Hotel Villa La Principessa
This property was once owned by Castruccio Castracani (the Luccan general said to have been the model for Machiavelli's ideal prince). After walking the wooded grounds and dining on marinated salmon, thyme-and-lemon-scented chicken, and minestrone seasoned with heavenly local olive oil, guests feel ideal themselves. The hotel is just a five-minute drive from lively Lucca, though the hunting prints on the walls, striped fabrics, and tartan carpets may make you feel as if you're in an English country house. Book one of the refurbished second-floor suites that boast antique furnishings and vintage parquet floors (room No. 126 has a coffered wood ceiling).