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By The Kirker Team, 06 December 2016

I travelled from Rome to Florence on board the quick and efficient Italo rail service (a mere hour and a half journey). These trains offer comfortable seating and on board catering, and if you are travelling in a group of four, why not treat yourself to Club Executive Class – for a small supplement you can reserve a private block of four and travel in style. That’s exactly what we did – an unforgettable experience!

When arriving in Florence we were whisked off to our home for two nights – the impressive Grand Hotel Villa Medici. This centrally-situated patrician 18th century palace is an excellent base to explore Florence – the city of the Medici, a mere three minute walk from the River Arno and 15 minutes from the Cathedral. Furthermore, a number of our favourite trattorias are within a few minutes’ walk. To top it off the hotel’s small yet inviting swimming pool and delightful outdoor terrace make a perfect summer oasis.  

Speaking of oasis-like retreats, I also feel that a special mention should go to two favourite 5* deluxe hotels – the Four Seasons Florence and the Villa San Michele. Whether it is a special occasion or you are simply looking to treat yourself, these two hotels offer something very memorable. The former hotel is without a doubt my favourite Four Seasons hotel. It is combined of two palazzos hugging an 8-acre park full of beautiful vegetation and art. Amid this tranquil area, it also hosts both an outdoor swimming pool and a spa – what more could you ask for after a day’s site seeing in a bustling city?

In a different way, Villa San Michelle quite literally took my breath away. Located just below the small town of Fiesole, this 15th century former monetary offers exquisite views of the beautiful rooftops of Florence. After a morning of sightseeing in the centre of the city, the complimentary shuttle will whisk you up the hillside to enjoy these views from the terraced gardens, perhaps a refreshing cocktail, or a swim in its heated outdoor swimming pool. Of an evening, there are few better places to enjoy a mouth-watering dinner, than the covered loggia terrace. Whilst rooms in the main villa have a wealth of period character, my personal recommendation is to book a junior suite – which are set in the stunning landscaped gardens.

Florence is full of cultural attractions, so we have taken the liberty of including complimentary timed-entrance to either the Uffizi gallery, the Accademia gallery or the Bargello sculpture museum.  If in doubt on what to choose we can always book all three, avoiding the sometimes snake-like queues. The Uffizi is a magnificent gallery full of renaissance art – ranging from Raphael to Leonardo da Vinci, however its vastness can be somewhat daunting (as my colleagues and I experienced). So why not book a private guide who will make you experience effortless and who can also provide you with invaluable expertise.

If you have a few more days at your disposal, then book our classic Italian Trilogy, including a stay in each of the excellent Baglioni hotels in Rome, Florence and Venice – Kirker clients receive complimentary meals and excellent value for money.

To make an enquiry please speak to one of our experts on 020 7593 1899, or enquire online

Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.