Luxury Travels in Italy: Part 1 Florence

US Airways 718 PHL-FCO Business Class
US Airways 718 PHL-FCO Business Class

In October 2015 I went on a whirlwind nine day trip to experience some of the best of Florence, Tuscany, and Rome with one of my favorite Virtuoso on-sites, Italian Dream Incorporated Travel (IDI).

I found a great deal on Business Class tickets to Rome, so I set aside my general aversion to flying out of my way and booked the tickets from Boston via Philadelphia. Technically, I was starting my trip in Florence, but when I looked at the flight times and costs it made the most sense to arrive into Rome and take car service the rest of the way.

I spent my first night in Italy at the exquisite hidden gem that is Villa Cora in Florence. Wow! This hotel is often overlooked because it is slightly outside of the heart of Florence. However, it is truly an oasis that is just minutes from the Ponte Vecchio. There is complimentary shuttle service, or you can take a taxi or even walk.

Villa Cora
Villa Cora

I had a beautiful well-appointed suite with views of the gardens and outdoor heated swimming pool.

Suite at Villa Cora
Suite at Villa Cora

The true highlight of my stay was the Food & Beverage team. The dining experiences were second to none. At every meal they knew that I was a vegetarian and offered me personal suggestions and recommendations. They didn’t make a big fuss about it, nor did they expect me to remind them or specifically ask for accommodation. They simply offered excellent service and gracious hospitality. It sounds simple enough, but is in reality it is quite rare.

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Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016:

  • Upgrade at time of arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary buffet breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Children’s amenities available, welcome gift per room, per stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

I spent the next two nights of my stay in Florence at the beautiful Portrait Firenze. The suite interiors are all painted a soothing dove gray and each one has a kitchenette. Located on the Arno River, the hotel is a half block from the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio
Sunset over the Ponte Vecchio

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • A bottle of Italian sparkling wine in room upon arrival
  • Complimentary one-way transfer to airport
  • Complimentary internet access
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

There is so much to see and do in Florence that three nights is not enough time to have the full experience. I definitely recommend using private guides and planning your stay well in advance. This will ensure that you are maximizing whatever time you have and are getting the most out of your experience in Florence.

The highlight of my sightseeing was an exclusive visit to Michelangelo’s Secret Archive. Beyond words!

There is no shortage of gorgeous art and architecture in Florence. Here are a few photos from the Accademia Gallery, the Uffizi, and the Duomo.

In addition to my sightseeing activities, I also did a number of hotel site inspections which included the Hotel Savoy, Villa la MassaHotel Lungarno, Gallery Hotel Art, and the Continentale. The first three are Virtuoso and come with usual complimentary amenity package. The latter two are lovely four star hotels for those on a smaller budget. Of course, I can VIP you at all of them!

If you have questions about luxury travel in Italy, please do not hesitate to give me a call at 508-485-3061 or send me an email.

Grazie!

See also: Luxury Travels in Italy Part 2 Tuscany and Luxury Travels in Italy Part 3: Rome

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