Rocco, hotel manager, age 58 - continue >> , Florence: Guide Florence: Italy - Nozio 0%

Rocco, Hotel Manager, Age 58 - Continue >>, Italy

What adjective would you choose to describe Florence?
Just one adjective to describe Florence? Not enough!

I'd pick at least three: beautiful, exciting and impenetrable. Beautiful, it's self-explanatory. Exciting due to the sinuous shapes in Florentine artwork, from Michelangelo's David to Botticelli's Venus. Impenetrable because it doesn't show its true colors at first sight and you need time to discover its true essence.

And its people? The best definition of people from Florence is "master debaters": champions of debate used to arguing, even and especially because they have fun doing it!

How has the city most significantly changed in recent years? Surely, the city's loss of identity especially on the right bank of the Arno river, with the gradual imitation of other European and international cities where you'll always find the same stores and same fashion labels in style throughout the world. Recently, the new mayor proposed substantial initiatives to revitalize the right bank, starting with the transformation of some city areas into pedestrian zones. As usually, city-dwellers initially grumbled (squabbling) but later began to reap the benefits in terms of better city living conditions.

How have Florence's tourists changed over the years? Unfortunately, there's been a mass invasion of poorly educated, distracted and hasty tourists. Many tourists only stay for 1 day when no less than 3-4 days are needed.

What is the best time of year to visit Florence? Florence is at its prime when the lily, the city's symbol, blooms: spring. This is also the season when it's the most crowded and visiting can be stressful. If you want to see it less frenetically, the best time is the late fall, when the weather is still good and there are less tourists around.

Where do you always suggest your guests should go? Oltrarno or, as we like to call it, the "diladdarno", where the city has regained its identity. It's the Florence of Vasco Pratolini's "Ragazze di San Frediano", where the true Florentine heart beats and where you go to have shoes custom-made by traditional shoemakers and where we love to dine in the evening.

And if we just want to relax in Oltrarno? There's a really characteristic square where I recommend by guests go to relax.  It's called Piazza della Passera (LOL). And don't forget the magnificent Boboli Gardens that offers great views and, in the gardens, the Granduca citrus fruit orchard where you'll feel like you're in Sicily.

Give me 3 things you must do to experience Florence… 1) Walk across the Vasari Corridor which connects the Palazzo Vecchio, former political seat of the Grand Duke, to the Pitti Palace, his private home. The elevated corridor is 1 km long and once crossed the Arno river, dominated most of the city. Now it is an interesting art gallery you can tour on reservation. 2) Reserve a "room with a view" just like the one in James Ivory's movie based on E. D. Forster's novel, "A Room with a View". Here, I'm biased: the room with a view is the one at the hotel I manage, the Eden Rock Resort! A small treasure nestled in the face of one of the hills that overlooks the city providing one of the famous views in the world. The city's monumental skyline is the perfect background for an exciting postcard. 3) Dine out on a steak at the Troia or Latini restaurants or lunch on "lampredotto" and a glass of red wine at one of the typical tripe stands that dot the city.

Trattoria Sostanza (Il Troia) - (editor's note) Via Porcellana 25/r Tel. +39 055 212691

Il Latini Via dei Palchetti 6/r (Palazzo Rucellai) - (editor's note) Tel. +39 055 210916


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