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Italy : Florence - July 2010

Country Code: Dial ++39 for Italy

Summer in Florence can get steamy, but the ebullient Renaissance city has plenty of al fresco venues and a beach by the Arno to cool down on. In July, the Florence Dance Festival brings the passion of tango and flamenco to the Bargello museum. Kamin Mohammadi explores the hottest and coolest spots

Getting around

Florence Peretola

Bus: Vola In Bus departs from outside the airport to Stazione Santa Maria Novella every 30 minutes. Tickets cost €4,50.
Taxi: A taxi from the airport into the city centre takes 20 minutes and costs about €16.
Tourist information: The main tourist information point is at 29r Borgo Santa Croce. There is also one in the piazza outside Santa Maria Novella Stazione and at 1r Via Cavour (www.firenzeturismo.it).

SANT’AMBROGIO

Make like the locals in this vibrant neighbourhood and hang out at the market. Lying to the east of the city centre, it’s packed with bustling markets and excellent eateries.

Sleep soundly – Comfortable guesthouse Casa Rovai (1 Via Fiesolana, tel. 055 200 1647, casarovai.it, rooms from €90) has simple rooms, some with frescoes, and a terrace for breakfast.

Must eat – An inventive mix of private members’ club, canteen and theatre, Teatro del Sale (111 Via de’ Macci, tel. 055 200 1492) shares a chef with the acclaimed Cibrèo restaurant. A €5 membership fee will get you a buffet lunch for €15; dinner and a show is €30.

Shop til you drop – Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is the best place for fresh produce. Round the corner at Piazza dei Ciompi is the Mercato dei Pulci, where you can pick up anything from antique books to postcards.

FIESOLE

A 30-minute bus ride away in the hills to the north of the city, Fiesole offers magnificent views of Florence, as well as Etruscan and Roman remains.

Sleep soundly – Palatial 15th-century Il Salviatino (21 Via del Salviatino, Fiesole, tel. 055 904 1111, salviatino. com, rooms from €400) has been converted to a hotel with frescoes and works of art situated in 12 acres of Tuscan gardens overlooking Florence.

Culture vultures – The beautifully preserved 2,000-seat Roman Amphitheatre (1 Via Portigiani, Fiesole) dates from the 1st century BC and will host summer concerts throughout July.

Must eat – Offering Tuscan cuisine made from seasonal ingredients, simple trattoria Le Cave di Maiano (16 Via Cave di Maiano, tel. 055 59133) matches excellent food with excellent prices.

SIGNORIA & DUOMO

Florence’s Signoria and Duomo piazzas are the historic heart of the city, with attractions such as the Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery.

Sleep soundly – Pensione Scoti (7 Via Tornabuoni, tel. 055 292128, hotelscoti. com, rooms from €120) has an upmarket address yet cheap prices, and wonderful floor-to-ceiling frescoes.

Culture vultures – International companies showcase their talents at the Florence Dance Festival (12-30 July) in the medieval Bargello museum.

Must eat – The chic Osteria Tornabuoni (5 Via dei Corsi , tel. 055 2773520) features fantastic Tuscan food cooked with a flair and an extensive wine list.

Must drink – One of the hippest bars in town, Colle Bereto (4-6 Piazza Strozzi) has a terrace overlooking Palazzo Strozzi.

EAST OLTRARNO

This area south of the river is virtually untouched by tourists and preserves an old-fashioned neighbourhood feel.

Sleep soundly – A short walk through the San Miniato gate will bring you to Villa Poggio San Felice (24 Via San Matteo in Arcetri, tel. 055 220016, villapoggiosanfelice.com, rooms from €200), a country villa with beautiful rooms and bird song aplenty.

Culture vultures – Arno beach has free deck chairs, beach volleyball and showers to cool off.

Must eat – Go for Sunday brunch at Il Rifrullo (53-57 Via San Niccolò, tel. 055 234 2621), whose terrace is perfectly located for people watching.

Dance the night away – Baroque club Montecarla (2 Via de’Bardi) is kitsch chic, with plenty of leopard skin plushness.



Compiled by Kamin Mohammadi

Previous issues for Florence
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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