A boutique hotel in Florence offers a tantalizing taste of Tuscany. From medieval candle-lit chapels to marble basilicas and world-class art museums overflowing with paintings and sculptures by Michelangelo, Donatello, Botticelli etc, Florence is an open air museum of grandiose artworks and architectural masterpieces. Tuscan cuisine is food for the soul, and Italy’s fashion industry was born and bred here, too. Once the centre of medieval European trade and finance, and home to one of the wealthiest noble families that ever lived, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and still exerts a huge influence in the fields of art and culture today.
Overnighting in a boutique hotel in Florence is the best way to soak in the city’s rich artistic and architectural heritage. The city is a treasure chest contained in ancient medieval walls that safeguard impressive works of art and architecture. Its ancient buildings and monuments tell stories of art, history and culture since its establishment by Julius Caeser in 59 BC through to its Golden Age around 1000 AD when construction on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte started, and till the present day. Its streets today abuzz with tourists are the same ones through which Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri, Petrarch and many other of the most illustrious minds of all time threaded their way. The city’s cathedral, or Duomo, and the Palazzo Vecchio dominate Florence’s skyline. One of the finest art museums in the world, the Uffizi Gallery, is located at the corner of the Piazza della Signoria, which has been the centre of Florence’s civil life and government for centuries. This is also where Michelangelo’s David originally stood in 1504, though it has since been moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia, another must see while staying at a boutique hotel in Florence. The city also boasts “green architecture” in the form of the grand Boboli gardens, decorated with sculptures and hosting centuries-old oaks trees. Its creation and development spans an impressive 400 years and it has inspired many other European Royal gardens, in particular, Versailles. But if you can only visit one place in Florence, it has to be the Piazzale Michelangelo which boasts stunning views of the city. A charming walking trail leads up to a large church, San Miniato, at the top of the mountain. Pack a picnic to enjoy the sunset over Florence, when the city is bathed in a palette of soft pinks, orange and fiery amber. There is simply no better way to enjoy a passeggiata, aperitivo and la dolca vita all in one go. Florence is also a fabulous starting point for a tour of the rest of the Tuscan region. There are countless fantastic day trips to Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo and Siena or wine tours in Chianti to choose from.
Shopping in the capital of Tuscany has been stylish ever since homegrown designers like Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo opened haut-couture boutiques in Florence in the 1920s. A stay at a boutique hotel in Florence naturally calls for shopping till you drop. In the late Middle Ages, the gold florin financed the development of industry across Europe, from Britain to Hungary, as well as English kings and the papacy. Furthermore, Florence has been a merchant city attracting artisans for centuries. From high-end jewelry stores that line the Ponte Vecchio and world-famous designer labels such as Gucci, Valentino, Armani and Prada, Florence is a magnet for boutique shoppers looking for a high-quality piece. The Via Tornabuoni, Via del Parione and the Via Maggio are also superb shopping streets. And since shopping is thirsty and hungry work, you can make your way to the narrow, medieval back streets of the Santa Croce area where you can relish delicious Tuscan delicacies in the best restaurants in the city. Florence boasts so many elegant boutique hotels that the choices are truly endless.
A visit to the stunning countryside of Chianti is a great way to escape the maddening crowds of Florence. One of Italy’s prime wine regions, Chianti is an invaluable treasure for wine connoisseurs interested in exploring Tuscany’s fine gastronomy. In Tuscany, the focus is on quality produce sourced locally, seasonally and sustainably, and the taste of Tuscany is sure to whet your appetite. This is also the case in the capital of Tuscany. Florence, surrounded by wine-rich hills, is a gourmet paradise where eating and drinking is concerned and Florentines are enormously proud of their rich culinary tradition. Intensely fresh flavors from a few choice ingredients, Florentine meals are prepared with passion and enjoyed with pleasure at leisure. Located in the city center just a stone’s throw from the Uffizi Gallery, the stunning Hotel Brunelleschi boasts a gourmet restaurant housed in an old Byzantine tower where you can enjoy fine dining with views over Florentine rooftops. End off your hearty meal and a day full of Florentine sight-seeing and shopping with some cantuccini, or almond biscuits, dipped in a glass of dessert wine or alongside a caffè ristretto.