Florence (Firenze) is a vibrant and fashionable city in the north of Tuscany, home to some of the finest art, fashion, food, wine and architecture – even rivalling that of Rome.
We arrived in Florence in the early afternoon and checked into the stylish Porta Rossa hotel, located in the heart of the fashion quarter. Although it has been recently refurbished, the building itself dates back to the 13th century and it still retains some beautiful frescos and Renaissance features. We were immediately greeted with complementary prosecco and upgraded free of charge to the more luxurious ‘gym room’, although I can’t see us using the exercise bike very much 😬. I would definitely recommend the NH collection of hotels for anyone going on holiday – amazing customer service!
We went for lunch before check-in in a tiny restaurant with only 5 tables and a simple hand written menu (usually a good sign in Italy). Still a little damp and cool after the storm yesterday, we both went for a comforting bowl of lasagne and a glass of red wine. It was delicious and exactly what we needed, great value for just €8 too.
My mum and stepdad arrived in the afternoon to join us during our stay in Florence, checking into the room opposite. After all the travelling and early morning market shopping in Siena, we were all shattered and went for a siesta in the ridiculously comfortable beds 😍. We dragged ourselves out of bed for a late dinner in Oltrarno, a little area across the river Arno known for its artisan shops and excellent traditional food. Similar to Trastevere in Rome, this area is distinctly less touristy than the other side of the river. We ate in a small trattoria with an outdoor terrace called ‘trattoria diladdarno’. The menu was again small with typical Florentine pastas and secondi dishes such as wild boar, truffles & Bistecca. We had a variety of unusual starters including beef in red wine with mashed potatoes, breaded buffalo mozzarella and wild boar tartare. We arrived just as they were writing up the daily special of fresh egg pecorino ravioli with shaved black truffle which Mum and I had for mains. It had an incredible flavour and the pasta was beautifully made. I still can’t believe how much truffle I got for just €12! The other mains of pea and pancetta ravioli and grilled lamb were also great. The most surprising part was the side of fries which were absolutely delicious, they tasted as if they’d been fried in olive oil – so good 😍. It was a lovely meal – service and food were excellent and the accompanying bottle of local red was well aged & unique. In true Italian style we had a complimentary shot of limoncello on the way out too.
So excited to be going on a winery and vineyard tour in Tuscany tomorrow to taste some of the finest and high quality DOCG Chianti, and modern ‘Supertuscan’ wines and to see how they are made 🍷