florence Travel Guide

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Not Much Legroom, but a Cheeky Pilot: Flying London to Florence on Meridiana

Where: Florence, Italy
November 21, 2011 at 3:22 PM | by | ()

There’s always an aspect of holding our breath when we try a new airline, especially if it’s a lowcost one. Sometimes, though, needs must, which is why we found ourselves travelling from London-Gatwick to Florence on Meridiana.

We’ve known about Meridiana for a long time, but heard neither positive or negative things about it. Alas with most other airlines flying into Pisa (over an hour away by bus) or Bologna (90 minutes on the train), we bit the bullet.

Luckily, we had a rather nice surprise. Staff were friendly (though be warned, since it’s an Italian airline, they speak in Italian before English). They gave us a drink and cookies, which was not only free, but probably also better than the inedible snacks BA give out.

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Florence Airport Is Somewhat Smaller Than You'd Expect

Where: Florence, Italy
November 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM | by | ()

Cute, right? Airy, pretty area of check in at Florence Airport?

Well yes, it is pretty, and cute, and airy. But what might surprise you is that this is Florence’s airport pretty much in its entirety.

Yup, one of the main tourist hubs of Italy has a teeny tiny gateway if you come by air. Welcome to Florence Peretola (FLR), which is fabulously close to town (about three miles from Santa Maria Novella) but also dinky in the extreme.

This is the entire check in area; downstairs there’s this, a bar, a newsagents and two other shops. Through the gates, there’s another café and a couple of other shops. Then some chairs by the (very few) gates.

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Inside Roberto Cavalli's Florentine Fashion Cafe

Where: 10R Via Della Spada, Florence, Italy
November 14, 2011 at 4:34 PM | by | ()

It was as we were walking through Florence the other day that we noticed something strange. In the middle of the designer shop area, there was a café. What’s more, it was a café bearing the name Roberto Cavalli. So we went in to investigate.

Turns out we’d found Caffe Giocosa, which Cavalli bought 10 years ago. It’s a normal Italian bar, it just happens to be particularly swish with hot waiters (although the clientele weren’t overly modelly) and has lots of animalprint hanging around, from its chair covers to its wrapping paper to its chocolates.

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The Florentine Vending Machine That Will Cover You Up For Church

Where: Florence, Italy
November 11, 2011 at 3:40 PM | by | ()

It may not be much of an issue in winter, but in summer, in Italy, if you’re doing cultural stuff, you need to watch how you dress.

You probably already know that most Italian churches demand that shoulders and knees should be covered when you enter, and you also probably know that most of the major churches will vehemently enforce that.

But what we didn’t know until this week was that there’s an alternative to buying an overpriced shawl from an entrepreneur standing near the door—or, at least, there is in Florence.

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Being Welcomed to Florence by Brunelleschi’s Dome

Where: Florence, Italy
November 9, 2011 at 2:55 PM | by | ()

Picture the scene: the end of a boring, two-hour flight from London-Gatwick to Florence on Meridiana. The plane is nearly full, the hour is bothersomely early, the turbulence has been hefty, and the cloud cover means that there hasn’t been a single thing to look at out the window for the entire flight. Oh, and we forgot to bring a book.

And then, approaching the airport for landing, we dip below the clouds and out of the ether springs Brunelleschi’s dome. And Giotto’s belltower. And the spire of Santa Croce. And the Baptistery and the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio. What a view. Sometimes this is why it's worth the trouble to fly instead of take the train.

Know of a more iconic landing view? Let us know in comments below!

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The Cast of 'Jersey Shore' Finally Says Ciao to Filming in Florence

Where: Florence, Italy
June 20, 2011 at 8:35 AM | by | ()

We hope the cast reviewed our guide to interacting with human statues

It is again safe to travel to Florence without unwittingly ending up an extra on Jersey Shore. That was fast. Just as it still seems like the eight-strong cast of the MTV show were settling into their Italian digs, they're already out. The eight weeks of filming for the fourth season wrapped this weekend and Snooki, J-Woww, The Situation and assorted other characters have already left the (historical) building, flying out of Florence and back to New Jersey.

That's right; while the Italy season debuts on MTV on August 4, the cast will be in the midst of the fifth season, to be shot back in their old stomping grounds of Seaside Heights, NJ. Their pay-per-episode estimate? Definitely over six figures, says Daily Mail. With that you think they could afford some nicer luggage (see their bags here).

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America Has Successfully Shipped the 'Jersey Shore' to Florence...For Now

Where: Florence, Italy
May 16, 2011 at 9:53 AM | by | ()

Somehow—no doubt thanks to MTV's greasing the cogs—the Jersey Shore gang has made it overseas to their temporary new home in Florence, Italy. After some logistical hiccups that delayed their arrival for filming their fourth season, Snooki, Vinnie, J-Woww, Sammi, Mike, Ronnie, Deena and Pauly D all dropped their luggage and picked up the Dirty Italian phrasebooks this weekend at their townhouse in centro.

Of course the Daily Mail is practically stalking the cast, breathlessly reporting on every store they stop in and every cobblestoned corner they turn, followed as they are are curious crowds.

Thus far they haven't done anything particularly interesting or culture-offending, but they are using paper maps. Like, umm, MTV couldn't get them smartphones with an international plan for this, where they could just bring up Google Maps? Perhaps seeing them attempt to fold a big paper map is part of the fourth season's humor? Whatever, we're bored now and unless J-Woww starts sleeping with Berlusconi, we're about to tune out.

[Photo: Splash/Daily Mail]

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Will 'Jersey Shore' Season Four in Florence Be Finito Before It's Even Begun?

Where: Florence, Italy
May 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM | by | ()

Far be it for us to leave you without the latest Jersey Shore news, which this week involves some international conflict. It seems that the city of Florence has revoked some of the filming permits required for MTV to follow the Guidos and Guidettes for their fourth season of hijinks. The shooting was due to begin and Snooki has already packed her hair straightener and Paul D his hair gel, but this holdup could mean something more than a delay.

Already Florence's mayor is against Jersey Shore's coming to town, and with the Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery specifically turning away the crew, we wonder if MTV's smooth talkers will able to iron this all out and make the Italy season happen at all. Summer is, after all, the busiest tourist season in Florence and we're sure the city isn't keen on having these American brats garnering more attention (and crowds) than Italy's own ancient masterpieces and landmarks.

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Milan's Art May Be Clothing, But Florence's Is All About The Lack Of

Where: Florence, Italy
August 19, 2009 at 3:34 PM | by | ()

Although Milan is Italy's financial hub, it's not the most picturesque spot for a vacay. Yes, it's the country's fashion capital, but if you really want to see some gorgeousness, you should head over to Florence, since your chances of bumping into any of the six-foot Versace models will be slim indeed. Just hop on a train for a two-hour trip from Milan to "Firenze," Italian for Florence.

First stop in Florence should be the Galleria Uffizi, one of the best museums in the world with its hefty collection of Renaissance masterpieces. The museum carries works from all the period's big names, including Botticelli, Caravaggio, da Vinci and Michelangelo. A must-see is Botticelli's instantly recognizable painting "Birth of Venus."

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Theme Parks Travel: Start Planning for Coyote Canyon

September 23, 2008 at 10:30 AM | by | ()

Arizona, it seems, wants to be more than just cacti and where John McCain is from, and a group of local investors are eager to bring some new commercialization to the state: They're looking to build a new theme park in Pinal County, the third planned for the area.

The park, Coyote Canyon, will feature five different themed lands including the Old West, Indian High Country, Rocks and River County and Canyon Country. The Central Corridor area would bring hotels and shopping to the park experience. However, there's no word yet if huge steel coasters are in the works for any of the lands.

Developers have already indicated that other investors are eager to get in on the ground floor of the $600 million project and have announced that hotels, restaurants and even bowling alleys are ready to break ground. Even if all goes smoothly, it'll still be a couple years until we get to check it out: No land has been purchased yet.

Related Stories:
· Third Theme Park Proposed for Pinal County [Tucson Citizen]
· Theme Parks coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Karen Sheets]

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Fashion Travel: Florence Dominates Pre-Season Runway Shows

Where: Florence, Italy
June 20, 2008 at 1:00 PM | by | ()

Twice a year, the world's best dressed descend on New York, London, Milan and other world couture centers to check out what they can buy--and what we will pick up in knockoff form at H&M. But some rogue organizations are changing the game by assembling "pre-season" shows that give fashionistas an early peek at the fall collections.

Right now, designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Tarina Tarantino and Yigal Azrouel have their wares on display at the Pitti W_Woman Precollection trade show in Florence.

Just like with spring training, pre-season allows die-hard fashion fans to get a jump on what their favorite designers are planning to unroll--and hey, if a trip to Italy is involved, that's just a bonus.

Related Stories:
· Pitti W_Woman Precollection [Official Site]
· Florence Cashes in on "Pre-Season Fashion Wave [AP, via Yahoo]
· Fashion Travel: YSL Exhibit Cheaper than Ready-to-Wear [Jaunted]

[Photo: charis8803]

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Finding Florence's Top Tourist Haunt

Where: Florence, Italy
April 24, 2007 at 10:17 AM | by | ()

Even though we mentioned Rick Steves yesterday, you've got to be careful when it comes to the Euro travel guru. That's because you're not the only one who's heard of his guidebooks. (And that's one reason we like to pack Rough Guides.)

But why skip the Rick Steves advice? Because of this item in Travel Weekly's answer to Page Six, Travel Confidential:

While in Florence, she and her husband consulted "Rick Steves' Italy 2006" to find a restaurant that was popular with locals and not a tourist trap. They decided on Trattoria Nella. When they walked into the establishment, they discovered a packed restaurant and spotted six tables with -- you guessed it -- copies of "Rick Steves' Italy 2006."

Doesn't sound too "back door" to us, Rick.

[Photo: maggi.m]

Related Stories:
· Travel Confidential [Travel Weekly]
· Adventures of Link: Sunday Papers [Jaunted]