Dinner at Villa San Michele

A trip to Florence is incomplete if you don’t stop and explore the utterly breathtaking Villa San Michele. Nestled on a hilltop surrounded by trees and terraced gardens, this magnificent hotel in the hills of Fiesole was built in the 17th century and overlooks the sparkling lights that shine from the city of Florence below. 

It was the start of a three-day, 50th birthday celebration that began with guests arriving for a Friday night welcome dinner. Even their arrival was planned with maximum effect. Guests walked down the villa’s long driveway on a tan runner lined on both sides with silver lanterns that lead to a cocktail area staged to take advantage of the breathtaking hotel façade as a backdrop. Guests dined on elegant canapés passion fruit cocktails and white peach Bellinis.

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Guests were invited to dine al fresco on the hotel’s loggia overlooking the city of Florence below. Three long dinner tables set in a single row were laid with purple linens and dressed with silver chargers, crystal glassware, and elegant silverware flatware. Beautiful flowers of purple calla lilies and delicate sweet peas complimented the look with lighting from the chandeliers casting a soft glow to the room. Starting with a classic Foie Gras terrine accompanied by a Muffato wine sauce served with baby wild salad and green beans and risotto with pumpkin blossom. Scampi was next, after which we enjoyed baked fillet turbot with fresh tomato and basil accompanied by sautéed vegetables and thyme. Each course was expertly paired with an Italian wine selected by the talented hotel sommelier. For the ladies dessert, a warm puff pastry filled with fresh raspberries and strawberry gelato with calamint herb. For the men, a crunch cappuccino gelato with meringue.

As soon as dinner service was over everyone was invited to the back garden for a surprise evening of entertainment. Andre Bocelli performed his classics,  followed by the lead dancers from the Paris ballet performing Swan Lake. Next, a stunning fireworks display capped the beautiful evening at Villa San Michele.

--Colin Cowie

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