Category Archives: Italy

A Toast to the Views

2016c-view-from-palazzo-magnani-feroniPalazzo Magnani Feroni
Borgo San Frediano, 5
50124 Firenze (FI), Italy

+39 055 2399544
info@florencepalace.it
www.florencepalace.it

As we rest in our richly frescoed room of the Palazzo Magnani Feroni, I study its long history. Oh, the stories these walls could tell us of this elegant residence, a story which began in the 15th century when it was constructed by the Serragli Family. A century later, the palace was divided into two parts which were later reconnected in 1770 when purchased by the extremely wealthy Marquis Ubaldo Feroni. The Feroni renovations included the widening and refurbishment of the courtyard and of the principal stairwell. The ground floor and first-floor apartments underwent extensive redecoration. The spacious areas of the interior of the ground floor were designed to be used as stables, carriageway and storage area for the coaches. In 1821, the Feroni heirs sold the property to the Magnani, a prestigious family who owned important silk looms and paper mills.

Palazzo Magnani Feroni has remained in the same family for over two centuries and in recent years the decision was made to transform their private residence into a luxury residence where today’s guests could experience an aristocratic slice of life in a Renaissance palace. To maintain the palace’s original style, great care was taken to preserve its architectural features while incorporating 21st century comforts. The family’s heritage is evident in the furnishings, tapestries, and portraits on display. The twelve suites are on the three floors of the palace. The staff can arrange a private dinner in your room or on the terrace, a service we took advantage of on our first night, when we enjoyed a simple feast in the privacy of our suite. The sumptuous salon with its magnificent chandelier centered over a banquet table serves as the breakfast room, where offerings are fit for a prince.

But the treasures do not end here. They are simply magnified from the palace’s rooftop terrace where the panoramic views of Florence could easily make you sing for joy in a voice that only you can hear. Hold your wine glass up to a sunset view and drink in the golden light of this Tuscan city.

Read more about my books featuring other lovely hotels and restaurants:

three-italy-book-covers_modificato-1

Italian Wanderlust

ITALY – the Beauty and the Feast

and Rooms with a View.

More about my other books.

********************************************************************************
All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

********************************************************************************

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

2016c-hotel-pierre-webHotel Pierre
Via De’Lamberti 5
50123 – Firenze

Tel.+39 055 216218
www.hotel-pierre-florence.com
pierre@remarhotels.com

Tucked away on a quiet street off the main pedestrian thoroughfare of Florence is a stately palazzo converted into a hotel several decades ago. By keeping our approach to the sidewalk, we almost missed the simple yet elegant architecture and decor of its facade which welcomes guests to its warm hospitality. But the real selling point is Location, Location, Location. Within a five-minute walk of Hotel Pierre are the key sights of Florence – the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, the Porcellino Market, making it easy to come back and forth to the comfort of your room and rest between visits.

The breakfast room is bright, its main colors of melon and dove gray seem to compliment and reflect the buildings that are visible outside its windows. One is the beautifully etched building across the street embellished in an architectural decoration technique known as sgraffiti, in which the design is scratched into the colored surface, exposing the white plaster beneath. The colors of this particular structure are a mauve-brown and white, a visually pleasing effect.

But what isn’t visually pleasing about this city? And the pleasure is in the wandering with no purpose but to enjoy its treasures. At some point, though, it is necessary for the visitor to rest from his travels, thoughts of art and cuisine stilled and bone-weary, drop into a dreamless sleep. Hotel Pierre provides each room with quiet comfort, whether for a quick siesta or a full night of restorative sleep.

And in the early morning, it is tempting to slip away from your hotel to share the deserted streets and squares with the pigeons. Hotel Pierre offers you its immediate neighborhood, beckoning you to savor its delights at leisure. Then simply wander back to your room and ready yourself for their generous breakfast buffet. You will be glad you did.

Read more about my books featuring other lovely hotels and restaurants:

three-italy-book-covers_modificato-1

Italian Wanderlust

ITALY – the Beauty and the Feast

and Rooms with a View.

More about my other books.

********************************************************************************
All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

********************************************************************************

Towering Views

2016c-view-from-antica-torre-di-tornabuoni-1-web

Original watercolor painting of the view from Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1

Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni n.1

via Tornabuoni n.1
50122 Firenze
Tel: +39 055 2658161
info@tornabuoni1.com
www.tornabuoni1.com

The Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 is celebrating its 15th year since opening in 2001 as one of the first residenze d’epoca or historic residences/inns of Florence. Nestled among the many old palace residences of the Strozzi neighborhood, it has been beautifully restored, occupying the fourth and fifth floors of a medieval tower with incomparable views of every landmark of the city. I believe that the Tower succeeds in more than marking an anniversary, it celebrates a way of life reminiscent of a time when life was slower-paced, more graceful, more soul-satisfying. One only has to look up from their tables in the intimate breakfast room or from one of its terraces, to know how privileged they are to be a guest in one of its twelve rooms, one of them a luxury suite.

This 13th-century palazzo was owned by the Gianfigliazzi family until the end of the 18th century. Hospitality is not new to the old tower, as it housed the Pensione Piccioli in the 20th century, a small inn that was to become a favorite stop for many famous aristocrats, writers, and artists. That atmosphere of warmth still prevails and the clientele, not surprisingly, are not merely tourists in Florence, but travelers who appreciate the elegant and sophisticated charm of its interior while savoring the care and thoughtfulness of an attentive staff.

My husband and I are certainly made to feel special as we sit quietly on our private terrace and gaze at the Arno, the Santa Trinità belltower, and to our right the dominating Duomo. As if this were not enough to satisfy us, in the evening we shift to the Torre’s terrace for an aperitif and a sweeping view that includes the Palazzo Vecchio, the Santa Trinità Bridge, the domes of Santo Spirito and San Frediano, and a patchwork of terracotta rooftops. There are other terraces and other views and oh, how spoiled we feel!

Read more about my books featuring other lovely hotels and restaurants:

three-italy-book-covers_modificato-1

Italian Wanderlust

ITALY – the Beauty and the Feast

and Rooms with a View.

More about my other books.

********************************************************************************
All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

********************************************************************************

ITALY – the Beauty and the Feast

Italy - The Beauty and the Feast

To my friends and readers who love Italy as I do, I announce with great pleasure the publication of my newest book “ITALY – The Beauty and the Feast” along with a free shipping offer from Blurb.

“Has Italy captured your heart and your imagination? In this travel journal, Ginda Simpson captures the essence of the country, not through the usual highlights of a whirlwind tour of the peninsula, but through leisurely travels to the cities and countryside, often off the beaten path and during the quieter seasons. Festivals that ignite the imagination, banquets of tables laden with Italy’s abundant harvest, shepherds and farmers toiling their land, opera divas that sing in a way that almost breaks one heart – these are the experiences that inspired the title: Italy – the Beauty and the Feast. Ginda invites you to travel along with her. For your own planning purposes, she includes contact information for the various hotels, restaurants, and festivals mentioned in her stories. This is the sequel to her first collection of travel stories to be found in the book entitled: Italian Wanderlust.”

 

To order you copy today and get free shipping, click here:

http://www.blurb.com/b/6482161-italy-the-beauty-and-the-feast

The Siren’s Lure to Sorrento

2015c - Grand Hotel La Favorita

La Favorita Terrace – Original Watercolor – copyright Ginda Simpson

 

 

 

 

Grand Hotel La Favorita
Via Tasso angolo Piazza Vittorio Veneto
80067 Sorrento (Naples) Italy
39-081-878-2031
http://www.hotellafavorita.com
info@hotellafavorita.com

 

Ristorante Bellavista aCould it be the ancient Siren’s song that eternally lures travellers to Sorrento or simply the sheer beauty of sea and sky that enchants us still? Popular for its wines and natural beauty, its sunlight and mild climate, its citrus groves and the friendly hospitality of the people, Sorrento has always enchanted – from the ancient Romans to the Romantic writers and poets of the 19th century to today’s tourists from all points of the globe.

In answer to the growing demand for luxury accommodations for these new travelers, many exquisite hotels were constructed with lofty views of the sea, surrounded by lush gardens, where lemon groves scented the salty air. We are staying at the Grand Hotel La Favorita, relatively new to the long list of prestigious hotels in Sorrento. It is an elegant historical building purchased and renovated into a first-class hotel not too many years ago. We invite friends to join us for drinks on its terrace, an oasis of tranquillity where majolica covered columns support a pergola of luscious greenery and citrus trees. Reminiscent of the grounds of the ancient Roman villas of the area, mosaic-covered walls and fountains adorn the gardens. Later, we siesta in our room, the curtains open to our balcony and the trickling music of the fountain in the garden below. Do I doze or just envision mermaids, sailors, rocky cliffs, and trees laden with bright yellow lemons? Dream or reality? It makes no difference.

We choose to go no farther than La Favorita’s Bellavista Restaurant on its upper terrace, where a panoramic view of the sea awaits us. Call me old-fashioned, but the soft music – old Italian favorites – is like a caress to our spirits, and the view of distant cliffs with their lights glimmering like gemstones is utter romance. The cuisine is purely Mediterranean and it’s not easy to choose from its offerings, especially those from the sea. Luigi, our Maitre D’, points us in the right direction when he suggests we try the Nido di Spaghetti, a nest of pasta in a pesto and clam sauce. For me, he has Chef Marco prepare Mezzi Paccheri with zucchini, shrimp and cherry tomatoes. For seconds we have fresh Grilled Tuna with Balsamic on a bed of arugula with fresh orange slices and Sea Bream in an olive oil and caper sauce. I won’t even confess to the dessert that followed. I’ll think about that tomorrow…

Hotel (9)

Read more about my books featuring this and other lovely restaurants and hotels, Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

More about my other books.

********************************************************************************
All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

********************************************************************************

 

Frances’ Lodge – A Tuscan Treasure

2006c View from the garden - Frances Lodge 2

Frances’ Lodge Relais
Str. Di Valdipugna, 2
53100 Siena
0577-281-061
booking@franceslodge.it
http://www.franceslodge.it

We meander today throughout the countryside of Tuscany, a rich farmland of olive groves, wheat fields and sunny vineyards. The leaves of timeless olive trees glint silver in the shimmering light, their gnarled trunks casting deep purple shadows on the sun-baked earth. Row after row of verdant vines bursting with the sweet promise of wine, march across the gentle hills. This region of Italy is known for its excellent wines. It is a landscape of dreams, laden with blessings, exquisite, nourishing. We are headed towards a Tuscan farmhouse, now a Bed & Breakfast, on the outskirts of Siena.

Every house has a history, every family a story. And so it is with this old farmhouse. There are many good reasons to stay with Franco and Franca (hence the name, Frances’ Lodge). Our accommodations in the portion of the building that once housed the rabbits and pigeons are quite comfortable. As a matter of fact, all the rooms once provided shelter for farm animals. Now converted into living space for guests, the décor of each of the rooms is tasteful, whimsical, inviting – delightful reflections of Franca’s artistic talents. Indeed, our hostess says, “Nothing bothers me more than to see something unappealing to the eye. Why should anything be unattractive when it could be beautiful?”

“So tell me, Franca, your story and the story of the house,” I ask. “That story begins with the villa, then,” she commences. “It has been in Franco’s family for three hundred years. Built in 1729 as a casa padronale, it was used as a summer residence for the Pippi family. The family would relocate from the city of Siena to their country estate during the growing season, a move that enabled them to oversee the various harvests, beginning with the early summer crops of fruit and wheat, followed by the autumn grape harvest and lastly the picking of the olives. They would arrive with a retinue of seven servants,” Franca lets out a sign of envy and longing. “It was a time for the family to enjoy the wholesome freshness of the country air. Going to one’s summer villa was known as “villeggiatura,” a term still used today when referring to a summer holiday.”

Locals often referred to Villa Pippo as “La Cappella,” a name derived from a small shrine or chapel that once existed on the property. It is difficult to date the adjacent farm building because structures of lesser importance were seldom dated. However, records from around 1820 show that an L-shaped structure existed as a casa colonica for the contadino family who worked the land. Besides functioning as a home for the peasant farmer, it housed the granaio, the granaries in the upper story and animal stalls below (cows, mules, chickens, rabbits and pigeons). To house the lemon trees during the winter months, the lovely limonaia with its huge arched windows was added in 1853. This section filled in the L-shape creating the rectangular building we see today.

Farm activities ceased after the war and the villa and farm buildings were all but abandoned except for the casa colonica where the farmer remained to look after the land, until his death in 1984. His wife, Pierina stayed on in the house she had come to as a bride in 1945. She remained another twenty years and not a day went by that she didn’t wrap her black shawl around her shoulders and walk to the cemetery of S. Regina to visit and place fresh flowers on her husband’s grave.

Franco and his Florentine wife decided to move to the family estate after twenty years of working in Florence and living in rented apartments. It was time to search for a home with a little plot of earth but the only affordable properties involved traveling quite a distance from Florence. So why not return to the land that belonged to his family? His parents live in the villa, but the farmhouse, abandoned for decades and in disrepair fired up their hearts and their imaginations. So they set to the task of restoration. Today it is their cherished home and a lovely B&B.

2005c Frances' LodgeI watch Franco who, with a warm smile and friendly handshake, wins over his guests the minute they arrive, immediately making them feel at home. He graciously sees to their comfort, while generously sharing his knowledge of and love for his native city. “And,” he invites each of us, “enjoy a last swim on this unseasonably warm afternooon.” Where else can one dip into a swimming pool and gaze at a panoramic view of Siena spread out before them like a master’s painting; its colors ever-changing with that special Tuscan light? Before leaving for the city, Mike and I stroll in the garden outside the limonaia. The glossy leaves of a magnolia tree glint in the sun and a rose, the color of coral, catches my eye. Beyond the garden walls, where wisteria and jasmine climb with abandon, another spectacular view greets me. I close my eyes to see more clearly and it’s easy to imagine the Pippi family here in villeggiatura. How did they ever manage to pack up their trunks at the end of the season and move back to the city? How do Franco and Franca get any of their guests to leave?

Read more about my books featuring this and other lovely restaurants and hotels, Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

More about my books.

********************************************************************************
All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

********************************************************************************

Florence – A Terrace with a View

2014c - Plaza Hotel Lucchesi

Original Watercolor by Ginda Simpson View from Plaza Hotel Lucchesi

Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38
50122 Florence
39 055 26236
http://www.hotelplazalucchesi.it
lucchesi@toflorence.it

In a city where terrace views are astounding, the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi offers a panorama that simply takes one’s breath away. Imagine lounging poolside on a terrace with a vista that includes the exquisite Duomo, the stately tower of Palazzo Signoria among other turrets and domes, the sacred structure of Santa Croce, and the elegant copper cupola of the Jewish Synagogue!

What’s more, the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi offers a proud history, beginning in 1860 as an inn when Pensione Lucchesi was named after its founders. It was during this period that Florence was made the capital of the newly formed Italian Republic. From 1865 until 1871, the city tore down their medieval walls and grew to be an urban center of great importance. The inn attracted many renowned guests, artists and writers, and of particular note, the Italian King Umberto I.

In 1952, it became the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi, following the annexation of the adjacent building and the addition of two floors. Despite two world wars and the devastating flood of 1966, the hotel has not only survived, but also thrived. Under new management, it is undergoing a thorough renovation, adding back some lost architectural features, placing it among the most beautiful hotels in the city, with all the amenities of the 21st century. Its position along the Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia has always been a favorable one, even more so today, offering a quiet respite from the bustle of the city center, yet within easy walking distance of all the sites.

I may not be a notable guest, but I do feel privileged to be a guest at the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi, a place where the preservation of history and modern innovation are so seamlessly stitched together. Our room is comfortably furnished, in a color palette of white, sandy beige and taupe, providing a very restful ambiance – that is if one can sleep with such an up-close view of Santa Croce from one’s private balcony!

View-Lucchesi3c (21) copia

Read more about other lovely hotels and restaurants in Italy,  Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

More about my other books.

********************************************************************************
All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

********************************************************************************