A clean and friendly hotel in a residential area. Area around hotel seemed to be very safe and was very busy with diners on a Saturday night.
We paid about £60 per night for two nights in this hotel using a well known hotel website.
It was about a 10 - 15 min walk into the the centre. One of the ways into the centre was to walk along the Arno river.
Basic breakfast provided. Hotel had free wi-fi as well as free use of a computer in bar/eating area.
One tip is to try to avoid rooms ending in '9' as these tend to be right next to the old lift.
Shower/bathroom was relatively small but still good value for Florence.
When we were flying into Pisa airport (to get to Florence) we intended to take the train from Pisa to Florence.
However due to times being more convenient we took the Terravision bus just outside the arrivals terminal.
Absolutely no complaints and for €6 one way we got dropped off in Florence at Stazione Centrale di S. Maria Novella in just over an hour.
Just outside arrivals hall on right as you leave airport. There is a ticket office in airport.
Riva d'Arno is a new wine bar/art gallery on the banks of the Arno, a few minutes from Ponte Vecchio. It's beatifully designed with great views, fabulous food and wine and a new centre for art. It's a peaceful place to have a drink after walking around the city, a nice lunch overlooking the river or a supper as the sun goes down. It's definitely worth a visit.
Among the most beautiful Italian cities, Florence is a favoured location when it comes to romance. This Tuscan city is fairly small and its well-known attractions, such as the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, are within walking distances. Although it is a very touristic destination, there are countless quieter spots for a romantic proposal. Couples can enjoy a stroll or a picnic in the Boboli Gardens, or use the service of a “Renaiolo” for a boat trip on the River Arno. Climbing the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo rewards visitors with stunning views of the city and a few more steps take you to another Florentine treasure: San Miniato al Monte. Of course a romantic weekend in Florence would not be complete without the delicious food, wine and ice cream on offer.
Individual shops on every corner from shoes, clothes, unique stationary etc.
With the added advantage of picturesque outdoor street market, with quality leather in all shades of the rainbow and styles from briefcase to handbags.
Mercato nuovo smaller market next to statute of il porcellino - the saying goes if you touch it you will return again, which would be wonderful mixing sightseeing, great food and shopping.
Ponte Vecchio for the special present of jewellery and watches.
Plaza di San Lorenzo, 50122 Florence, Italy
+39 055 23320
Google map: bit.ly/trDkS7
Try this self catering house and apartment on a organic olive farm on the hills outside Florence. It's not just the views, the peaceful countryside, the organic produce, the barional rooms, cosy kitchen or the refreshing pool that make this place special. Nor is it even the location which is excellent for touring Tuscany, or trips to the highlights of Florence (just a bus ride away), Pisa, and Siena. It is the warmth and welcome of the family who run the farm and live on site. Nothing is too much trouble! We sailed past all the queues at the Uffitzi museum and places of interest due to their prior telephone bookings, making the holiday with children stress free. Magical memories!
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world's most incredible galleries, not known as a live music venue.
However if you go at 9pm on a Saturday evening in the summertime (when the gallery has late night opening), the windows are all open, the tourists have all gone, the cruise ships have set sail, you have the place to yourself.
The windows are all open to allow the summer breeze in and the live music being played by string quartets busking in the square below fills the rooms, making it one of the most amazing - unexpected - live music venues I have ever experienced.
This fantastic bookshop, arranged over four floors is open from 9.00am to midnight. Right in the middle of the city, buzzing with life and a coffee bar. English books are on the top floor - what a civilised place to be of an evening and never overrun with tourists, plenty of room to sit and read with a hot chocalate. A welcome opportunity to chose bedtime reading after maybe a lovely Tuscan meal at Marione on Via dell Spada.
Piazza Repubblica 27/R – 50123 Florence
Google map: bit.ly/bX2ivp
This place sells great pizza. All simple kinds of pizza, nothing fancy, but very well executed. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it's very busy. You can eat in or takeaway to a nice square near by - piazza santo spiritu.
Via Maggio, 46
50125 Florence Firenze, Italy
Google map: bit.ly/cIhHje
Tucked away, a short walk away from the main tourist area this bar offers an impressive and varied collection of Italian wines along with a fabulous and relaxed atmosphere. They also shake up a mean cocktail (with generous measures too!). Free wi-fi also available.
Borgo Ognissanti, 42/r
50123 Firenze, Italia
+39 (0)55 217791
Google map: tinyurl.com/3xnokg4
It is a B&B run by two women from Firenze for women travellers. It is in the heart of Firenze - and from my room I could see the Duomo and a little garden. It is small, cosy, extremely clean and you meet interesting women there. They were kind enough to put me up for free for a night as I was on a tight budget as I was travelling from India. Extremely warm and hospitable women offering a great service to women travellers. They also welcome pets.
B and B for women only
Borgo Pinti 31, 50121 Florence, Italy
Tel : 0044 203 027 7155
Santa Maria Novella station
Google map: tinyurl.com/ydmodtb
Trattoria Anita is a great restaurant in Florence. They have the greatest food and really good prices. The waiters are really nice and funny and make you feel right at home. I go there anytime I'm in Florence and have never felt sorry.
2 Via del Parlascio, Firenze, +39 055 218 698
If you want a good value three-star hotel near the station in Florence and a couple of minutes from Il Duomo, I can highly recommend Hotel San Giorgio. It costs about €30 ppp night, the breakfast was excellent and the staff and manager Piero are mines of information on good value local bars and trattorias.
For one thing this close to the Duomo, it's just in the perfect spot and I was so glad to be here. Walking is important to us, and the next thing I like is that they accepted dogs because many places we tried to book did not. And of course he got to walk with us! The staff were friendly and the hotel itself is just absolutely beautiful; we couldn't have asked for better.
Continuing on my recent trip, after Forte Dei Marmi I went to grand old Florence itself and enjoyed a stellar stay at Palazzo Vecchieti. Old time deluxe service with a butler no less was perfectly coupled with modern comforts and attention to style and design. Decor may not be the selling point in many accommodations, but here it really pops out and grabs you. The cool chic modern vibe is in perfect contrast to the area itself and really enticing to those with an eye for design. Enough about aesthetics, the idea of having butler service is just so unique that it's almost worth experiencing for its own sake. Aside from that the location in the Signoria Square is absolutely ideal and is perfect for anyone making their way about on foot... or anyone who wants to save time on buses and money on taxis. Definitely a great find.
A link with pics and the address, booked through the same trustworthy company that got me great digs at Forte dei Marmi.
Moving on to the rest of my trip! Firenze is always a joy to come back to, and I managed to find a really nice B&B for not too much money in comparison to normal Florentine prices. Casa Del Garbo is really different, and quite lovely. It was actually my first stay in a "luxury B&B" and luxurious it was! And it didn't have the cold feel one sometimes gets in a 5-star hotel.
The people who run it (I think they're a family) are incredibly warm and helpful, and much better with customer service than at many places I've seen. They honestly did everything they could to make me feel like a member of the family, and it worked!
An added plus was the spectacular view from my room, so inspiring! As if Firenze isn't always enough of a draw in and of itself, this little place was a real gem and I think others will find it that way too.
Piazza della Signoria 8
I booked here again as well, very smoothly: www.italiancollection.com/en/la-casa-del-garbo.html
Friendly people, cheap prices and nice Florentine furniture. It's an eco-friendly hotel, too.
Florence is a beautiful city packed with culture and vibrance. But if you only have a day or two, and on a shoestring budget, I recommend hiring a bicycle for a half a day or a day, especially when the weather is warm. It's one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences my wife and I had, and it's fairly inexpensive.
The city is not big, and you can easily cover most of the top sights if you're willing to do a bit of pedal power, plus you'll be doing your bit on travelling green!
Also, to stretch your deflated pound that little bit further, scoff down as much breakfast as you can (Italian brekkies are simple fares), and have a late lunch. Find a pizzeria the locals recommend, and don't be ashamed to order a very large pizza. Eat half, and ask to take away the rest (a good pizza should still be good even when it's cold and bashed around in your rucksack). While you're there, soak in the atmosphere, and enjoy the distinct flavours of each ingredient. Savour the bursting flavours of the tomatoes, the freshness of the artichokes, the subtle hint of basil, and the purity of the extra virgin olive oil drizzled on fresh mozzarella on the perfect stone baked dough base. Bellissimo! Enjoy it while you can, you simply won't be able to find pizza like they make it in Italy!
Back to the bicycle ride, I would start somewhere by the river, visiting some of the markets and the shops that are just about to open by mid-morning. Florentine streets are narrow, but you should always be able to find somewhere to lock the bicycle during stops. Be equipped with a sense of adventure, and feel free to wander off the beaten track, as somehow it'll always bring you back to the centre anyway. If you prefer, zip around the many piazzas and use speed to your advantage to get to queues early if you like museum hopping.
As the sun starts to sit low, return your bicycle (making note of the closing time where you hired it), and head up to the Piazelle Michelangelo (Michelangelo Hill) by bus. It's a very touristy part of Florence, but find a place to sit down, relax, and enjoy the spectacular changing hues of the sunset as it sails below the beautiful Florentine skyline.
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