An April 2004 trip
to Florence by ShannonBrooke
Quote: Florence is a lovely city with great dining, sites, and weather! We visited many of its churches, piazzas, museums, and markets during our three-day visit in Florence.
There is a palpable nostalgia for this hotel, which has been operating for 70 years. During our stay, a grandmother brought her grandson to see the hotel where she had honeymooned. The original frescoes in the homey lobby are still there for her to reminisce over. The rooms, on the other hand, have been spruced up considerably, the owner is proud to tell us.
Our room was decorated in rustic Tuscan style, and had a comfortable bed. The wooden shutters opened up to a beautiful view of Florence's red rooftops. Our bathroom was clean and comfortable.
The owners do all the work themselves, from the room-cleaning to serving breakfast. You can also call them at any time during the day to ask about the city or just chat. The Australian woman and her Italian husband are wonderful hosts, and I really enjoyed our stay with them. They also have magazines in every language in their lobby to peruse. The owner even lent out her hair dryer to another guest! This friendly atmosphere made me feel like I was staying with friends rather than in a hotel.
To go on about breakfast, it's quite bountiful for 5 euro per day. It includes several pastries, coffee, juice, and jam.
This hotel might not be the most accessible, and I feel that I should warn any wheelchaired visitors of this fact. The hotel is located on the third floor. There is an elevator, but it is really small. Actually, we had to send up our luggage in two trips. The staircase has plenty of room and is another method of going up and down. And hey, if you can go up the stairs, you'll probably want to, so that you can work off all that great Italian food.
All in all, I would definitely come back here on my next visit to Florence (and I rubbed that boar statue, so I'll be back). Although the prices may go up in this improving hotel, it is still a great deal for its friendliness and location.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 2, 2004
7 Via Tornabuoni
(055) 29 21 28
The restaurant attracted a trendy crowd, judging from their attire. Everyone at the restaurant was young and hip, including the tourists. I can't say enough about the great music. Much of it was Arabic-influenced electronica, which I love.
The food was also very good, and a welcome break from the Italian food that we'd been eating every day for a week. I ordered the grape leaves, an appetizer big enough to be a meal. For an entree, we both ordered the maghreb from the Moroccan part of the menu. It was a delicious combination of grilled vegetables, savory meat, and couscous.
In summary, there wasn't a thing wrong with Finisterrae, except for our bulging tummies afterwards.
In nice weather, Finisterrae has private gardens for dining. I can only imagine how lovely they must be, if they are anything like the other rooms.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 1, 2004
Via de' Pepi 3/5r
Attraction | "Bargello"
The Barghello exhibits works of art from Michelangelo, Donatello, and Brunelleschi among others. It is primarily a museum of sculpture. It also displays artisan crafts in ivory, gold, and Venetian glass.
Cameras are permitted, sans flash.
Even children may enjoy this museum, with its display of arms and armor. Also, you can play "Spot the David" because the Bargello has several David statues, none of them Michelangelo's.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 2, 2004
Museo del Bargello
Via del Proconsolo, 4
Florence, Italy 50122
Attraction | "Mercato Nuovo"
The market specializes in souvenirs, with luggage, leather coats, and pashminas taking center stage. Most of the market stands sell the same merchandise, but the prices do differ.
The main attraction of the Mercato Nuovo is without a doubt the boar statue. Legend has it that anyone who rubs the boar's snout will return to Florence. Don't get caught under a tour group! My girlfriend was sitting next to the boar, taking a picture, when a huge tour group came by. She was not able to get up because they were throwing themselves all over the boar, all trying to rub its snout at once. I guess it's a good thing that they all want to return to Florence.
Loggia del Mercato Nuovo
Via Porta Rossa
Florence, Italy 50122
I picked up a soft pink belt here, Italian-made, for 15 Euro. I bargained him down from 18.50 Euro. I had seen similar belts elsewhere for 12 Euro, but you can only do so much bargaining.
San Lorenzo Market
Piazza San Lorenzo
Florence, Italy 50123
Attraction | "Boboli Gardens"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 27, 2004
Boboli Gardens (Giardini di Boboli)
Behind the Pitti Palace
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 (055) 2388786
Florence has far better restaurant options, with more variety. You can
even get international cuisine, such as tapas or Chinese. Also, the extra
charge for taking a seat didn't seem as common in Florence. However, most
restaurants charge for "Pane e Coperto" (bread and knife). This ranges
from one to three euros per person, and is not worth arguing over. Also,
servizio (service) of 10% is generally included in your bill and you
should check before tipping.
There are 13 locations in Florence, which we used to check our e-mail and make hotel reservations. With 13 locations, we were always near one, which is good because I got lost a lot in Florence.
Anyway, these places are clean and from a information security standpoint, I felt it was safe to check my e-mail here. The computers were also fast and up to date. Also, it was inexpensive, only costing a Euro for 10 minutes. In Belize, I paid 25 cents per minute for a slow 14.4k connection.