Today Florence is a thriving metropolis with fashionable eateries and Gucci-clad citizens. Yet this regional capital of Tuscany is also Italy’s ‘Renaissance City’ and so will be forever linked with 15th century artists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci.
Its skyline is thankfully still a masterpiece courtesy of showpieces like the Renaissance Basilica, Giotto’s Campanile and the Gothic Duomo; all of these architectural treasures enhanced by the fast-flowing Arno River and romantic Ponte Vecchio. But if you really want to immerse yourself in Florence’s art and culture don’t leave without wandering through the Uffizi Gallery; a visit to the Accademia is also recommended if you fancy marvelling at Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
And why not use this fascinating city as a base from which to explore the entire Chianti region, the towns of Sienna and Pisa are all within easy driving distance?
“Florence is an incredible city to explore on foot. But then you simply have to get out and explore the beautiful Tuscan countryside.”
VIP Concierge Service
•Marvel during an exclusive private visit to the Vasarian Corridor preceeded by a visit to the Uffizi Gallery.
•See the highlights of Florence on this VIP tour of the city including The Academy of Fine Art, Santa Croce and of course the Gallery of the Uffizi.
•Visit a traditional erboristerie where you will create your own personal perfume fragrance to take away, followed by an exclusive visit to ‘Prix Coty’.
•Spend the day cruising through the Tuscan hills in a Ferrari, or would you prefer a Lamborghini – no problem.
When to visit
Winter months are traditionally cool and wet and the summer hot and dry. Meaning the best months to visit are March to June and September to October which also tend to be quieter. How to get there British Airways fly to Pisa from London and code share with Meridiana to fly to Florence. Low cost airlines offer alternative timings and direct departures to Florence from Gatwick and London City; and to Pisa from Luton, Stansted, Bristol, East Midlands, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Newcastle and Belfast. Transfers from Florence Airport take approximately 20 minutes and 45 minutes from Pisa Airport.
This 15th century monastery was transformed into one of the world’s most romantic getaways by Belmond Hotels in the 1980s. Of course, the company had a particularly good start – the hotel’s façade is attributed to Michelangelo, whilst its setting high in the hills of Fiesole yields stunning vistas over Florence and the Arno Valley.
Peeking out from the cypress trees that flank the Fiesole hillside, Il Salviatino is an ‘urban resort’ with a bit of a past. This aristocratic palazzo dates back to the 15th century and still has the handpainted frescoes and centuries-old mosaics as evidence. These vintage gems are now carefully matched with exquisite antiques, whilst the 45 rooms are all individual works of art, yet the comfortable lounges, cordial ambience and friendly ‘service ambassadors’ contribute more than enough warmth.
Stay here and make all your Medici fantasies come true. This former convent and Renaissance palazzo might now be part of the world’s finest hotel company, but its meticulous 7-year restoration mean that the 15th century frescoes and hand-painted ceilings still take centre stage.
This elegant yet unpretentious affair is romantically sited right on the south bank of the Arno River, just to the west of the Ponte Vecchio. Stay in one of its terraced guest rooms overlooking the water and you can almost conjure up ‘Room with a View’; another quintessential Florentine experience awaiting you in the riverside restaurant with its traditional Italian cuisine.
A Rocco Forte/Olga Polizzi spellbinder, the Hotel Savoy is a fashion-conscious yet family-friendly boutique hotel with a delightfully central location just around the corner from the Duomo.
Relais Santa Croce Hotel places you at the very heart of this timeless jewel of a city. Offering a sumptuous fusion of classical luxury and peerless modern comfort, its 24 rooms and suites are tastefully themed with period furniture and lush fabrics and feature stunning marble bathrooms, panelled walls, frescoed ceilings and even ancient arches.
A 16th century estate set on the bank of the River Arno in 22 gorgeously calming acres, the utterly exquisite Villa la Massa is a stunning residence just a few short miles from the centre of the city.
With an enviable position for any Florence goer, emerge from its doors in to the charming quiet piazza and in just a few footsteps find yourself aside the wonder of the Duomo. In fact it is so close that many of its rooms and suites frame the cathedral through their windows. Looking inward, you find contemporary furnishings sitting elegantly within this historical building. Style and substance are in abundance here with service matching the décor for its high quality.
Located in a centuries-old park minutes away from the city, Villa Cora was built for Baron Oppenheim and the fabulously eclectic interiors reflect both this aristocratic heritage and the spectacular decor of a period when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Each floor is characterised by a distinct style, from the Empress Eugenie and her passion for roses, to an Oriental style, to 1950's America.
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