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At a glance

  • You'll love

    Decadent family suites

    A heated outdoor pool

    Close to Boboli Gardens

  • Kids will love

    Mini Italian menu

    Garden-set playground

    Exploring nearby Boboli

  • Don’t expect

    A kids’ club or crèche

    A poolside lifeguard

    Tot-tailored events


Villa Cora is a luxury hotel in Florence with a family-friendly approach. This baroque boutique stay in Italy might be grand and gilt-trimmed, but it welcomes children for first-class family holidays; there’s a Little Prince-themed kid’s menu, a 'VIB' (very important babies) activity programme, a small playground in manicured grounds, family-size suites and babysitters too. Inside, it’s all aristocratic opulence; outside, it’s been made summer-holiday ready with Florence’s only heated outdoor hotel pool and inflatables aplenty. Two bars, a plunge-pool-blessed spa, Moorish/Italian cuisine and rooms with riotously OTT decor will ensure it’s the perfect break for parents as well.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Villa Cora with us:

A bottle of sparkling wine, and a Discover Florence card game and crayons for kids.


‘Near-Medici levels of magnificence, with a surprisingly homey feel, ensures that you get the luxury hotel you wanted, and they’ll be made to feel like princes and princesses – a win-win situation all round.’

Smith & Family


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Villa Cora – Florence – Italy

Need To Know


4, including 11 suites.


12 noon. Check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from £417.59 (€484), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (£30 a person), but you can tuck into anything from omelettes to Tuscan cheeses and salami at breakfast; choose either the buffet, wellness or Continental breakfasts. Breakfast is free for kids aged 11 and under. Children Cots for under-3s are free; extra beds for under-12s can be added to the Junior Suite category and above for £70 a night.


Personal training is available on request in the gym and in-room spa treatments can be arranged. The hotel’s concierge is happy to help families seek out the city’s best child-friendly activities and events.

At the hotel

Spa, fitness room, swimming pool, two restaurants, three bars (including a smoking room), ballroom, two lounges, playroom, gardens, playground, concierge, CD library, laundry, free WiFi.

In your room

Flatscreen TV, radio, minibar/mini fridge, a kettle and tea selection, coffee machine, free bottled water, bathrobes and slippers, black-out curtains, Annick Goutal bath products and free WiFi. iPads loaded with children's games are available to borrow, and bikes can be hired on request. The Junior Suite and Suite categories have an iPod dock too.

Our favourite rooms

Spacious Family Suite 312, which is on the peaceful third floor, sleeps four guests and a baby cot can be added if needed. There are two large, lavishly decorated bedrooms (one with a canopied king-size, one with twins) and two marble bathrooms each with a bath tub and separate shower. It’s decorated in a Moorish style, with ogee-arched doorways and terracotta-hued walls; there’s also a railed terrace. Families will also find plenty of personal space in the Duplex room: teens and tweens will appreciate the twin-bedded room on an upper level; parents will love the romantic four-poster on the lower floor.


This is the only hotel in Florence with a heated outdoor pool. The infinity-edged pool is open from 9am to 8pm; it’s gated and elegantly adorned with rows of slim white parasols, dainty day-beds and alabaster statues. Swim-confident kids will fare better since there’s no shallow end (and no lifeguard supervision), but there is a stash of inflatables to borrow from reception.


The spa overlooks Boboli Gardens, on the lower floor of Villino Eugenia. It’s a low-lit space with a bronze and gold colour palette, and a white marble room with day-beds and a plunge pool. There are three treatment rooms, a hammam, caldarium and a small gym. Treatments include massages (including candle-wax and chocolate-infused massages), facials, reiki, reflexology, manicures and pedicures and waxing. In the summer, fitness and pilates classes take place; however, there are no set junior treatments.


The hotel's VIB (Very Important Bambino) package includes a welcome kit with crayons, books, sweets and a small toy; a daily sweet treat from the chef; a list of child-friendly activities compiled by the concierge; and one free activity (a hand-painting class, a 30-minute swimming lesson, 30-minute pizza- and cookie-making class; or a personalised treasure hunt. All of the hotel’s common areas are wheelchair, pram and buggy accessible, with ramps leading up to the reception and the spa building, and a lift to all floors.

Book ahead

Babysitting must be booked at least two days in advance.


Pets are welcome, although there's an €80 cleaning fee. The hotel will add a dog bed and selection of toys to your room, and staff can order a professional dog walker on request.

Food and drink

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Villa Cora – Florence – Italy


Pasha is an ode to Moorish cuisine; inspired by former resident (and Khedive of Egypt) Ismail Pasciàa. The Moorish room's intricate detailing in peacock blue, mint, red and gold – and a breathtaking domed ceiling – make this one of the loveliest spaces we've dined in. The menu features both Italian classics such as home-made pasta with goats cheese and prawn carpaccio, and Middle Eastern-influenced dishes, including scallops with olives and candied orange. From May to October, guests can choose to dine alfresco in the elegant, Philippe Starck-furnished Bistrot by the pool (open for lunch only). There’s a breakfast room where a hunger-defeating buffet is served; each station offers new delights, whether you want something savoury (meats, cheeses, salad, smoked salmon and home-made breads) or sweet (cakes, yoghurt and an array of fresh fruit). The hotel's decadent Sunday brunch (served inthe winter months) is served to live jazz, and a play area is set up for children. The theme changes each week, so you could find yourself tucking into truffle-shaved omelettes, pancakes or waffles, accompanied with wine (€75 an adult, free for under-11s).

Family fare

If you’re visiting in the summer months, the Bistrot is more casual and child-friendly than Pasha; little ones can splash about while parents keep a watchful eye. Pasha is a more sophisticated establishment, but true to form, Italians are blithe about bambini dining with their parents. A tot-tailored menu offers penne in fresh tomato sauce, mini pizzas and fruit tarts for dessert. Highchairs, booster seats, children’s cutlery and Tommy Tippee bibs are available on request, and staff are on hand to heat up milk or baby food.

Hotel Bar

There are three: the captivating Long Bar has sultry purple walls and a table with a turquoise glow; smoking and spirits are encouraged in the mahogany-clad cigar room; and there’s a relaxed bar by the pool. The roof terrace with Duomo views is open year round, but it's at its loveliest in the summer, when champagne flows freely Parents should stick to the pool bar, or take a tipple in one of the hotel’s more child-friendly lounges if they want to enjoy a drink during family time.

Last orders

The Pool Bistrot is open from 7am to 11pm, May to October. Breakfast is served from 7am to 10:30am, snacks are served in the Card Room from 2:30pm to 7:30pm. Brunch runs from 12 noon to 3pm, by which time you'll be very full.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    A poolside table in the Bistrot is the perfect family perch in summer, but a corner table in Pasha will give babysitter-aided breakaway parents some privacy.

  • Room service

    Room service is available around the clock. The menu offers light meals, such as pasta and salad, alongside steak and Tyrrhenian fish dishes. The dessert list is rather decadent too.


    Dinky diners are offered a ‘Discover Florence’ game to entertain them between courses. To stock up on sweets, wipes, nappies and other essentials, take a 10-minute walk to Supermercato Il Centro on Via Romania.


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Villa Cora – Florence – Italy

Parent approved

‘Near-Medici levels of magnificence, with a surprisingly homey feel, ensures that you get the luxury hotel you wanted, and they’ll be made to feel like princes and princesses – a win-win situation all round.’

Smith & Family


Babysitters must be booked at least two days in advance, for a minimum of two hours (for a charge of £40 an hour). Ask the concierge to arrange this for you.


Baby listening isn’t offered at the hotel and high ceilings and thick walls can make monitors unreliable.

Other Services

If requested before arrival, the hotel’s pâtissier can whip up a customised birthday cake for your little Smith. Mini swimming costumes for kids can be bought on site too.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • Black-out blinds

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Booster seat • Cot beds • Cot bedlinen • Swimming aids

For older children

• Board games


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Villa Cora – Florence – Italy

Things to do

Lounging by – or slipping into – the pool is the best way to spend time here; there’s a bar for adults to prop up just by it, a row of day-beds and inflatables to keep kids afloat. Children are also given the run of the Italianate gardens, or they can head to nearby Boboli Gardens for an especially aristocratic playground. Indoor play includes board games and puzzles in the highbrow halls. Parents can chill out in the spa’s caldarium, enjoy a piano concerto in the lounge, seek out the sumptuous artworks and statues dotted about the hotel or simply sit and enjoy the tranquility of the gardens.

Hotel activities

You’ll want to head on a family foray to the centre of Florence; however, the hotel has an in-house range of family-tailored activities. Its outdoor, supervised heated pool gives it the edge (it’s the only hotel with an outdoor pool in Florence). There’s also a mini playground in the sprawling gardens, which offers plenty of room for full-charge carousing. There’s a princely yet petite indoor playroom and a high-ceiling, tiered-chandelier lit lounge – the Hall of Cards – where families can gather to play board games borrowed from reception. When you run out of hotel-bound hijinx, consult the hotel’s concierge for some family-friendly Florentine frolics. The 'VIB' (very important babies) programme is free for those staying in the Deluxe Room category and above. This includes swimming-pool games, cookery and painting classes and treasure hunts. If you're at a loss for child-friendly distractions, the hotel's concierge is your go-to guy.

And there's more…

The aptly named hall of cards is a genteel lavender-hued spot to sit down and play a board game borrowed from reception, while piano music sets the mood.

Local Guide

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Villa Cora – Florence – Italy
Smith tip

Yellow Bar (+39 055 211766) is cosy bar and eatery on via del Proconsolo. It's family-run and the owners are happy to accommodate kids. There’s a lengthy menu with burgers, pizza and pasta dishes, and red, white, rosé and sparkling wine to sip.

Don't miss…

Il Santo Bevitore (+39 055 211 264) is held in high repute by visitors and locals alike, for good reason – remarkably simple country dishes are served in contemporary surroundings, with a reasonably priced wine menu.

Staying in the child-friendly Oltrarno area of Florence means there’s plenty to do on your doorstep. It’s easy to navigate your way around, quieter than the crowded city centre and there are plenty of useful shops and green spaces. Beautiful Boboli Gardens (+39 055 5978309) – filled with statuettes, picnic-ready lawns and climbable trees – is just a five-minute walk. The hotel is a 30-minute walk from Florence’s city centre, a distance that may prove tiring for little legs; however, the hotel's free shuttle will whisk you to the centre, and you'll be supplied with bottled water and a small bag of sweets before you go (when you want to get picked up, just ring the front desk to arrange a meeting spot). Pitti Palace (+39 055 2388713,, which sits grandly by the north-east end of Boboli Gardens, should be the first 15th-century Medici-owned mansion you cross off your list. It's not as well set up for mini Smiths as other museums but Caravaggio's cupids, the regal costume gallery and perhaps a bound around the glorious amphitheatre-styled grounds will strike a chord with kids. Then cross the Arno via Ponte Vecchio, taking in the trinkets for sale on the shop-crowded bridge, before finding Palazzo Vecchio (+39 055 2768325), by following its impressive tower to Piazza della Signoria. Here you can unleash your little one's inner Leonardo da Vinci with fresco painting (for over-8s) or take a secret-passageway tour and solve ancient puzzles (for all ages); reserve a 'turtle kit' backpack (for over-4s), with art materials, clothing, and perfumes and potions from the past in advance of your visit. Events are very reasonable and there are baby-changing facilities and cloakrooms to leave bulky bags in. For lunch, Osteria dei Baroncelli (+39 055 288219) sits in a side street just off the square, serving thick steaks and pillowy bites of ravioli in unpretentious fresco-adorned surroundings. If your mini Smiths want to flaunt their artistic flair, make Palazzo Strozzi (+39 055 2645155) your next stop. This stunning cultural centre engages children with the artwork using explorer's cases, containing maps of exhibitions, compasses and bite-size nuggets of trivia (for over-3s); drawing kits are also available. Check with the museum before your visit; some talks are in Italian. There are also baby-changing facilities to hand. If the wee ones are starting to wane, take a two-minute stroll to Piazza della Reppublica to go for a spin on the antique carousel there by the Fountains of the Naiads. Nearby, Grom gelateria (+39 055 216158) is held in high repute by sweet-toothed patrons and serves gluten-free frozen treats. You may have to spread museum visits out over a few days, but the Museo Galileo (+39 055 265311) is worth a visit to scope out astrological oddities and to introduce children to the titular scientist. Under-6s enter for free and there are baby-changing facilities and lockers onsite. The Leonardo da Vinci Machines Museum (+39 055 8999471), in Galleria Michelangelo on via Cavour, is also a must-see, with more than 50 replicas of the great painters' artwork, flying contraptions and other lesser-known weird and wonderful inventions. The gallery’s Café Michelangelo is a welcome pit stop with snacks, soft drinks and baby changing.

To dine close to the centre, but not too far from the hotel, Il Latini (+39 055 210916) is a five-minute walk from Ponte Vecchio. A true trattoria, it's ceiling is hung with ham hocks and its menu has juicy steaks, hearty soups and plenty of pasta dishes. There's also a well-stocked wine cellar for parents to investigate. il Cantinone (+39 055 218898) is on the Oltrarno side of Ponte Vecchio on Via di Santo Spirito, with a relaxed atmosphere, long tables where your group can spread out and traditional fare that's palatable for kids, including pizza bread and savoury crêpes. Of course, you can't really go wrong with pizza, Antica Porta (+39 055 220527) is a 10-minute walk from the hotel and serves more than 130 toppings alongside a rotating pasta menu. If you've hired a babysitter for the night, head back to the Piazza Reppublica for an adults' only affair at L'Incontro (+39 055 2735891), where Michelin-star decorated chef Fulvio Pierangelini has put together a sumptuous four-course menu.


+ Enlarge
Villa Cora
18 viale Machiavelli, Florence, Tuscany, 50125
Hotel setting

Old-world Oltrarno

Getting There

On the Oltrarno, south of the river, Villa Cora sits on a strip of opulent villas on Viale Machievelli, which cuts through the beautiful manicured parkland of Giardini di Boboli.


The closest option is Florence’s small Peretola airport (, 8km away – a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Pisa International Airport (, covers more destinations worldwide; it’s about an hour away by car or train from Santa Maria Novella train station The hotel can organise transfers from Peretola Airport (£80 for a one-way trip).


Florence’s main rail hub, Santa Maria Novella station ( is 3km from the hotel and links the city with the rest of Italy and Europe; high-speed lines connect to both Rome and Bologna. A taxi will cost around €15, or the hotel can arrange a one-way transfer for £50.


Florence is about an hour by car from Siena, Pisa and most of the stops on the Chianti wine trail. The city centre can be tricky for cars – its mediaeval streets get notoriously jammed, but Villa Cora is on the more navigable southern side, and has plenty of free parking. Florence, Peretola and Pisa International Airports all have car-hire kiosks, but the hotel is close enough to the city centre to travel by foot (and perhaps the odd taxi).

Parent travel tip

Crowds flock to Florence year round, but if you want to go at a less overwhelmed time try to book for mid-November or January. If arriving by train take a Thello sleeper train ( to Florence from Paris. The four couchette carriages offer plenty of space, bedding and a free bottle of water for each family member. Under-4s travel free if sharing with an adult and compartments are big enough to spread out family travel games. Under-12s also get discounted tickets.


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Villa Cora – Florence – Italy

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Villa Cora – has been selected and approved by parents.

Villa Cora looks more like the set of a Versace shoot than a hotel where your little ankle biters will be welcomed; upside-down wedding cake chandeliers, gilded frames and cartouche-adorned furnishings seem at odds with wee ones, but luckily the Florentines have an open-minded approach to young guests. Parents can bask in magnificent baroque-style bedrooms with flirty four-poster beds, which have plenty of privacy – many include second bedrooms and bathrooms, or a sizeable lounge to stash a cot in. It’s like staying in a Disney castle with no actors in mouse costumes parading about. There's no crèche or kids' club but there's a pint-sized playground in their immaculate grounds and beautiful Boboli Gardens are also just a short stroll away. This is the only hotel that has an outdoor heated pool in Florence (with a cache of inflatables for little ones to use); it's a looker, with a fleet of white umbrellas, day-beds and nymph statuettes.

The decor that loudly proclaims culture and refinement, but it’s also bold and colourful enough to catch curious young eyes. The many frescoes festooning the walls and Romanesque statues dotted around in the most unexpected places (a few hover over mantelpieces) should intrigue your little ones – hopefully giving them an education in classical art by osmosis – and the Little Prince is even alluded to on the kids’ menu. Parents are spoilt with an elegant eatery and a purple-hued bar with a neon-strip table that looks like the result of a collaboration between Dracula and Dan Flavin - with surprisingly chic results. The museums and galleries of Florence are a half-hour walk (or 15-minute taxi ride) away and babysitters are on hand if an adults-only affair – at one of the many tempting restaurants close by – is on the cards. Near-Medici levels of magnificence, with a surprisingly homey feel, ensures that you get the luxury hotel you wanted and they’ll be made to feel like princes and princesses – a win-win situation all round.

Smith & Family

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith & Family hotel, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life family guests had to say about Villa Cora in the Guestbook below.


Stayed on

We loved

Everything at the hotel and the free transfers into Firenze from the hotel - only 5 mins away.

Rating: 10/10 stars