Culture, good food, fine wines, nice shops, romance… Florence has got it all!That must have been Dan Brown’s idea exactly when he decided to locate his latest book in the city of Dante Alighieri. If you haven’t read or finished Dan Brown’s Inferno yet, stop reading this article right now! I will reveal some of the locations of the book.
Robert Langdon & Sienna Brooks fled their ‘persecutors’ starting -more or less- at Porta Romana. A big city gate that used to be an entrance to Florence during Renaissance times. (When I was studying Italian literature in Florence a long time ago, I used to live in Via Romana). Of course other Florence ‘conoscenti’ must have guessed instantly where this flight would take them. Right into the magnificent – and more importantly – far-stretching Boboli gardens.
The Boboli Gardens aren’t just an escape route for Robert & Sienna, but also the perfect hideaway for many tourists who want to flee the crowds and (in summer) the heat! “Il Giardino di Boboli” was designed by Nicolo Percoli in the 16th century for Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. Next time you’re visiting Florence, make sure to pass some time there. It’s the perfect place to walk around, relax, enjoy the stunning views of the city and last but not least, to get acquainted with the local plants, trees, flowers and why not, the animals.
Robert Langdon didn’t have time, but before heading out towards the grotto of Buontalenti, you should definitely stop at the recently renovated Teehaus. No tea here though, but the frescoed ceiling is amazing! The same goes for the statues. One of them being the original “Court Dwarf Morgante” on the turtle, Braccio di Bartolo. A replica has been placed close to the grotto.
Now instead of taking the escape route of the Medici & “Inferno”, the famous Vasari Corridor, get out at the exit to the Piazza de’ Pitti and make a small detour to Piazza della Passera. By the way, when you ask for directions, don’t be surprised when people start to laugh… “passera” means bird, but it also has a more obscene significance…
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” so take an aperitivo (pre lunch or dinner drink) at Caffè degli Artigiani in Via dello Sprone 16r. Have lunch at Trattoria Quattro Leoni (famous for it’s bistecca Fiorentina) or at the tiny organic restaurant 5 e Cinque (both in Piazza della Passera) and rub elbows with the locals! Try this if you’re done with the traditional pastas and pizzas. To finish in style have some mindblowing ice cream at Gelateria della Passera. Then walk back to Piazza de’ Pitti, cross the Ponte Vecchio and continue to Via Por Santa Maria.
[inlinetweet prefix=”Interesting!” tweeter=”null” suffix=”#KLMblog”]Restaurant 5 eCinque in Florence is the favourite hangout of the fashion scene.[/inlinetweet]
For the ladies: make a pitstop at TAF. They sell wonderful table linen, such as cocktail napkins embroidered with golf players or oldfashioned pinup girls! Then take a right to Piazza della Signoria. Although the terraces are alluring, beware… if you site down here, the price of a drink quadruples.
Instead, visit the Palazzo Vecchio to admire the paintings and try to immagine what route Robert and Sienna took to escape the building. As a reward have a glass of wine at the Cantinetta dei Verrazzano in Via dei Tavolini 18-20r.You’ll thank me later for avoiding the tourist traps.
Continue to the Duomo and the Battistero di San Giovanni. Here we are close to the last Florentine stop of Robert and Sienna: the railway station Santa Maria Novella. Walk back through Via Roma and slip into Luisa Via Roma… the biggest and most impressive fashion store in town. Gentlemen, I haven’t forgotten about you… Luisa sells menswear too!
[inlinetweet prefix=”Nice!” tweeter=”null” suffix=”#KLMblog”]Luisa Via Roma is the largest and most impressive fashion store in Florence. [/inlinetweet]
Now head over to the Fusion Bar for cocktails and sushi. It’s the place to be among hip Florentines and foreigners alike. If you’re lucky there’s even a photography exhibition in the lobby.