The nearest airport is Florence Airport (known by locals as Amerigo Vespucci Airport, and, sometimes, Peretola Airport), which is roughly 20 minutes’ drive from the Gallery Hotel Art. Take a taxi from the airport for around €20, or jump on the airport bus, which costs €6 each way, and leaves every 30 minutes for Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station. The other option is to fly to Pisa (Galileo Galilei) airport, which is served by more airlines from the UK (including Ryanair and British Airways) and has a direct rail connection to the centre of Florence. A one-way train ticket will cost about €5, and the journey takes 45 minutes.
It’s a mere stroll from the hotel to Florence’s busy train station, Santa Maria Novella (just behind the piazza of the same name), which offers a wealth of Italian and European connections. You can get to Rome by high-speed train in under two hours, and it takes about three hours to reach Milan.
The hotel is so central, a car is more likely to prove a hindrance than a help as you explore Florence’s bustling streets, bridges and squares. There are plenty of taxis for the hailing, or you can catch one of the bright orange buses to carry you around the city centre (tickets are available from vending machines and tobacco shops). However, if you’re planning to visit the countryside surrounding Florence, a car will be very useful indeed. You can rent one from the hotel, and park there too; alternatively, make use of the hotel’s private chauffeured service, or hire a vintage car to explore the Tuscan hills in style. If booking a hire car, be aware that driving through the restricted central zone (ZTL) can result in hefty fines, and it's essential to send the vehicle details to the hotel (and give reception an estimated arrival time) so they can arrange a temporary permit for you.
Worth getting out of bed for
You're in central Florence, so the city is yours to explore. The masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery are a mere five-minute walk away. The Duomo, Baptistery, Palazzo Vecchio and the Gucci Museum are all within 10 minutes' walk, and guests get one free entry to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum (after all, the well-heeled designer owns the hotel). Ponte Vecchio's jewellery shops are nearly on your doorstep. If you want fresh air, sun and some greenery, Boboli and Bardini Gardens are close by, and the Ugolino Golf Club is a 20-minute drive away.
Cantina Barbagianni on Via Sant’Egidio (+39 55 248 0508) is in an ancient cellar; ideal for dinner à deux, or head there for their great value two-course lunch. Cibreo on Via de’ Macci (+39 55 234 1100) may be the most famous trattoria in Italy; it’s formal and glamorous. La Congrega on Via Panicale (+39 55 264 5027) is a quaint traditional trattoria for lunch or an informal but unforgettable dinner. Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri on Via Ghibellina (+39 55 242 777) is set in a Renaissance palace, where Giorgio Pinchiorri himself helps you choose from his 150,000-bottle cellar; jacket and tie required. Olio & Convivium on Via Santo Spirito (+39 55 265 8198) is a delicatessen and restaurant specialising in olive oils, native wines and local cheeses. ll Latini on Via Palchetti (+39 55 210 916) can be hit or miss – but get there on a good night (ie: not full to the gills with tourists) and it’s great fun. The kitchen decides what you’ll be eating – you just name the colour of wine you prefer, and whether you want fish or meat. Il Parione is a cosy trattoria on Via del Parione (+39 55 214 005), great for candlelit dinners. Roses on Via del Parione (+39 55 287 090) is a café during the day and a sushi bar/Japanese restaurant in the evening. Buca Mario on Piazza degli Ottaviani (+39 55 214 179) is an excellent family-run trattoria preparing traditional Tuscan dishes, including delicious steak alla Fiorentina with Tuscan cannellini.
Many restaurants close on Sunday or Monday; check first.
Overlooking Michelangelo’s David in Piazza della Signoria, Caffè Rivoire is a people-watching hub. Caffè Pitti (+39 55 239 9863) becomes a restaurant at night, specialising in truffle dishes. The Roberto Cavalli-owned Giacosa (+39 55 277 6328), linked to his shop on Via della Spada, is a busy, fashiony place for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cocktails. Seek out JK Place 's sister establishment, the very sexy Lounge, on Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
Capocaccia on Lungarno Corsini is perfect for pre-dinner mojitos. Some of the finest cocktails in town come from the Fusion Bar in the Gallery Hotel Art. Café Rivoire, overlooking Michelangelo’s David in Piazza delle Signorie, serves superb hot chocolate, cocktails and aperitifs and is great for watching the world go by.