The Hills of Florence

Published Date Author: , October 28th, 2012
by Lorenzo, Marignolle Relais & Charme, Florence, Italy
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Gay Travel: The Hills of Florence

The hills immediately surrounding Florence, dotted with stately villas and country homes dating back to the Renaissance, offered Florentine aristocrats cool respite in Summer from the higher temperatures in the city below.

Gay Travel: The Hills of FlorenceWe live in this blessed area, between the Certosa Convent and Ponte Vecchio, very close to Piazzale Michelangelo and its spectacular view of the city. Its strategically favourable position lets you reach the city centre in just a few minutes as well as its most important monuments, splendid museums, theatres and take part to cultural and fashion events that Florence offers at any time of the year. The incomparable beauty of this town is a world-known characteristic that only those who have visited it can thoroughly acknowledge…

Gay Travel: The Hills of FlorenceLeaving our Relais, it’s possible to reach the historical southern gate of Florence, Porta Romana, where it’s possible to leave the car and proceed towards the city centre: on the way, after a few minutes-walk, the stunning, imposing Pitti Palace gives an idea of the powerful past of this town. From here, it’s also possible to reach the Boboli Garden and the huge magnificence of its plants, fountains and grass.

Ponte Vecchio is the ideal door to the city: the only Florentine bridge that hasn’t been destroyed during World War II still keeps its ancient charm, although not many people knows that, where now artisans sell hand-made jewellery, until the end of the 16th century there were butcheries and totally different ambience. The new stores where placed there after the construction, over the bridge, of the “Vasari Corridor”, the hidden path that allowed the Medici family to go from Pitti Palace to Palazzo Vecchio undisturbed and unseen.

Gay Travel: The Hills of FlorenceWalking along the Arno river it’s possible to reach the Uffizi Gallery and, after it, the impressive Piazza della Signoria, from the terrace of which the most powerful Italian man’s reached out to talk to the population. Now, it’s one of the symbols of the Tuscan town, as much as the Cathedral and its Bell-tower by Giotto, and most tourists and Florentines love to sit at the famous “Rivoire Cafe” drinking a good espresso and enjoying the view of this palace, which has been hosting the highest city offices since the 14th Century.

Florence has always been admired for the art, buildings, history, and thousands of tourists come to visit it every year.

For those who prefer the quiet of the countryside, the Chianti area is at just an half-an-hour drive from here: it is the cradle of noble and knowledgeable country people, coming into contact with an excellent harvest of wine and oil and understanding the history and joie de vivre of ancient Tuscan folk. Mediterranean agricultural traditions came from this land that is the homeland of great men like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Giovanni da Verrazzano, and Dante Alighieri.

The village of Greve, the ideal heart of this area, welcomes its tourists with an ancient, triangle-shaped market square where typical stores are an irresistible attraction for anyone missing the old-way of living, that’s hardly remembered in the big cities. In the “Chianti wine museum” it’s possible to find ancient tools for wine-making, and an incredible selection of dozens of different wines.

But the Chianti area is famous also for other nice, small villages, like Radda, Castellina, Volpaia with the beautiful castle, and driving along this area it’s possible to reach, within an hour, the beautiful town of Siena and its neighbouring, medieval villages of Monteriggioni or San Gimignano.

Gay Travel: The Hills of FlorenceFrom our hotel, which is only 3 km far from the Motorway exit of “Firenze Impruneta”, it’s possible to reach a few of the most famous Tuscan cities within about an hour drive: not only Siena, but also Pisa and its world-known leaning tower, Lucca and the intact, 15th century city walls, the Etruscan cities of Arezzo and Cortona…not to mention the small villages, which characterize the Tuscan region.

Our Relais is hence a perfect starting point to visit the whole region: it also has spacious rooms furnished with care and luxurious details by Ms. Paola, who selected both the furniture and upholstery. Antique furniture, in the best tradition of luxury hotels in Florence, period prints and small collectors’ item give the spaces refinement and elegance. The rooms are air conditioned and soundproof, have a satellite TV and safe, direct telephone and wireless internet, a very spacious and well-equipped built-in closet, large bathrooms with oversized mirrors and a double white marble sink.
The panoramic terrace and quiet gardens are the perfect locations for a drink or a romantic dinner, a lovely pool has gorgeous hillside views over olive groves.

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