Florence: enchanting secrets
Florence is everything a traveler could wish for: art, culture, architecture, history, outstanding food and green spaces as far as the eye can see. But, beyond the world famous touristic sites, there are little known places to which a visit will undoubtedly make your experience truly unforgettable.There is plenty on offer outside of Florence’s charming center and it is magical discovering it from the surrounding hilltops. Here are some handpicked suggestions:
A great place to start is Settignano, where tranquility, beautiful views, picturesque dwellings and luxurious gardens will make you feel like you are in the countryside. You will be, in fact, only five minutes away from the bustling neighborhood of Campo di Marte and ten from the center of Florence.
A few kilometers away, in a neighboring hill in Montebeni, you’ll find the best Tuscan restaurant in the region: Tullio. The views of Florence are stunning and seating in the outdoor patio is highly recommended on days when the weather is nice. The house specialty is “Bistecca ala Fiorentina”, a perfectly succulent steak, although all dishes at Tullio are fabulous.
An important point to note: the cuisine from Florence is not only famous for its meat dishes but for its abundant variety of desserts and ice cream. And the best place to savor these marvels is Gelateria Badiani, located near Artemio Franchi stadium, AC Fiorentina’s home ground. The flagship ice cream flavor is Buontalent”, said to be made with milk, honey and egg yolk, although its recipe has been kept a secret for decades. Badiani has received awards in competitions all over the world for this flavor of ice cream, named after the Florence native architect Bernardo Buontalenti. He was a food lover who prepared the Medici Family banquets at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century and is considered to be the very man behind the recipe.
Back to our hilltop appreciation of Firenze, should you be looking to experience an exquisite evening one can only dream about, image a property dating back to the 15th Century, meticulously restored at the beginning of this century and converted into a magnificent hotel that embeds the quintessential class and style of Firenze. Now, allow yourself the pleasure of staying at the luxurious Il Salviatino. This historic building in Fiesole, surrounded by enchanting colorful gardens and lime trees, sits on a hill with breathtaking views of Florence and the charming Tuscan valley. The greenhouses scattered around the property, which have become glorious glass suites, add to the allure.
Delight in beautiful Firenze, stunning from any angle!
*text by Italian journalist Laura Bandinelli, native of Firenze.