Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or seeking Gold Country adventures, Villa Florentina is conveniently located in the heart of Gold Country, right in beautiful El Dorado County. The Villa is among the most beautiful terrain California has to offer, sitting in the Sierra foothills and in sight of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With elevations ranging from 200 ft. to over 10,800 ft., it’s no wonder the surrounding area is rich in experiences from local town shopping to mountain hikes and scenic drives.
Guests at Villa Florentina will find plenty to see and do with abundant nature and history right at their fingertips. Bike through the countryside, pan for gold like a 49er, hike the Sierra foothills, shop and taste farm-to-table restaurants. Try one (or all) of our favorites: spend a day driving through the gorgeous foothills and taste the region’s award-winning wines, tour Coloma’s historical treasures and if you’re really adventurous, ride the American River rapids.
Cheers to Zinfandels
Visiting Coloma provides many options to explore nature, but add in a glass of award-winning wine with a Coloma view, and that’s creating a memorable experience. The rich history of El Dorado County dates back to the 1800s with historical architecture and distant snow-capped mountains—a setting that pairs nicely with an earthy Zin. A scenic drive to the area’s wineries really is just as pleasing as their wines. Most wineries are family-owned and it’s not unusual to have your glass poured by the winemakers themselves.
Zinfandel vines are the most notable in the area, but you’ll find other varietals just as popular. Rich flavors are easy to come by due to El Dorado’s excellent viticulture and soil. Areas such as Apple Hill, Pleasant Valley and Fair Play are worth the tour, as well as a taste. Apple Hill is not only popular for it’s fall festivals, but also for all their wineries that are all close in proximity—perfect for hopping from one winery to the next (without the Napa tourists and prices). Apple Hill hosts a variety of activities beyond wine, including fruit orchards, pumpkin farms, bakeries, craft fairs and breweries. There’s something to tantalize any taste bud when in El Dorado.
Click on the following links to plan your own wine tour: http://www.applehill.com/wineries-breweries/wineries/ and http://eldoradowines.org/map.php
Right along Coloma’s American River in 1848, James Marshall discovered gold on John Sutter’s Mill. Only minutes away from Villa Florentina, Marshall made the discovery that forever changed history. The Villa neighbors Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, which preserves the old town and exact location where gold was discovered. Visitors can go on a self-guided or scheduled tour to Marshall’s house and Sutter’s wood-salt mill (one of the many must-see Gold Rush sites). Witness the Gold Rush for yourself at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park by experiencing reenactments, panning for gold and walking through historical museums that showcase the ways of an unforgotten past.
For more Gold Rush fun, spend time in Columbia State Historic Park—under two hours south of Coloma. Customized docent tours are given year-round, and guests can also ride on an authentic stagecoach, visit a blacksmith’s shop and other period appropriate stores where the actors actually live and work. Find even more old architecture in the historic town of Placerville, only 20 minutes south of the Villa.
For another city filled with history, the Sacramento Railroad Museum and Sacramento’s Old Town are located in Sacramento. Or, travel to nearby Folsom for activities like shopping, viewing art galleries, attending musical theaters, visiting parks and walking the old downtown. Folsom Lake, a California State Park, has hiking trails along the lake, as well as boating and jet skiing—perfect for the hot summer months. After spending time at the park, family and friends can find it refreshing to spend evenings strolling along Folsom’s old downtown, dressed in Western-styled architecture.
About a 10 minute drive east of Placerville on Highway 50 is Red Hawk Casino for a night out, or in 15 minutes you can drive up to the prestigious Serrano Country Club, which hosts the annual Chamber golf tournament.
Raft the American River
Nestled between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, Coloma shares similar terrain that’s perfect for nature exploration. El Dorado County has one of the most diversified recreational areas in California with approximately one million acres of national forest. Explore by land, or take a more courageous adventure and ride the American River rapids.
Whitewater rafting, Class II-III rapids are offered to families and first-time rafters. These easy rapids can also be ridden with whitewater canoes or kayaks. But upriver, Class IV-V rapids with names like Bogus Thunder and Texas Chainsaw Mama are for those looking for a challenge. Utilize the river to its fullest and enjoy a night under the stars by camping alongside the river, right after a full day of fishing for the evening’s meal.
More nature awaits you at South Lake Tahoe, only an hour and a half west of Coloma. You can ride down the most popular snowy mountains by ski or snowboard (or by other means of choice), as well as hike the numerous trails. Breathtaking mountains and Tahoe Lake await adventurists, while those seeking comfort are set to rest in luxurious resorts towns.
If you dare to explore deeper into Gold Country, repel down Moaning Caverns’ cave to see impressive cave formations, and learn the difference between stalactite and stalagmite formations. The cave also offers spelunking where guests can belly-crawl through narrow passageways for a thrilling underground experience.
Regardless of your group’s preferences, there are things to see and do that satisfy all who stay at Villa Florentina. From wine, relaxation and historic tours to adventurous from mountain peak to cavern, we offer-up Villa Florentina to be your home away from home, giving you comfort and access to some of California’s best treasures.