Picture the scene: you’re ordering pancakes, a fruit plate and coffee (Italian style) on your balcony, with an uninterrupted view of the sparkling River Arno. The world-famous Ponte Vecchio bridge is mere metres away. Like the sound of life at Hotel Lungarno, Florence? Read on…

Anyone planning a trip to Florence will discover a culture-rich weekend awaits, filled with world-class artworks, jaw-dropping architecture and the best pizza, pasta, and well, any type of food on the planet.

Our first stop is Picteau Bar & Bistro, a destination bar for city slickers. A superbly comprehensive Negroni menu (spanning over 20 flavours) is the only thing taking attention away from the view. Three drinks later, we’re delighted with our decision to sleep upstairs.

Hotel Lungarno has to be one of the most luxurious accommodation options in Florence, its location unbeatable, literally sat on the bank of the Arno with a crystal clear view of the Ponte Vecchio.

Order amberjack tartare, followed by lamb ragu and a selection of 'pizza teasers'...

Order amberjack tartare, followed by lamb ragu and a selection of ‘pizza teasers’. Here in Italy, not three but four courses are strongly encouraged at every meal. This is our kind of dining – be sure to follow up with a gloriously creamy tiramisù.

While we’re talking about the food, breakfasts are a brilliant, sunshine-soaked affair. Rowers shoot past as you order your omelette and double espresso, tourists ambling by on either side of the river. Just one night here quickly explains why the hotel emerged as Winner of the CN Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards in 2020 – it feels as if you’ve broken onto a movie set.

Owned by renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo, Hotel Lungarno was always going to be beautiful. But the super smart, yacht-like interiors exceed expectations on arrival, decked out royal blue and crisp white.

Every wall is covered with unique 19th Century artwork, hundreds of them turning the hotel into a live-in gallery. Speaking of, the receptionist hands guests complimentary tickets to the Salvatore Ferragamo museum (apparently the owner has some connections).

The super smart, yacht-like interiors exceed expectations...

Nearby you’ll find tons to do: culture fans should wander from the statue-stuffed Uffizi to the Accademia museum, home to Michelangelo’s Statue of David. Foodies are totally spoiled, finding cannelloni, gelato and doorstop-thick focaccia sandwiches on every corner.

Upstairs in the luxe-y bedrooms, relaxation and comfort is key. Bathrooms are appropriately littered with an array of excellent face mists, shampoos, moisturisers and more. These are best saved for a truly indulgent evening pamper session, after hours of pounding Florence’s winding pavements.

Take a long bath, slather yourself in products, pop on your robe and slide into the outrageously soft bed. You can watch the world, and plenty of rowing boats, go by through huge windows at twilight. If that’s not ámore, I don’t know what is…

Lungarnocollection.com

GETTING THERE: Plenty of airlines are now offering daily direct flights to Florence from London City, Heathrow and Gatwick. Once you’ve touched down at Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola, it’s easiest to hop in a pre-booked transfer.

We like Blacklane, mainly because their drivers always arrive early, armed with sweets, magazines and water – and being locals, they can direct you to the best bar in town. Changes and cancellations can be made for free up to 24 hours before your trip (only one hour if the trip is less than 200km), which is a godsend in these strange times.


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