Friday, September 26, 2014

Candelaria Design Tour Italy 2014 - Day 1 & 2

Our trip is off to a fantastic start! A couple of my travelers unfortunately got bumped off a connecting flight as they were coming via a different route and ended up taking a tour through Germany - but they finally made it.

The rest of us all made it on time and with no luggage hiccups this year! We checked in and was able to relax, catch a quick cat nap, get some Euros from the ATM and get ready for our first full evening in Florence.

We are staying in the Hotel Brunelleschi which is the  best place to stay for the money while in Florence. It is right in the middle of all the action and is extremely convenient. The hotel was redecorated a few years ago and is just stunning - a great combination of old and modern - transitional I like to say, and they nailed it. The staff is fantastic and I have had the same staff here for me for over 14 years.

We all met in the Hotel bar for a welcome cocktail and then it was a short walk to the Piazza del Duomo and the restaurant right there on the piazza -  Buca san Giovanni Nothing better than dining right on the street with the duomo as your backdrop on your first night in Italy. We started with an appetizer mixer that seemed endless and then our main course. Ok, everyone thinks pasta and pizza when they come to Italy, but in Tuscany steak is king! The Bistecca all a Fiorentina is the way to go! I warn everyone these are big…. and yes they are! Two steaks can handle a table of 16 well my travelers must have been hungry as they order six of them! I love the looks on their faces when the waiter drops these massive steaks on a cutting board in front of them. A little chianti, steaks, the cool fall air and the duomo as a backdrop - how better to kick off the first evening???

Following dinner it was off for a nice evening stroll, a cigar, and of course a gelato. What a nice way to wind up our long day of traveling!


Dr. Cacinda Maloney said...

Your link to the Hotel Brunelleschi was for a hotel in Milan, I think you meant to put this link in: I am a value luxury travel writer and was wondering your opinion of the best place to stay for the value. It looks like a great choice, as I have not stayed there before but will try it next time!

Mark Candelaria said...

Thank you Dr. Maloney for your comment and correction. I think I have the right web address now! I definitely want to make sure we have the correct one as this is a fantastic hotel, located perfectly in the heart of Florence and with a terrific staff and exquisite accommodations. We stay here every year.