When we opened the curtains of our window, we saw the Florence skyline across the Arno River and the magnificent bridges that span it. (See picture.) This pleasant hotel is only a few blocks from the famed Ponte Vecchio -- and at night you can see glowing reflections of the the lights of the city shimmering on the water. The rooms are not as luxurious as some others in Florence, but you can't argue with the location, nor with the courtesy and service of the staff. Fine restaurants line the street in front of the hotel and you can turn in almost any direction and walk in the shadows of Michelangelo and da Vinci. The only problem with the beauty of Florence is that everyone in the world is aware of it and the crowds can be daunting. Be aware: No one really "lives" in Florence, except tourists -- (Even the Medici family has long since left). This may well give you the impression of visiting a theme park, rather than a charming town. The Lungarno is helpful in that regard, because you can walk anywhere and navigate yourself to palaces, museums, churches -- between the crowds or sometimes on top of them. Here are some survival tips: Eat early and make reservations. Because of the general tourist chaos, restaurants will simply close the doors when they are full, whether you have a reservation or not. That's not because the owners are impolite, it is because so many people cancel or change their minds, that the proprietors don't like to turn customers away when seats are empty (which they seldom are.) Make sure you get a Lungarno room with a view of the river and city. They are quiet, if somewhat spartan. Also opening and closing times of the restaurants are capricious. Make sure the restaurant of your dreams is not closed on an odd Wednesday. Try to go "off-season," which now seems to extend only a few weeks in the middle of the winter. Beware, this is not the place for a "relaxed stay," but yes, it is an incomparable attraction. One further tip for the food conscious: The famous Florentine steak is served rare -- not rare as in a little pink, rare as in barely cooked. If this is what you want, fine, but if it is not, you will need some delicate diplomacy to coax the owner into allowing your steak just a little more "fire." Just keep in mind, the food here is sublime and there are a hundred other more user friendly options. Also, try your best in the fall to get the "fresh picked" olive oil. It is greenish and thick and is carefully doled out to customers who have an eye for delicious and fresh picked ingredients. Nothing quite like it exists in the United States.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Your charming home away from home, a stone throw away from Ponte Vecchio. Florence and Tuscan hospitality are experienced at its finest in this splendid setting offering stunning views on the master works of the Renaissance.The exclusive and stylish Hotel Lungarno was designed by the Florentine architect Michele Bönan and invites you to spend magical days surrounded by luxury, glamorous art and culture. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lungarno Hotel Florence