After leaving Rome, we took an ItaliaRail train up to Florence. So on our last night in Rome, we found out that the reservation we had made at a hotel that shall remain nameless got canceled. So here we are with nowhere to stay in Rome and nowhere to stay in Florence, my first thought “oh crap, what are we going to do?!”
My second thought was to head to the business center of the hotel we were currently staying. Once there I Googled hotels in Florence, and of course, a multitude of hotels came up most of them were not in our price range on such short notice. I saw a link to tripadvisor.com, I made the same search and began scrolling through the options and reviews. Almost ready to give up, I happened upon a Bed & Breakfast, Le Stanze dei Medici.
A quick side note on our trip from Rome to Florence. First, all we had was a paper confirmation of the purchase of two tickets on the ItaliaRail. Second, it was an early morning train and our car was empty. Third, neither of us spoke Italian so our conversation with the ticket taker was…interesting. Thankfully, the ticket taker was actually really nice, she looked at us and said simply…”Americans?”
Not wanting to press our luck we said nothing, smiled and nodded, my girlfriend handing over our email confirmations. I didn’t check to see if there was a section in Italian but the ticket taker looked the paperwork over, handed it back to us and then walked to the next car. So the assumption is, we were okay. Of course, we kept a low profile until reaching Florence.
A quick word of caution: While not always the case, some taxi drivers will try and take you on the scenic route to raise the cost of the fare, one thing you can do to keep this from happening to you is to maps out in advance (and print) the directions and the distance between where you are arriving into town, in my case the train station and where your hotel is. Doing this will help because you can tell if you are going in the right direction. I learned this the hard way which I will detail below.
When we arrived at the Bed & Breakfast Osvaldo, our host, met us at the door. The Bed & Breakfast is up a flight of stairs and occupies a large portion of the second floor of the building.
Because we only have one night in Florence (one night? really?) we didn’t venture out that far, we asked Osvaldo for places to eat near the B&B. He gave us a list of places and directions and we were off. We did not get a foot away from the door when we smelled the most gorgeous rotisserie chicken.
The eatery, with a simple sign of Rosticcerie above the door, was right next door to the B&B. No seats, barely any room to stand and pay but by far the best takeout chicken I’ve ever had in my life.
What I liked most about this location is that it is just down the street from the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in the Plaza del Duomo which we happened to find by accident while sightseeing. After walking down a narrow street for about five or ten minutes from where we were staying, we may a sharp left and BAM!…Duomo. The first thing that stood out to me were the colors, so vivid!
After our tour of the Cathedral, we continued walking, not wanting to stray too far from the hotel we circled the block (here is where we come back to the above discussion on taxi drivers) and to our shock found out we were less than half a mile from the train station where we had arrived. Our very talkative driver took us all around Florence before bringing us to our B&B which we could have walked too, you can imagine how upset we were, but in the end, we had to laugh, because it’s experiences like these that make travel memorable.