In the late 19th century, Baron Oppenheim of Florence regularly hosted princes, pashas, and artists at Villa Cora, the city estate he built for his young wife. The baron—in a fit of jealousy over his wife’s alleged infidelity—once attempted to set the neoclassic structure ablaze, but it survived and eventually became a hotel. Last December, after a change of ownership and a three-year renovation, Grand Hotel Villa Cora opened again to guests, who are now greeted in the entry hall by a sculpture of the baroness.
Antonella Gatti-Fratini, co-owner of Italy’s Whythebest Hotels group, personally oversaw the restoration of this prized estate in the hills just outside Florence’s historic center. The hotel now has 46 accommodations spread among three structures, and grounds that encompass a park, a rose garden, and a swimming pool. Other highlights include a small wellness center and Pasha, a restaurant and cigar bar housed in the main villa’s ancient cellars that promises to make Villa Cora once again a gathering place for Florentine society. Grand Hotel Villa Cora, +39.055.22.87.90, www.villacora.it