Not all the places to stay below are officially rated as luxury hotels, but all offer luxurious accommodations and amenities.
- Four Seasons (Borgo Pinti 99, Florence; www.fourseasons.com/florence; tel. 055-2626-250): There was never really any doubt, when the Palazzo della Gherardesca reopened in 2009 as the Four Seasons Firenze after a 7-year restoration project -- this was destined to be the most luxurious address in Tuscany. Original frescoes on the 15th-century walls, sumptuous decor, and some of the city's finest dining are just a few of the earthly delights you'll find here.
- Helvetia & Bristol (Via dei Pescioni 2, Florence; www.royaldemeure.com; tel. 055-26-651): This most central of Florence's luxury addresses was the city's leading hotel in the 19th century, and guest rooms and lounges still exude an opulent turn-of-the-20th-century air. The bright and refreshing small Winter Garden bar, with trailing ivy and a splashing fountain, doubles as the breakfast room. The location, opposite the Strozzi and a few paces from Via de' Tornabuoni, could hardly be better for a shopping- and culture-fueled visit.
- Villa Vignamaggio (near Greve in Chianti; www.vignamaggio.com; tel. 055-854-661): Leonardo da Vinci might have approved of the saturated color schemes in the minisuites of this agriturismo (working farm) high in the hills of the Chianti. In fact, the Mona Lisa who sat for his famous portrait grew up in the villa. Most suites are in the peasant stone outbuildings scattered across the property and come outfitted with minibars, satellite TVs, and complimentary bottles of the estate's award-winning vintage. It's the best base for a wine-buying trip.
- Hotelito Lupaia (Loc. Lupaia 74, Torrita di Siena; www.lupaia.com; tel. 0578-668-028): Southern Tuscany generally does rustic way better than it does luxe, but this "little hotel" enveloped in a rural idyll between Montepulciano and Montefollonico successfully combines the two. Bohemian decor and strong colors permeate all the individually designed units, and the pool is the ideal spot for a lazy lunch in the sun.
- Fonte Cesia (Via Lorenzo Leonj 3, Todi; www.fontecesia.it; tel. 075-894-3737): This hotel melds 13th-century palazzo and modern lines. The public rooms are filled with brick vaulting, and the huge terrace, planted with palms, is for taking breakfast. The suites are each themed and decorated with fine antique pieces or modern design, such as Empire-style desks and dressers or Wassily chairs.