Soaking up the culture of Florence

by Annie Terial
   
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If you’re looking for luxury accommodation that reflects the true historical and cultural significance of Florence then a stay in the Hotel Monna Lisa is a must. A short walk from the main train station took us through two of the city’s squares and past one of the most popular tourist sights – the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its Gothic style marble panels and hues of green and pink. With such a huge landmark a short walk from our hotel, we were even more confident that our choice of a former Renaissance palace was the right one.

As the oldest hotel in Florence, the Hotel Monna Lisa has achieved an equilibrium that is hard to replicate; hidden away from the tourist traps yet just minutes from many of the city’s top sightseeing destinations. After checking in at the lobby we ventured out through the first of two courtyards and were overwhelmed by the luscious scent of flowers. Lemon trees, magnolias and azalea bushes fill the large 17th century courtyard over which most of the rooms look out.

Our room was located in the Stables where the servants were housed centuries ago. These days it is furnished with medieval Italian furniture and, thanks to high ceilings, the walls were covered in copious amounts of luxurious tapestry fabric.

As it was late we took the opportunity to get an early night in preparation for a busy day of sightseeing. We woke to a hearty Italian breakfast with fantastic breads and tortes, prosciutto and forest fruits – just what you need for some intense art viewing!

If you’re looking for a hotel that provides sanctuary and indulgent luxury without taking you out of the way of the main attractions, the Hotel Monna Lisa is your dream destination. Whether you’re a wannabe art historian or an aspiring culture vulture, there’s good reason to book a room in the Hotel Monna Lisa.

Florence’s listing as a World Heritage Site is thanks to destinations like the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world’s most important art repositories. With works by many of the Italian masters – from Botticelli to Michelangelo, da Vinci to Raffaello and Giotto – you’ll be awed by the talent and skill on display.

Both the Uffizi Gallery (home to La Primavera and the Birth of Venus) and the Accademia Gallery (with the statue of David) are a few minutes’ walk from the hotel thanks to its excellent positioning in the city centre.

You can join one of the many tours conducted by groups in the city, but we decided to explore by ourselves. The Hotel Monna Lisa can also book you an art expert if you wish to be guided through the city and the various galleries. These qualified art experts will also put together a customised schedule just for you.

But it’s not just art in the last preserved Renaissance city in the world. Be sure to check out Pitti Palace and the Royal Apartments, kept to an impeccable standard and sure to delight both young and old.

More unique museum choices are also nearby, including the Costume Gallery, Porcelain Museum and Carriages Museum (all self-explanatory; great for the kids) as well as a rich collection of palaces and churches.

Given Hotel Monna Lisa’s proximity to the centre of town, we agreed that we couldn’t have chosen a more perfect hotel.

Don't miss

  • Piazza Duomo
  • Giotto’s Bell Tower
  • Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral
  • Brunelleschi’s Dome
  • Baptistry and the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti
  • Medici Palazzo Vecchio
  • Uffizi Gallery
Hotel facilities
  • Tuck into a buffet breakfast from 7:30–10am; afternoon tea is served in the Palace Hall
  • Sit back with a coffee or a cocktail in the bar; you can relax with drinks from 10am to 11pm
  • The gym is free to use and open from 7am–11pm

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