Having only returned from Ibiza last Sunday, I had to do a super quick turnaround and head back to London City Airport on Friday with the Husband, this time for our flight to Florence. The trip was a Valentine’s gift and the time between receiving the tickets and getting to the airport seemed to have whizzed passed in a blur. On the tube on the way to City Airport I wondered more than once if my hastily packed luggage contained everything I needed.
The journey there was certainly more difficult than anticipated. Firstly our plane had some sort of pressurisation fault which we feared would lead to long delays but CityJet quickly transferred both the passengers and the crew onto another aircraft and we were only about 20 mins late taking off. Our good fortune was not to last though as once we had started our descent into what we thought was Florence Airport, the cabin crew informed us that the weather was too blustery to land and so we had been diverted to Parma.
After a short wait at Parma we piled onto a transfer coach and watched the gorgeous Italian scenery go by for nearly 125 miles. Eventually we arrived at Florence airport where our private transfer driver was waiting to whisk us to our hotel in central Florence.
Seeing the Sites
Now, whilst the trip to Florence was most definitely the Husband’s idea, he has a little help from my incredible travel agent, Helen. Helen has been organising our group ski trips for over 8 years now and she even organised our honeymoon to Vietnam. I trust her judgement and knowledge implicitly and I was looking forward to seeing what our accommodation was like.
I was really excited when we pulled up to the San Firenze Suites in San Firenze Square. The staff on reception were really helpful and friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Location-wise, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to base yourself whilst in Florence. There are several things that are a MUST whilst you are there the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and the Uffizi Museum are definitely in this list. Fortunately our gorgeous accommodation was less than 5 minutes walk to all three of these fantastic tourist attractions.
The hotel gave us a glass of local wine on arrival (nice touch). We took these and headed straight to our room to get showered and changed; it was evening now and dinner was definitely on the cards. Helen had arranged a bottle of prosecco on ice in our room so we HAD to drink that too before headed out to explore.
Once all the drinks were guzzled and we were suitably glammed up, we popped down to reception to ask for some dinner recommendations. They planned an entire night out for us in a matter of seconds. We had a bar for an aperitivo, a dinner reservation and then a big X on the map of bars where we could party until the early hours.
The bar and the dinner reservation were both across the River Arno and there’s really only one way to cross the River, and that is the Ponte Vecchio. The gorgeous bridge is full of jewellery shops on both sides. They were closed overnight though which meant the Husband could breathe a sigh of relief as we crossed and instead enjoyed the magnificent views up and down the river.
The Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco was a truly standout restaurant. Although really casual, the service, food and wine were all spectacular. We asked for wine recommendations as there were pages of different Chianti Classicos on the menu. We both feared that the waiter would recommend something really pricey but he actually chose one of the cheapest for us to try.
It was so delicious I took a photo of the label in the hopes we could buy it when we returned to the UK. I’ve already checked, it’s not largely available and where it is it costs a fortune. The Italians are obviously keeping the best bottles for themselves, who can blame them!
For dinner we had fabulous homemade pasta, the Husband’s pappardelle had a wild boar sauce (a Florentine speciality) and my spaghetti was simple with grated white truffle and olive oil. Although full to bursting we managed to share a plate of profiteroles which were light as a feather and a good old shot of limoncello to wash it down with.
After a few post-dinner cocktails we weaved our way through the ancient streets back to the hotel for much needed sleep. I couldn’t wait to see what Florence had in store for us on Saturday! Read my post about Florence Days 2 and 3 here.