The name of this wonderful boutique hotel (ad astra means "to the stars") refers to a 19th-century observatory tower that dominates the largest privately owned city garden in Europe—in which the hotel is located. This is the home of the aristocratic Torrigiani family, and the present Marchese lives on the ground floor. Climb the wide, red-carpeted staircase to the hotel entrance, passing family portraits en route, and it feels like entering a grand private residence. Once inside the hotel, however, the vibe changes to something a bit funkier. The noble proportions of the 19th-century palazzo are still intact, along with elegant cornicing, heroic frescoes, grandiose chandeliers, and wonderful old parquet floors, but the owners have used Farrow and Ball paint on the walls and filled the rooms with a highly individual collection of re-claimed, custom-made, one-off vintage design pieces, along with endless curiosities inspired by the 1950s and 1960s. There are seven gorgeous bedrooms in the main house and two in a romantic annex in the garden: all have freestanding bath tubs in the room. Four have direct access to the magnificent wraparound terrace that looks straight onto the glorious garden. This is the place to be in warm weather; there can be no better spot for breakfast or evening drinks in the whole of Florence.