The Bernini Palace is a civilized, traditional, comfortable hotel in one the best locations in Florence. It inhabits a handsome period building next door to the Church of St Philip Neri, in a quiet street only a few steps from the epicentre of Florentine life, the Piazza della Signoria. It has been an hotel since the 19th Century – and, indeed, in that century was much used by parliamentarians when Florence was for a brief period the capital of Italy. The Bernini therefore has a pleasing patina, which imparts to it the sort of charm for which more modern establishments can only long. From my observations, I would suggest that those who work here are pleased to be doing so and are proud of their employment, for the atmosphere is one of relaxed contentment. For this the General Manager, Mr David Foschi, deserves a good deal of credit.
In Florence there is so much beauty that it is quite possible, with very little effort, to sate the aesthetic appetite. There is almost too much to delight the eye in this city of art. That is why I try to take in only a little at a time, and make sure that I view only a very few paintings and frescoes each day. The old adage about less being more certainly holds true when one is trying to appreciate properly the finest artistic achievements on our planet. But Florence is a place for the gourmand as well as the aesthete. In the former’s search for gastronomic enjoyment, there is one dish for which less is most definitely not more. It is a dish which reflects the Florentine love of excess. It is, of course, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina. And the most famous place at which it can be found is the splendid Ristorante Buca Mario.
The Best Western Hotel Adriatico is an efficient and well-run business and conference hotel in the centre of Florence. Viewing it from the outside, even its best friends would struggle to call it pretty, for it inhabits a concrete block erected in the 1960s – and we all know what they are like. Nevertheless, there are reasons to consider the Adriatico when you are next heading to the birthplace of the Renaissance. First, it has a car park, and hotel car parks in Florence are as rare as the proverbial hens’ teeth. Second, its staff is composed of persons who are particularly friendly and helpful. And third, it is only just round the corner from the Church of All Saints (Ognissanti), a place of great beauty at which the traditional Latin Mass is offered every day and in which there is a portrait of Amerigo Vespucci (after whom America is said to have been named).
For reviews on the world's finest tailors and outfitters, please click here for Bown's Bespoke
See also Dining in France & American Farm to Table