Four and a half years ago, I packed my life into a suitcase and departed for my first semester abroad with NYU: Florence, Italy. My nightmare-inducing freshman year roommates drove me to get as far away from them as possible, so I decided that there was no better time than to study abroad. I had no idea what to expect, and no idea how I would fall madly in love with Florence. I spent my semester living in an authentic Italian apartment with ten other girls (yes, you heard me correctly, eleven girls total sharing only two bathrooms), and spent any free moment exploring every inch of the city.
Three weeks into living in Florence, life as I knew it had changed, and I knew that travel would be a necessary addition to my life. Four and a half years later, I have taken my travel-blogging self through six continents and fifty-three countries. It was time to return “home.”
Upon first sight of Florence in the distance, I couldn’t contain my excitement. This time around, I wouldn’t be staying in Via Modena 21, my old apartment, but at the famous Hotel Brunelleschi, located in the heart of Florence’s Old Town. The hotel itself was created within a circular 16th Century Byzantine Tower, the oldest in Florence, and a reconstructed medieval church. How unique!
From the moment we entered Hotel Brunelleschi, we were put on a pedestal and treated with kindness; someone was there to help us with everything we’d need, with an entire staff at our disposal.
We were taken up to our beautifully modern and spacious double room. With a purple canopy, double bed, desk, sitting chairs, walk in closet, and big bathroom, this hotel room is perfect for anyone, specifically for those who want to set up shop for a few days. It was lovely.
After a busy day driving from Verona to San Marino to Florence, we were exhausted, and this was the perfect place in which to rest. I decided to shower before dinner, and it was then that I realised that part of the big bathroom mirror was heated, keeping the mirror from fogging up in front of the sink — I’d never seen anything like it, and it made blowdrying my hair that much easier.
When staying at the Hotel Brunelleschi, it’s important to explore the buildings and all of its nooks and crannies. In fact, Hotel Brunelleschi even has a private museum in their basement with the ruins of Roman baths and other ancient Roman artifacts.
Hotel Brunelleschi also houses two fantastic restaurants: Osteria della Pagliazza, located within the hotel building itself, and the gourmet restaurant Santa Elisabetta, located in the adjacent Byzantine Tower La Pagliazza. Gourmet restaurant Santa Elisabetta holds only seven tables in the tower, seating a total of twenty-four people. The dishes are all elaborately made and scream sophistication. If you’re not looking for gourmet dining, be sure to check out the Osteria della Pagliazza for traditional, local flair. If you’re there while it’s warm, you can even sit outside and soak in Florence which surrounds you. Coming from a vegan family, I was thrilled to see that both restaurants offered a fully vegan menu, with the chef making sure to avoid fish, meat, dairy and egg products, and even those products that derive from other animals, like honey and gelatin. I was so impressed.
After snapping a few night shots of Florence, we popped some champagne and snuggled into our beds for the night. We slept in a bit the next morning, but got up in time for Hotel Brunelleschi’s incredible breakfast in the Sala del Pozzo — there was quite an array of food!
Everything you could possibly imagine was there: fresh fruit, multiple kinds of croissants, traditional western breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, and pancakes, smoothies, meats, and cheese, and the list goes on. Hotel Brunelleschi knew how to do breakfast, and how to do it well.
Being back in Florence was an extremely emotional, nostalgic time for me, and it was so wonderful to re-experience it through the eyes of Hotel Brunelleschi. I stand right by Dan Brown when I say that Hotel Brunelleschi is the place to stay in Florence.
“It was early evening when Langdon made his way across Piazza Sant’ Elisabetta and returned to Florence’s elegant Hotel Brunelleschi.”
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**Special thanks to Hotel Brunelleschi for kindly offering me a complimentary stay. As always, all opinions are my own.