Tag 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The View from Hotel Bernini Palace – Florence

The view from Hotel Bernini Palace - Florence original watercolor - copyright Ginda Simpson

The view from Hotel Bernini Palace – Florence                                             original watercolor – copyright Ginda Simpson

Hotel Bernini Palace
(Piazza della Signoria)
50122 Florence
39-055-288-621
http://www.duetorrihotels.com
info.hotelbernini@duetorrihotels.com

Hotel Bernini Palace occupies a 15th century classic Florentine palazzo, which originally belonged to the Pera family, presumed ancestors of the Peruzzi family, powerful Florentine financiers.  According to old records, in the mid-19th century, it was already a hotel, named Albergo dello Scudo, for the stables it provided below for both horses and carriages. For five years, between 1865 and 1870, the building became the Hotel Columbia Parlamento, hosting Senators and Members of the House when Florence was capital of the young Kingdom of Italy.

Over the years, the name of the hotel has changed several times, and the building, of course, has been restored, undergoing renovations still today, ushering in all the comforts and conveniences that one would expect from a renowned hotel, while preserving the architectural elements that make it so unique.  Throughout the hotel, lobbies, corridors and rooms are graced with period antique furnishings.  Its best feature, without a doubt, is its proximity to ALL of the key sites of this Renaissance city.  Located behind the Signoria, the hotel is within walking distance of the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Galleries, the Duomo and Baptistry, Santa Croce and a few steps farther bring you to the Accademia and San Lorenzo markets.

Our room on the fifth floor offers the ultimate in the pleasure of travel.  Small and intimate, elegantly furnished in antiques, the room is restful.  Its shutters, when opened, offer an unobstructed view of the Dome of the Cathedral, the spire of the Badia Fiorentina, and the tower of the Bargello – a view to be savored in shifting lights throughout the day and early evening, when it eventually is cloaked in a blue velvet mantle, illuminated by street lights.  Night and day, the clamor of San Firenze Square reminds us that this city is very much alive with the activities that fuel this 21st century, a hubbub that is blessedly erased with sound-proof windows, leaving our romantic hearts to imagine the city of Dante, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi.

An ample breakfast buffet is served in a lovely dining room with frescoed ceilings and parquet wood flooring, known as the Sala del Parlamento, so named for the paintings uncovered during the hall’s restoration – portraits of the protagonists of Italy’s Risorgimento, the movement that led to the unification of Italy.   Tables are beautifully set, inviting one to linger over a cappuccino before beginning the business of business or of sightseeing.  For guests, who wish to dine at home, La Chiostrina offers light lunches or more substantial dining in an enclosed courtyard setting, minimally decorated, a restraint that is welcomed after feasting one eyes on the abundant visual treasures of the city.  A good Chianti Classico paired well with our lunch of ravioli alla zucca and pappardelle con straccetti di vitello e pecorino.  Duck breast with a caramelized orange sauce was an excellent choice for our main entrée, leaving just enough room for a shared ice cream made with vin santo.  Oh the pleasures of table in Florence!  And what a pleasure it is to dine “in” and simply take the elevator upstairs, close the curtains and take a siesta.  A dream within a dream!

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.

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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.

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A Visit to the Chianti Countryside

original watercolor painting copyright Ginda Simpson

Relais Fattoria Vignale – original watercolor painting – copyright Ginda Simpson

Relais Fattoria Vignale
Via Pianigiani, 9
53017 Radda in Chianti
39-0577-738-300
http://www.vignale.it
vignale@vignale.it

Located in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine region, Relais Vignale is linked to this famed wine both geographically and historically.  The estate dates back to the 18th century when it was already known for its very successful vineyards. It became the legal seat of the Consortium Vino Chianti Classico in 1924 when the Vignale’s successor, Baldassarre Pianigiani, created the Gallo Nero.

Today, its unpretentious façade in the center of Radda may make it seem rather ordinary in this picturesque town, but immediately upon entering, I was awed by its refined country elegance.  Several lounges, tastefully and comfortably furnished, with frescoed ceilings, softly painted murals and grand stone fireplaces invite lingering anytime of the year, but most especially, I imagine, in the autumn when the evening air begins to chill.

In July, I was drawn outdoors and what magnificent views awaited me in the gardens and from the wisteria and jasmine-covered terrace!  A panorama of gentle hills and terraced land graced with olive trees and vineyards was the perfect backdrop for a lunch or dinner at the Ristorante Vignale.. The rose garden framed in lavender was like a painting come to life.  A small, gated patio outside our suite was delightful with its plantings of rosemary, sage, lavender, climbing jasmine and an apricot tree.  Inside, a lovely room decorated in shades of beige, apricot and terracotta offered yet another haven of relaxation

For dining on our second evening, we took advantage of the hotel’s transport service to their Ristorante S. Donato in Perano.  Chef Augusto Giusti offers innovative interpretations of classic Tuscan meat and pasta specialties, with a particular emphasis on vegetarian dishes.  Each dish was prepared and presented with attention to details that made them pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate. 

The breakfast buffet, served in the scented shade of their vine-covered terrace, is generous and varied, certainly enough to satisfy the appetites of visitors setting out to explore the Chianti countryside.  Or…one could just stay here and savor the beauty and relaxation of this special inn.

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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.

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Trattoria da Què Ganzi – a Florentine must!

Trattoria daQuè Ganzi

                   Trattoria daQuè Ganzi

Trattoria Osteria da Què Ganzi
Via Ghibellina 70r
Florence
055-226-0010
http://www.daqueiganzi.it
info@daqueiganzi.it

Located in the Florentine neighborhood of Santa Croce, Trattoria da Què Ganzi is a quaint restaurant that could easily be missed and that would be a loss.  Its intimate, informal, friendly interior welcomes diners warmly, inviting them to sit at wooden tables on rush-covered farm-style chairs.  None of this homey simplicity hints at the superb quality of its cuisine.

Domenico

Domenico

Close friends, Domenico and Matteo, have created something extraordinary in a city that boasts many fine restaurants.  Domenico moves about among his guests assisting in their choices from a menu of typical Tuscan fare and seafood specialties.  From behind the scenes in the kitchen, Matteo takes popular Tuscan dishes to a whole new level of excellence, and then plates them as beautifully as the art that surround us in this Renaissance city.

While we enjoy the delicate flavors of the sformati, individual flans, one of potatoes and porcini mushrooms, the other the lovely green of cavolo nero, Tuscan kale, resting in a puddle of puréed cannellini beans, Domenico chooses our wine – a deep red, fruitful blend from the Friuli region.  Matteo’s signature pasta comes next, paccheri (short lengths of a wide flat tubular noodle) crowned with a ragú of lamb with Parmesan shavings.  A full-bodied Montepulciano wine accompanies our secondi piatti, Peposo dell’Impruneta, a hearty veal stew in red wine with peppercorns and for my husband, a filet of cinta senese, Tuscan pork tenderloin.

Tortino di patate e porcini WEB

Desert is followed by a glass of passito, aged nine years, the color of a sparkling topaz – a gem of a desert wine to end a richly satisfying meal.  When two friends dedicate themselves to a shared vision coupled with a profound passion for the culinary traditions of their region, the outcome is unbeatable.  Reserve your table!

Ganzi cheesecake WEB

My books.

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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.

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