once ruled Florence: The iris has always been the symbolic flower of Tuscany and still adorns the city’s coat of arms today as a red flower on a white field.

Villa La Massa

An electric shuttle is available to hotel guests on request to take them comfortably to the city center and to one of the highlights of the season: A true garden paradise stretches east of Piazzale Michelangelo and impresses not only with rare iris specimens, but also with spectacular views of the Florence skyline. Founded in 1957 by the SocietĂ  Italiana dell’Iris (Italian Iris Foundation), the extensive iris garden only opens its doors to visitors in May during the International Iris Show. However, there is also plenty for guests at Villa La Massa to discover in the other spring months, as the boutique hotel organizes visits to spectacular villas and gardens in Tuscany as a member of the “Grandi Giardini Italiani” association, giving guests exclusive access to the private estates.

Iris Cocktail Villa La Massa

The gastronomy at Villa La Massa is also a creative homage to the past, characterized by the aromatic treasures of regional cuisine and the use of fresh ingredients from our own garden. The new iris cocktail is the perfect accompaniment for balmy spring evenings. This creation is dedicated to Countess Bierliska, who acquired the historic estate in 1856. A cocktail delight that pays homage to the gardens with a fresh blend of vodka, iris liqueur and orange bitters.

Villa La Massa

Villa La Massa Room

Villa La Massa, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, has 51 rooms and luxury suites as well as a private chapel. The hotel is located directly on the banks of the River Arno, five miles (eight kilometers) from Florence city center. Guests can take a free shuttle bus directly to the Ponte Vecchio. The hotel’s restaurant Il Verrocchio was voted the restaurant with the most beautiful view in Italy. It is located directly above the Arno in the middle of the hills of the Chianti region, surrounded by estates and vineyards. Other highlights for connoisseurs include the historic wine cellar for private tastings, the Bar Mediceo and the Bistrot L’Oliveto.

Photos: Villa La Massa