Florence and Tuscany - a Vacation to remember!

We spent one week in Florence, and one week in Chianti region of Tuscany. What a fabulous second honeymoon (18 years later)!

Florence and Tuscany - a Vacation to remember!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

Oh the Renaissance art in the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, not to mention to amazing pasta and fabulous chianti!${QuickSuggestions} Many sights and stores close for a mid-afternoon riposo (siesta), so plan accordingly.${BestWay} Walking is the ONLY way to get around Florence! Except for resident's vehicles, buses, taxis and the ever-present motorcycles, there is no other traffic allowed.

Hotel Hermitage

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

Fabulous location! You are right around the corner from the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio (best people watching!), Ponte Vecchio (jewelry stores) and walking distance to everything else. You have breakfast on a beautiful roof garden, with lots of pretty flowers - just watch the pigeons, who are pretty aggressive. If it rains, or if the birds get to you, there is also an indoor breakfast room, which is clean but nothing special. The concierge was extreemely helpful with reservations and the like. The entrance is hard to find, unless you know where to look. You walk up a flight of stairs, then take an elevator to the 4th floor, and there is reception, the breakfast room, and a very cozy lounge area where you can get drinks, or sit and read, or borrow from their extensive guidebook selectipon, play games, etc. The rooms were somewhat small, but had a jacuzzi in the bathroom, which came in handy after a day of walking around looking at all the sights.

Beautiful rooftop garden for breakfast, but the pigeons were aggressive!

Rooms were on the small side, but clean, and the bathrooms have jacuzzis!

Hotel Hermitage

Florence, Italy


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

This place was great!

Frescos were painted on the walls, which totally added to the mood.

The waiters at first seem like they don't like you, but they're really nice and helpful and definitely want you to enjoy your meal.

We met a guy who comes back to Florence a lot and always goes there first.

Make sure to order the salad. I know it sounds strange - but they make it tableside in front of you with such fresh vegetables and it is so good. Pasta, soup and risotto are great there too. I didn't try it but was told the spinach omelette is also great.

Save room for dessert.

Ristorante Paoli
Via dei Tavolini 12R
Florence, Italy
+39 (055) 216215


Member Rating 1 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

This restaurant is recommended in all the guidebooks and got a flattering write-up in the wine spectator, but don't waste your time or money on this one. They don't care about you there at all, and make no pretense about hiding it.

This was to be our big splurge night for dinner, and we had asked our hotel concierge to make reservations for us months in advance, but when we got there they sat us at what they called a "social table" for 6 and wouldn't put us someplace else after we requested.

All the dinner entrees are price fixed at about $30 each, and unfortunately, none of them appealed to me (which never happened to me before!) so I told the waitress I would just have 2 first courses (the pasta-soup course), but she wouldn't let me. They basically made me order something I didn't want, and when it came it was dried out and inedible.

Instead of apologizing and offering to get me something else, the owner came over without a word and dropped off a meatball on a plate for me to eat. Just one meatball on a big plate-no kidding.

Anyway, would you believe they charged us for my meal?

Don't waste your time or your money on this arrogant place, so many fabulous places to eat in this city!

Via Andrea del Verrocchil 8r
Florence, Italy

II Latini

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

What a great dining experience. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Don't make reservations, just get there about 7:15. They open at 7:30. Until they open, you can watch the staff dining through the windows. When you come in, they assign you to long family-style tables, where you meet people from all over the world.

No menus - just whatever's fresh that day. A big jug of chianti on the table, not excellent wine, but lots of fun, and bottomless at that.

Food's great, the experience is even greater. Don't miss it on your next trip.

Il Latini
Via dei Palchetti, 6r
Florence, Italy, 50123

Borgo Antico

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

Get a table outside, because it's on a piazza with a stage where they do performances. We saw some Tony Bennett-type guy singing in Italian - fun!

The risotto was so good! Enough to share too. Wine list was very reasonably priced - just ask the staff for a recommendation. They suggested a wine we loved and drank all week.

Just watch your pocketbook if you do sit outside. Someone at the next table had put her bag on the ground at her feet and the next thing she knew it was gone. Her husband chased the guy down, screaming all the time, and managed to get the bag back, to a resounding round of applause!

Borgo Antico
Piazza Santo Spirito, 6r
Florence, Italy, 50125
+39 055210437

Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 12, 2001

For a special dinner, reserve the private table upstairs. There is one table up a narrow flight of stairs overlooking the rest of the restaurant, great for a romantic dinner.

Food was excellent, try the namesake wild boar in a kind of stew served with polenta.

Service was extremely friendly.

Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco
Borgo San Iacopo, 43
Florence, Italy
055 215706

San Lorenzo market

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by shadow106 on July 17, 2001

What a fun way to spend a few hours! The market is open every day and it is well worth a visit, unless you're the type of shopper who only wants to visit the name-brand stores.

There are literally thousands of leather goods to choose from, pocketbooks, belts, even jackets and briefcases. Yes, you have to be choosy, but the quality of the leather is excellent, and the prices can't be beat. I got 2 pocketbooks, and my husband a beautiful briefcase - really soft leather.

They also sell a lot of handpainted ceramics there too. One thing we noticed was that a lot of the booths there have stores right behind, so if you don't see exactly what you want, they'll just show you into the store. We made one misttake on ceramics. We bought a lovely combination salt/pepper/oil/vinegar set, but when we got home, we saw there were 2 salt shakers and no pepper. Look carefully before they wrap it up.

They have nice quality scarves and ties. Again, be choosy but you can do really well there.

This market was much nicer and much larger than the straw market just a few blocks away, and I recommend it for a fun time.

San Lorenzo Market
Piazza San Lorenzo
Florence, Italy, 50123


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