Italy - Florence

by Chris Thompson


If you are an art/architecture loving carnivore looking for a short break I can put together the perfect weekend!

I have returned from a visit to Florence after a gap of sixteen years and am cross with myself for leaving it so long.  It really is the perfect two or three night destination due to the size of the city and compact nature of the "must see" areas.

My hotel was the new Four Seasons set in the most lovely gardens, it was very hard to believe you could walk to the Duomo in just over ten minutes as you sat on the terrace listening to the bird song and looking across lawns of dappled sunlight to the swimming pool. This would be a fantastic place to stay in warmer weather, in particular if you have children.  I also have a few favourites right in the centre I can tell you about!

The main discovery at dinner the first night was the speciality, bistecca alla fiorentina (broiled T-bone steak) - this is not for the faint hearted and demands a very hearty appetite if one of eight dishes as served to us that evening!  It was good to discover restaurants from my first visit still offering great food and thanks to friends visiting their art student daughter for the last five years some great local restaurants. I found the food and standard of service much better than in Rome on my last visit - sorry Rome! 

A two-hour guided walking tour is the perfect introduction to Florence.  You can then visit at leisure any number of breathtaking palazzos, galleries and museums.  I strongly advise you to pre-book (we can do this for you) your visit to the Uffizi, as the queues can be very long.  If your stay includes a Monday, go to the Duomo at ten in the morning to avoid a wait if you wish to climb up to the Dome. As we descended the line into the Cathedral was building up. 

Florence works so well as a quick visit one centre destination or part of a more extensive tour of Italian cities or the Tuscan area.  Do not leave it too long to visit - you will only regret it!