3 Must Experience Sites in Florence and Our Red Carpet Day
There is only one place in the world where after an original pizza snack, you can spend the afternoon walking amid magnificent renaissance and then tuck into a dinner delightfully put together with the delicacies of the area, accompanied by a Chianti that will take you by surprise…Florence, Italy. It snuck right in to our blood!
We started our Florentine adventure at Peretola Airport. The Italians call it Amerigo Vespucci. By the way Firenze is the Italian name for Florence, we love how they pronounce it! We will truly try to give you a flavor of a day in Florence starting with getting in and about….
Transfers from/to Airport & transportation: We had already planned to grab the Airport Shuttle straight to some sight seeing. We learnt soon enough that Peretola is literally 4 miles, 15 mins from the city center by Taxi. Its approx. 20 mins using the “Busitalia,” the very budget friendly Airport Shuttle. Getting to the city center was pretty manageable at Eur 6/person or 10 euros round trip. Check the bus station website before you travel. If you chose to hire a car, the airport access to the city center is the up the Viale Guidoni leading to the “Firenze Nord/Firenze Mare” superhighway aka the A1 and A11. We chose the round-trip shuttle at 20 Euros total for two, you gotta buy this at the Airport Kiosk. You can also buy direct from the bus driver at no extra cost, only one way though!
Note: In Italy taxis cannot be flagged down as they pass you along the street! Taxis are instead “stationed” at special parking stands in most of the major squares in any city & airports. You can order one by phone. In Florence, the best numbers for a taxi are: 055.4242 / 055.4390 / 055.4798 / 055.4499. Double check to ensure they are still valid at time of travel! Learn more here about moving around in Florence.
Our accommodation in Florence: was Hotel Rovoli. We’d been advised it was a 5 min walk from the Santa Maria Novella Station, and Busitalia station where the shuttle drops you and it took us even less to get to…sweet!
The Rivoli is a Best Western, 4 Star Superior Hotel with 80 rooms. It was apparently a Franciscan convent dating back to the 15th Century which has been restored to a unique splendour. (Info courtesy of Hotel Planner). Our room was a Junior suite, other available rooms are basic rooms or suites, classic, and superior suites. We noted 4 meeting/events rooms. And we thoroughly enjoyed our fully cooked breakfasts in the amazingly inviting and warm breakfast room, formerly the Franciscan refectory.
We’d been googling before our trip to see where we could visit, eat, chill out, transport etc. Our accommodation and flights were all covered courtesy of our Travel Club.
We discovered that Florence is a beautiful city for a family holiday, romantic getaway, or even an artistic visit, being the birthplace of the Renaissance architecture. Its also apparently a gateway to Tuscany, with mouth-watering cuisine. So it would be an understatement to say we couldn’t wait to go!
Places to See on A Flying visit to Florence:
So we’d planned to visit the Graves of Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli in the Pantheon or the Santa Croce as it’s called. (A friend, Lutje highly recommended this!)
If you love art then you can’t miss the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Florence. Having been to the one in Rome last year, we were curious as to the difference. So it was on our “to see list” too in Florence!
Paul and I determined that we’d either stop by for a peek or have a cuppa at the Four Seasons…an experience every traveler with a taste for the finer things in life should do in Florence…Unfortunately our program was super tight we didnt manage it this time 🙂
Take a Private Walking Tour of Florence, done on our last day. It takes approx 4 hrs, perfect for a short visit as ours was. be warned it is first thing in the morning yet you wont regret it. This tour includes breakfast on a terrace with views of Florence to die for. Absolutely breathtaking. You get a personal guide who during breakfast gives you a lil history lesson of Florence. Hilarious with it as he shares some weird and odd tales that you wont ever find in any shop bought travel guide. Only if you are fit for its 4 hrs of walking via the city center to: the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Basilica of Santa Croce (the graves mentioned above) etc. We used Context Tour for this pleasure and highly recommend them. Alexander is amazing!
If you have a longer stay in Florence we highly recommend you check out this Definitive guide to what to do aptly named “Before you go, Florence.”
Trivia we learnt from our Tour Guide about Florence:
Like other Italian cities the people use gestures a lot and thus are very expressive. To build rapport very quickly how about you mirror their actions, usually this may elicit a smile or laughter and break the ice…at least it did for us! 🙂
On the day of our Red Carpet day in Florence, we were happy to find that while it was a cold & breezy, the weather was okay for this time of year although quite wet. We quickly got dressed and headed down to the Mandela Forum for this unforgettable event. You can agree it was amazing!
After such an event the next day we were truly hungry for more…
Where to Eat in Florence: Since we were on a weekender so to speak and had an event to attend, we made sure we knew where to find great food. We both love Paninis, Pizzas, pastas…so go figure! But we didn’t want to be lost for where to eat.
We searched and found this amazingly cool website by Georgette Jupe aka GirlInFlorence on where to eat drink and be merry in Florence…It really is comprehensive definitive monster guide on the gastro pleasures from a local, you cant go wrong.
Quick Tip: The main cooked and continental breakfast at our hotel was quite filling. There was an omelette station and all sorts of eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, yogurts, the usual suspects. They also had plenty of fresh fruit, pastries, breads (with all the fixings) and a nice granola station.
But if you are looking to eat outside of your hotel, then definitely check out the suggested resource on where to eat above. Lots of places where you can enjoy the beautiful outside views while you eat, wrap up warm this time of year (Winter) it got real nippy brrrrrr!
And for lunch or dinner, while we’re not huge buffet people, nor do we eat lots of cheese or Pizzas, while In Italy..surely go for it! So after our Red carpet experience, we headed to a little known place that a friend recommended, easy to miss too. Its called Don FeFe off Via La Farina close to the Campo Di Marte Train Station aka Firenze C.M. Its a lil quaint family establishment, with a massive open oven and a great wine selection. Aha cant miss your glass of chianti while in Italy! Accompany it with a delicious hot freshly made Pizza while you watch or Whatever you want or a toasted sandwich–ish more like toasted flat bread with lashings of your fav pizza topping! Our favorite was one with cheese, anchovies, buffalo meat and perfectly ripe tomatoes.
Quick tip: Bring some sandwich bags. Helpful for packing a sandwich and fruit for your snack from the breakfast buffet. We used sandwich bags to pack snacks to bring into town with us each day from the buffet. Apples, Croissants, Bananas and couple of pastries kept us going so we didn’t have to go looking for snacks time was tight!!!
We’d read mixed reviews about our Hotel in Florence (as well as Florence itself) But most of them were awesome. Thank goodness. And we’re firm believers that if you’re looking for the best you will receive that, and if you look for negatives you’ll find them. We don’t go on vacation or a business trip to look for issues, we go to have fun or learn to grow our business. And as such we often end up having a ton of fun no matter where we go. We’ve had an awesome time in Florence, including walking the Red Carpet as VIPs…everyone should do this at least once in their lives!
Random fact: Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of the city, and of course you do know its the esteemed capital of Tuscany!
Quick Tips: Make sure you have cash on you when out and about, saves you having to use your card abroad…the charges oucchh they could hurt. We usually have “Forex insurance” to have peace of mind. Euros are almost same value as the pound sterling. And we had enough for our short jaunt in Florence.
Learn more about how you too could travel and create more memories around the world Below!
And shall we say a massive huge vote of thanks to the KLM Happy to Help Team. They truly shone when they offered all passengers to Manchester Flight KL1093 a snack, sandwich, and drink of choice. All for FREE, ZILCH while we waited for our flight. There was a teeny weeny delay of 5 minutes…This is totally not done these days by airlines that simply look at you as a nuisance…! Then we were upgraded, for being frequent Flying Blur travelers…Wow. Now that’s what we call service. Well done KLM…we will Fly Blue more often for sure! So much to be grateful for….!
Enjoy more random views of Our Florence below:
However you wish to end your day, it could be surrounded by sheer old world perfection of Florentine enchanting streets in the footsteps of Machiavelli or Leonardo Da Vinci overwhelmed by the sheer presence of Europe’s old world, intermingled with sharp modern day architecture. The capital of Tuscany, a place with seductive beauty, the city of Florence.
Did you enjoy our lil sojourn in Florence? If YES….We’d so dig it if you Share your insights, experiences, or views of Florence below. Guess what all our images are shareable Or use the Social Share buttons to spread the Joy!
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See. Do & Be More
Syl & Pauli
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