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Florence Travel Guides

We're a holiday rental company and passionate about off the beaten path travel. These are our insider tips for the destinations where we offer holiday accommodation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!!

Best Lunch Spots in Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Travel Tips for Florence
Best Lunch Spots in Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Spending endless days exploring Florence’s best attractions is a rewarding and soul-reviving experience. The sheer number of architectural gems, priceless art works and enticing boutiques make this one of Italy’s most popular holiday destinations, any time of year. What visitors soon discover is that Florence is indeed a pedestrian paradise; the historic city centre is compact and easy to navigate, and the nearby attractions easily reached on foot. If you’re looking for a central base from which to explore this most amazing city, then consider booking your holiday rental apartment in Santa Maria Novella, the trendiest of all central hubs. From here, not only will you have the best of Florence’s charms at your doorstep, but you’ll also not need to spend hours looking for the best lunch spots in town. They’re all right here! Replenish your energy and revitalise your taste buds while out discovering Florence. Enjoy an Italian-style leisurely long lunch, grab a mouth-watering panino and join young locals on the shores of the Arno River or self-cater for a memorable Italian meal in your very own home. Whatever you choose to do, be assured that your lunches out in Florence will be anything but ordinary. Buon appetito! Cantinetta dei Verrazzano, ...

Interesting Boutiques in the Duomo area, Florence

Travel Tips for Area: Duomo
Interesting Boutiques in the Duomo area, Florence

Florence, the most romantic shopping destination in Italy, is the kind of place that can turn a normally apathetic shopper, into an over-the-top-shopaholic Patsy in just a couple of hours. But it’s not all hell for leather in Florence; indeed there are a few interesting boutiques which deserve a closer (and calmer) look. Book your next vacation rental near the Duomo in Florence and discover the true charms of Florentine artisans. Il Papiro, Piazza Duomo 24 Florence was the birthplace of some of Italy’s best known writers and poets, so it is not surprising that it is now home to Il Papiro, a shop we can only describe as a stationery art gallery. This Florentine paper merchant has been operating for four decades, and adopts old-fashioned binding, carving and manufacturing techniques. Of special interest here are leather travel journals which are bound using a technique last see in the 16th Century. One of a kind wax seals can be personalized with your initials, and a myriad of glass pens and quill sets will keep you enchanted for hours. From greeting cards, to stationary sets and unique wrapping papers, Il Papiro is the store to visit if you wish to step back into Florentine ...

The Perfect Weekend for Couples in Florence

Travel Tips for Florence
The Perfect Weekend for Couples in Florence

My husband and I spent the last two days of our honeymoon in Florence. It’s such a short time to explore a world-class city, yet I knew I couldn’t face a frantic rush from museum to museum after our quiet week in the small Tuscan town of Volterra. “Let’s see the cathedral,” I said. “And then let’s just…explore.”Without the pressure to cram all of Florence’s cultural experiences into a weekend, we were able to simply walk around and get a feel (but mostly a taste) for the city. We came across a street market and sampled Parmesan cheese. We found Florence’s only kosher vegetarian restaurant and had falafels with beer for lunch. We drank house wine that tasted like should have cost more and ate pizzas that could have fed an entire family. We sipped steaming hot espressos and licked melty gelato. “I’m married now,” I said to my new husband as I finished the cone. “So I figure I can let myself go.”Art is everywhere in Florence. We didn’t go to the famous Uffizi Gallery, but we did wander through the Piazza della Signoria, an open-air museum full of marble sculptures. It was buzzing with eager tourists, so we only stayed ...

Getting to Florence from the Airports

Travel Tips for Getting Around Florence
Getting to Florence from the Airports

Florence is serviced by two airports; its own Florence Airport and Pisa International Airport. Although the latter is located a good 80 kilometres from the centre of Florence, it is becoming an increasingly popular choice for travellers to the city as it is used by many budget airlines including Vueling, Easyjet, Wizz and Ryanair. On the other hand, Florence airport is serviced by the bigger airlines such as KLM, BA and, of course, Alitalia. Both airports are connected to central Florence (S. M. Novella train station) by bus. From Pisa Airport, the Terravision (www.terravision.eu) transfer bus leaves from the Elenco Corse outside the arrivals hall. The full journey takes 70 minutes and costs 10€ one-way (16€, return) for adults. Buses run from 8.40am to 12.20am but the bad news is that there are long gaps between services. Whilst these have been designed to coincide with flight arrivals, flight delays may cause you to miss your connection, so brace yourself for a wait before you finally arrive at your holiday apartment. Arriving at your accommodation from Florence Airport is a lot quicker. The Volain bus (operated by the local company ATAF, www.ataf.net) departs every half hour and the journey takes 15 minutes. Tickets ...

Buying leather inside Santa Croce, Florence

Travel Tips for Area: Santa Croce
Buying leather inside Santa Croce, Florence

The Scuola di Cuoio (Leather school) is situated inside Santa Croce, the historic church where Michelangelo is buried together with many other notable Florentines. The school teaches the craft of manufacturing by hand, leather clothes and accessories including wallets and purses, which are subsequently sold to the public. The leather goods sold by the school are usually of a very high quality but are on offer for much lower prices than similar named brands in chic Florentine shops. When you buy an item from the Scuola di Cuoio there is also a chance to tour the workshop. If you are looking for truly top quality leather items especially large items such as a leather coat, then the Scuola di Cuoio is the place to go first. Buying leather in Santa Croce is not like buying a cheap coat in a leather market but the prices are much more reasonable than you would expect for the quality of the leather and the design. If you are renting an apartment in Florence for a while, it is possible to commission Scuola di Cuoio to custom a leather coat to fit you precisely. The thrill of trying on a beautifully soft, tailor-made, leather jacket ...

A history of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Travel Tips for Area: Ponte Vecchio, Featured
A history of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Old Bridge, better known as the Ponte Vecchio, is a world renowned monument that draws thousands of people to Florence every year. In a way, the history of the Ponte Vecchio marks the progress of Italy and Florence from the Middle Ages.The first bridge over the Arno River was probably built by the Romans in stone and wood and is mentioned in a document that dates from 996. A little over one hundred years later the bridge was swept away in a flood. It was rebuilt in stone but two hundred or more years later it was destroyed by another flood, save for its two central piers. Consequently, the bridge was rebuilt again to a design by Taddeo Gaddi. The Ponte Vecchio has three segmented arches with the main arch having a span of 30 metres; the arches either side have spans of 27 metres. The bridge itself has always been a place to do business with shops and merchants buying and selling goods. It is reckoned that the word bankruptcy originated from the trade that was carried out on the bridge. If a merchant ran out of money and was seriously in debt, the table from where he sold his ...

Best restaurants in Santo Spirito, Florence

Travel Tips for Area: Santo Spirito
Best restaurants in Santo Spirito, Florence

There are many excellent restaurants in the Santo Spirito district of Florence and below is a select list of what is generally considered to be the finest: Caffè Pitti overlooks the stunning Piazza Pitti and is a mix of a restaurant, a tea room, a coffee-shop, and a bar. The interior décor is phenomenally elegant and contains fabulous furniture, magnificent mirrors and loads of fascinating ornaments. Astrology is a key element of the restaurant and there are Tarot card readings and various astrologers to entertain diners on Wednesdays; on Friday and Saturday nights there is good live music. The food at Caffè Pitti includes a mix of pasta dishes and a variety of grilled meats, complemented by antipasti and some outstanding desserts. Tratorria Omero is on Via Pian dei Giullari and offers two dining areas and superb Tuscan cuisine that is complemented by the freshest of ingredients. In this delightful restaurant, there is a wonderful choice of oils, vegetables and meats that is savoured whilst enjoying magical views. To wash down the fabulous food, the wine cellar stores some excellent local wines offering a choice of two hundred labels. Osteria Santo Spirito is located at Piazza Santo Spirito 16r and the restaurant welcomes ...

Day trips from Florence

Travel Tips for Getting Around Florence
Day trips from Florence

There is a wonderful choice of day trips that can be taken during your Florence holiday, whether travelling by car or by public transport. Here is an un-exhaustive list of day trips you can easily take from Florence: Castello Di Verrazzano - For example, Castello di Verrazzano is about an hour’s drive from Florence through delightful scenery. The first sight of the castello is its silhouette which rises up above the horizon and welcomes you to one of Tuscany’s most charming and traditional wineries, where you can taste the wine and take a tour. Lucca - The walled city of Lucca which is protected on three sides by mountains and original defensive walls. In the heart of the town is a Roman racetrack that is now the central market square where you will find the town’s magnificent cathedral. Lucca is a beautiful place to visit and the Palazzo Ducale is definitely worth a tour as it is rumoured that Napoleon Bonaparte stayed there. During your visit to Lucca, you could also visit one or two of the local grand villas which were once home to some of the region’s most noble families. Siena - Located on a hill to the south of Florence ...

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We're a holiday rental company and passionate about off the beaten path travel. These are our insider tips for the destinations where we offer holiday accommodation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!!

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