I admit it. I’m still a newbie when it comes to international traveling. I know that there are certain cities that I want to see because generally within the capital cities are sights that I want to visit. Other than the main cities, I don’t know much about the other large cities – but I am learning.
Blogger Hubby and I visited Florence, Italy after visiting Rome. Rome, I knew about. I mean, they have the Coloseum, The Forum, Trevi Fountain (I saw 3 Coins in a Fountain too many times when I was a kid), the Borghese, the Vatican, the Appian Way and so much more. All I knew of Florence is that it had the Duomo and the David. I was truly ignorant but eager to learn.
Blogger Hubby booked us a room at the Hotel Alessandra. This was before I got into the points hobby so we were trying to do things on a budget but still have a nice time. Trip Advisor contributors had given this hotel great reviews so we were willing to give it a try.
We took the Trenitalia train from Termini in Rome to Firenze (Florence) Santa Maria Novella and then a taxi to the hotel. We could have walked but were advised to take a cab our first time going to the hotel. We arrived at the address and saw a small sign outside indicating that the hotel was here. We walked inside and up one flight of stairs where we found the smallest elevator. It would take the two of us and no luggage or one of us and luggage. We went up one flight of stairs to the hotel. We were warmly greeted and then shown to our room. The hotel is somewhat dated as fas as the furnishings go but it is clean, warm and welcoming. They also have a/c in your room but you do need to go to the desk and ask them to turn it on for you. We even had a television in our large room – a first on our trip. There was a large family room where you find books to borrow, a computer to use and meet and talk with other travelers.
Did I tell you about one of the best things about this hotel? Their breakfast buffet. Amazing, huge and delicious. And it was so elegantly displayed. The next best thing about this hotel was its location – just off the main street that leads to the Ponte Vecchio which was only a few blocks away. There was vibrancy in this area yet the block where the hotel was located was somewhat quiet and noise was not a problem at all. Getting to where I wanted to go from the hotel was very easy.
The staff at the hotel made sure that any need or desire of ours was met. They arranged cooking lessons for us, a walking tour of Florence, tickets to Uffizi and The Accademia. The staff really sets this hotel apart from all others that I have been to – they are that great! Here is a picture of Blogger Hubby making gnocchio.
Now back to Florence. Once we checked into our hotel, we walked. We walked to Pitti Palace and then a L O N G walk to Piazzale Michangelo where all of Florence was laid out in front of us like a beautiful mosaic. The colors, the architecture and the history – it was just amazing. Our kids couldn’t believe that we walked – they took the bus so I had bragging rights for once.
Walking throughout Florence we visited the Duomo and the nearby Baptistery with the famous bronze doors with its Gates of Paradise. I learned about the Medici family particularly while on at Walking Tour Around Florence. I saw the original David at the Accademia. I was overwhelmed at seeing these works of art that were created centuries before; works that I had seen only in photographs in books. History was coming alive before my very eyes.
In other cities that we had visited, we rode on public transportation and had purchased transit cards. Here there was no need. We walked to the market area where we tasted and purchased aged balsamic vinegar; shawls for our daughter and daughters-in-law, leather gloves where I was fitted for the pair I chose and feel like butter; and a leather purse. We would stroll finding the gelato stores, the English bookstore and sample the homemade crepes with nutella sold on the streets.
Florence will always hold a special place for me and when I return, and I will, I’m be sure to stay again at the Hotel Alessandra. I hope when you travel to Florence, you’ll consider staying there as well – it is worth it.