The “Cradle of the Renaissance”, Florence, is an open-air museum that mesmerizes on every level, from history and art to architecture and culinary offerings. Explore the capital city and a lavish stay at the Ferragamo family-owned Hotel Lungarno
Florence or Firenze (in Italian) is the capital city of the Tuscan region, hailed for the unmistakable home of the renowned painter, architect and sculptor, Michelangelo. However, it isn’t the only reason tourists are drawn to the birthplace of the Renaissance. The historic centre of Florence, a UNESCO Heritage Site, is a pedestrian-friendly treasure chest brimming with art and architecture, stunning passersby with the glorious Piazza del Duomo, the Piazza Signoria (the focal point of the history of the Florentine Republic), Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia dei Lanzi (the complimentary museum that houses valued sculptures on view during day and night), and of course, the legendary Ponte Vecchio or the Old Bridge, over the Arno River, teeming with jewellery stores and goldsmiths that have been around for centuries.
Steps away on the south bank of the river, the flagship property of the Lungarno Collection offers uninterrupted views of the waters and Ponte Vecchio from suites right on the riverbank. Hotel Lungarno is a restoration of a 16th-century grand residence, with a focus on art evident in works by Bueno, Cocteau, Picasso and Rosai. Five-star comforts grace you upon arrival as you’re whisked away into a yacht club-like reception area, with Ferragamo-clad staff taking care of the check-in process while you unwind with a refreshing welcome drink before being ushered to your suite.
Renowned designer and architect Michele Bonan was at the helm of the design renovation, bringing in a refined look with a nod to the nautical theme. Walk into the Deluxe Double River View room and feel a sense of calm as your eyes meet relaxed silhouettes, natural textures, elegant ivory tones, blue and white striped carpeting, plush bedding and cosy lighting.
The spacious room features an expansive marble bathroom with a bathtub, plush robes and the Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Soul range (mini eye cream and lip balm included!). Other amenities include tea and coffee-making facilities, a Nespresso machine, Bose Bluetooth speaker and a complimentary iPad.
There’s no need to step outside the hotel for a fine dining meal, as one Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo on the ground floor of the hotel is amongst the city’s finest. Artfully plated creations highlight the authentic flavours and ingredients of Tuscan and Italian cuisine, with a contemporary twist, accompanied by grape pairings that enhance each dish. The sleek dining room setting with river views, minimalist décor with white and grey mineral hues, intimate ambience, and a star-lit ceiling, was inspired by 1950’s glamour, the Italian “new deal” and the “Made in Italy” movement, closely knit with the creativity of Salvatore Ferragamo.
Chef Claudio Mengoni presents a seasonal tasting menu as well as an innovative à la carte menu led by local and seasonal ingredients, taking diners on a culinary journey starring sublime creations such as the Oxtail tortelli submerged in broth with chard, diced pears that add a touch of sweetness, and a moreish Castelmango fondue poured into each pasta shell. Fish enthusiasts can savour the tender Tuna belly served with pumpkin millefeuille, hazelnuts for texture, and a delightful coffee and orange sauce that balances the richness of the belly, while those who prefer going down the meat route can relish the crisp coated Pigeon breast and thigh with chestnuts, persimmon and borettane onions.
Sommelier Salvatore Biscotti has a wealth of knowledge to help you navigate the extensive list of over 900 prestigious labels. If you are looking for alcohol-free alternatives, expect to be seriously impressed by the quality of bottles on offer. The riverside Picteau Bistrot Bar and Borgo San Jacopo dining rooms are open for a breakfast buffet spread featuring pastries, cold cuts and cheese, alongside a concise menu of egg specials and nourishing bowls. A serene spot to begin the day with coffee and freshly squeezed juice, before venturing out to explore the Oltrarno neighbourhood flanked with quirky boutiques and antique shops.
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Room rates from Euros 495 (approximately AED2,000) per night. Visit website.