Friday, July 20, 2012

Florence, Italy Reviews

The following is a list of reviews of hotels, restaurants and other services during our travel to Florence, Italy in July 2012.

Hotel HermitageVicolo Marzio 1 (Piazza del Pesce) | 50122 Florence, Italy
We stayed in the Hotel Hermitage in Florence for two nights in early July. It was recommended by a relative.  The location was very central, as it is literally planted directly next to the Ponte Vecchio.  The entrance was somewhat hard to find at first, as the door is actually hidden around a corner in the tiny little square. The hotel is at least six floors. I thought it might be a bad sign that we were placed on the first room on the first floor, but quickly learned that there were other guests. Although the hotel is in a busy area, luckily they have good windows, as you could not hear any of the street noise in our room.  The rooms are very well-adorned with nice furnishings, including a large wardrobe for clothing and a TV. The bathroom was fairly decent-sized with a large jacuzzi tub and an intereresting shower in the tub.  However, it was a very tight space between the door and the toilet. They offered a typical Italian breakfast buffet and a very nice rooftop terrace.  Our first night there we purchased a bottle of wine from the hotel for a typical price, which was very convenient.  They even served it to us on the terrace.  Service was satisfactory. 

The Fish PubPiazza del Mercato Centrale 44/R, Firenze
We met friends here and sat outside for beers.  We did not eat here, but they offered good times for good prices during happy hour before we departed for dinner.  The service was good. $$

Trattoria Za-ZaPiazza del Mercato Centrale, 26  50123 Florence, Italy
Outstanding!  Our friends found this wonderful place- recommended by a local.  It really was one of the three best meals we had in Italy over two weeks.  We had reservations for 6:30 and sat outside at a sturdy table.  It was cozy and comfortable. The service was perfect.  Try the truffles- they are known for this! We sampled a liter of the house red wine.  We had a cheese and meat platter as an appetizer. We also had delicious fried zucchini flowers as well- wow! All four of us shared our meals and they were all excellent!  We had risotto with saffron, zucchini, and shrimp, fried chicken with rosemary potatoes, steak with truffles, and a trofie pasta with truffles. It was to die for!   Everything was awesome! Go here!  $$

Sun Cafe FirenzeVia de' Castellani50122 FlorenceItaly
This place was the worst place we ate anywhere in Italy during our entire two week vacation!  This was horible.  We stopped here very hot and hungry- without doing any research.  From the street it looks ok- a snack bar with outdoor tables.  If anything, we should have gotten the food to go, as it was much cheaper, but we elected to stay and sit.  Prices were MUCH higher.  Regardless, I ordered a piece of pizza topped with mozzarella and tomato from the case and my husband ordered an egg panini.  We each order a coke.  Even the cokes didn't taste "right". Both dishes were ice cold in the middle.  It was FAR from fresh and although we hadn't eaten all day, we refused to finish it.  Service was poor.  We were floored when we got our bill.   €22.00 for the worst food we had anywhere!  We reluctantly left our payment and slouched off in disappointment. Avoid this place at all costs! $$

Ristorante Self-Service Leonardo, Via de' Pecori 11, 50123 Florence, Italy
After such a bad experience earlier in the day, we did some research ahead of time as to where to eat that night near the Duomo.  We wanted something comfortable, low-key, affordable, and hearty.  We found this place in Rick Steve's book and thought we would give it a try.  It is definitely not glamorous, but there was  small line of people waiting to get in when we arrived, so we took that as a good sign, although most were Americans and probably read the same book we had!  When they saw us lined up, they immediately let us in and everyone working there was incredibly friendly and helpful. This place is cafeteria-style.  You walk through a line and choose what you want and pay at the end of the line.  There were several choices of different salads, pastas, meats, sides, and desserts. We had quite an assortment- I had a green mixed salad, spaghetti, and soda.  My husband had fruit cocktail, gnocchi, a salad, and fried zucchini.  All of this only cost €22! Honestly, the best part of this place were FREE endless pitchers of ICE water.  This is almost unheard of in Italy, and we took advantage!  It was very good food for the price and was filling.  This place would be exactly where I would go in Florence with kids. Easy, cheap, and good.  They also have air conditioning, which is plus! Go here if you are not concerned about frills.  $ 

Gelateria de NeriVia dei Neri, 22  50122 Florence, Italy
Great gelato with lots of choices! They probably had three times as many choices than other places we had been to. Seemed to be a popular place with lots of patrons.  Definitely go here! $

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