An Italian Adventure
Indagare member A.E. traveled to Italy with her boyfriend in August 2011
In Florence we stayed at the new St. Regis. It has a great location right on the Arno in Piazza Ognissanti – just enough off the beaten track to be quiet, but also still in the thick of things. The decor is amazing – probably one of the more chic hotels I’ve ever seen. We were in a standard room, which was a little small, but again, great design and amenities. The staff was extremely nice and it really felt more like a boutique hotel, but perhaps because only around 30 of the 100 rooms were open while we were there. We ate at La Giostra and 4 Leoni – both favorites of mine from the summer I lived there in college – and also Garga, which I also remember from my summer there. La Giostra was by far our best meal in Florence and the ambiance was great as always.
Unfortunately we had a very bad experience at Garga – the food was very mediocre and the staff was horrible! We were reading about it on TripAdvisor during our meal and there were comments warning of the staff over-charging on your bill and when we received ours, they had in fact “mistakenly” added an additional entrée, which we definitely had not ordered. They were apologetic and removed it right away, but it felt very intentional. I would not go back.
Then we headed to Il Pellicano, which I absolutely loved! So chic and I felt like out of a Slim Aarons photo shoot. Our room, to be honest, was nothing to write home about – charming but very basic/not a lot of frills. But it didn’t matter at all because we hardly spent any time there – just something to flag for those expecting more luxurious accommodation (again we were in a standard room). We ate all our meals on site and they were fabulous. We did lunch by the beach/pool, which was pretty standard fare, but very nicely done. Dinner both nights was incredible. We ate at the less formal/more traditional Tuscan fare restaurant one night, which was some of the best food of the trip (though hardly casual and still quite expensive). We splurged the next night and did the tasting menu at the more formal restaurant, which was amazing. Even my boyfriend loved it and he really isn’t into food. It really was a special experience and well worth the indulgence! The staff was extremely nice – not snooty at all, which I sort of expected them to be. Very chic scene as well – mostly older, very fashionable Italian couples.
Next we spent two nights at Relais La Suvera – the property was incredible! We had really wanted to stay at a historic place at some point during the trip and Relais La Suvera was perfect – albeit a little remote (we were very glad to have a rental car). We were upgraded to a suite (thanks to Indagare!) and our room was lovely – in the “farmhouse” next to the main house and the chapel. The decor was very opulent which I don’t normally love, but felt appropriate given the setting. We loved having drinks amongst the lemon trees before dinner and our meals in the restaurant were very good – better than we expected. My boyfriend had the venison both nights, which was especially amazing. While we loved the property/setting at Relais La Suvera overall, I do think it felt a little sleepy and we were glad to have a rental car to have access to the outside world. The hotel recommended a service offering a tour of Montalcino with Brunello tasting, which we did the one full day we were there and we really loved. It did feel a little touristy, but at the end of the day, we were happy to be with someone who knew the area and the local wines and could teach us about both.
We then took the train from Florence to Naples en route to my friend’s house in Praiano, just outside Positano, where we stayed for 2 nights before heading to Capri! Casa Morgano was lovely and definitely the nicest staff we encountered on our trip. Casa Morgano was the perfect location to stay – especially given we were only there for one night. We tried to get lunch reservations at La Fontelina just down the street from our hotel; however, it was fully booked so we ended up next door at Da Luigi, which we loved. Da Luigi was definitely less sceney than La Fontelina but seemed overall to offer the same sort of thing – we actually went over to La Fontelina and thought the location at Da Luigi was a bit better since you are right under the famous Faglioni rocks. We had dinner that night at Aurora – again thanks to Indagare for the recommendation. It was happening and fun with great pizza. Unfortunately the staff was very snooty, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone there and it almost felt like part of the experience. We also had drinks at the Quisisana after dinner, which had fabulous people watching.
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