Florence – Firenze, capital of Tuscany, cradle of the Renaissance and the coolest, most cultured and relaxed city in Italy. If you have never been to Florence, then you must absolutely put it on your list.
The world famous Duomo is a must see. It’s a vast Gothic cathedral, the fourth largest globally and the frescoes are spectacular. You can even climb to the top of the cupola and get a badge if you make it, but you have to book. Ponte Vecchio is the beautiful old bridge over the River Arno which still has a number of shops across it – but now they are jewellers and souvenir shops, not butchers as they were in Medieval times. Ponte Santa Trinita is the next bridge along and its arches make the most amazing reflections against the river.
The Uffizzi is one of the most visited museums in the world as it has works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli to name a few: we craftily avoided the crowds and went to Galleria dell’Accademia to see the most famous ‘David’ of them all.
Maybe you think Italy is all ‘rush rush ciao bella espresso’ but that’s Rome. Florence is a whole new world and Grand Hotel Minerva is the centre of this world. Literally. You could not get a better location. Set in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the hotel is perfect for – well everything.
Grand Hotel Minerva had an amazing refurbishment recently and you can choose from 97 beautiful rooms, to suites, to an entire floor if you are in the mood to spread out. The architect made sure the hotel stayed in character with Florence’s heritage whilst being state of the art. It is one of the most elegant and comfortable hotels I have ever visited. Great art and good lighting also make this hotel special. A roof top pool and bar make a complete oasis from the city heat as well as giving glorious views while you sip your wine.
My favourite ‘look’ on this trip was the combination of cropped caramel trousers with kitten heels and a gorgeous, plum coloured, silk jersey top. This colour scheme is a perfect balance for autumn.
Amazingly comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms and wooden floors (no cold marble!!) also make the rooms so easy to stay in, despite the amazing views from the big windows luring you out. Of course, everything you need is at your fingertips and there is Wi-Fi is throughout the hotel.
Travelling in November was a great time; I love the heat and can’t be away from it for too long, but even I will admit that sometimes it’s good to wear a perfectly tailored, longline jacket for instant glamour over jeans or a gorgeously detailed sweater and cute tartan skirt with boots.
When it comes to food , my first thought is - PASTA! If you want the freshest pasta ever, try Hostaria il desco. This gorgeous restaurant is used by Florentine locals, so there’s a recommendation! They also serve gluten free pasta as well as being delightful hosts. Definitely book.
If you love culture and art in a cool environment, then Florence is the city for you, magical any time of the year.
A cultural hub and an architectural wonder with great coffee and cakes, every day was perfect whatever we did – before finishing up at the perfect hotel. Firenze ti amiamo.