Archive for the Italy Category

A Stylish New Renovation in Florence

Posted in Italy on November 23, 2011 by cheriforzani

Lobby
Lobby

Last week Zaira De Biasio stopped into our office to tell us about the re-opening of the 5 star luxury Hotel Villa Cora in Florence after an extensive and stunning 3 year renovation. The Hotel Villa Cora has so much to offer our clients, from the beautiful setting overlooking the Duomo and center of Florence, to the luxuriously appointed rooms and large garden with one of the most coveted amenities for summer travelers – a pool. The location is perfect for those who want to be close to the center of Florence yet also be able to escape the city in a relaxing and quiet villa.

After viewing these photographs, I’m sure you’ll understand why the Hotel Villa Cora just made Conde Nast Travelers “Hot List” for 2011.

Zaira has promised to take very good care of our clients so if you’d like to experience a stay at this hotel or one of the many other charming hotels we can recommend in Florence, please contact me at 203 216-1668.
Pool
wine bar
Library

Magnificent! This place is fantastic….

Posted in Italy with tags , , , , on July 7, 2011 by cheriforzani

….u r getting rave reviews from the whole family!!!! XO Mo” – That was the text message I just received from a good friend while she was in the Dolomites the other day.

The place she is referring to is The Romantik Hotel Turm, a not very well known, charming, smaller hotel that I found for her extended family of thirteen.  I was a bit nervous since several members of her family typically stay at 5 star luxury properties, and they were considering resorts that were literally four times the price of the Hotel Turm.  Needless to say that I was very relieved to learn that everyone was thrilled with a property that was a fraction of the price of their usual posh digs.

As their website describes it “Romantik Hotel Turm in South Tyrol: live in old vaults and luxurious suites, cuisine and cellar, that fulfill every wish, relaxing in a unique wellness area. Pure comfort. Here time flies or stands still. What makes the Turm so unique is the great mixture between the traditional South Tyrolean hospitality, international charm and dignified atmosphere.  Let us spoil you…”

According to my friends, they were very spoiled with excellent cusine by the chef/owner (The restaurant was voted one of the 5 best hotel restaurants in Italy in 1996), beautiful surroundings and plentiful activities in the Alto Adige.

The Romantik Hotel Turm is not far from Venice – combining a stay here with visits to Venice, Verona, Lake Garda and Bologna would make for a fantastic Italian itinerary.

For more information or to book this treasure of a hotel in the Dolomites, contact me at cheri@bookavacation.net.

Family Find in Florence

Posted in Italy on May 20, 2011 by cheriforzani

Booking hotels in Italy (or anywhere really), for a family can be a challenge, but I managed to scour out some read finds on our trip to Italy last year.  We have older kids who need their own beds and ideally their own rooms and bathrooms, so it can get expensive to book 2 rooms every night, and even though my kids are older, I love connecting rooms that allow family members to go into each others rooms (in our case, to wake up our sons umpteen times to get them moving in the morning), without going outside into a common hallway.

The Hotel Albani Florence fit the bill nicely. Our family of 4 booked a family suite (this is really more of an apartment, 2 separate rooms and 2 full bathrooms with a private common hallway). We got a great rate for the two rooms (booked as a family suite) as many hotels in Florence discount on Sunday & Monday nights.  BTW, there is a reason for this, and that is because many major museums are closed on Mondays – just be aware of this and plan accordingly, investigating what is open on Monday that’s on your bucket list and doing the major museums (the Uffizzi, the Accademia) on Sunday or Tuesday.  For a list of museums open on Monday check here http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/tuscanyarts/museums-open-on-monday-in-florence/

A great option for a Monday in Florence is a visit to the Mercato Centrale, specifically the stalls inside the San Lorenzo central market, in Via dell’Ariento you’ll find the best food market of the city. Walk in and discover. It opens every morning from 7.00 to 14.00, except for Sunday and public holidays.  This is fascinating and a whole lot more interesting than an endless string of museums for kids of all ages, including 2 middle-aged parents or college students whose eyes are beginning to gloss over with each subsequent viewing of a Botticelli.

And don’t forget the Duomo, the cathedral and crypt are open on Mondays (Baptistry is not – Duomo: Opening hours: Cathedral: daily 6:50am-7pm Roof: daily 7am-7pm Crypt: daily 9am-noon and 2:30-6pm Baptistery: Tue-Sun 10am-12 and 3-5pm), so you can easily fill the day with must-see sites and take advantage of lower hotel rates.

Now, back to the Hotel Albani, I don’t know why this hotel isn’t more popular, maybe that’s a good thing? We stayed during the heatwave last summer, the AC worked great, the rooms were beautifully furnished and decorated, mattresses very comfortable with down pillows, plush linens, the marble bathrooms large and luxurious and a nice breakfast in a lovely dining room. We loved the common areas and garden as well.


The Hotel Albani Florence is a Summit Hotel located one block from Santa Maria Novella train station.  All in all a great find and the perfect choice for families visiting Florence.

For more information or to book email me at;

cheri@bookavacation.net

In Rome With a Real Housewife

Posted in Italy on May 20, 2011 by cheriforzani

This review is long overdue but I wanted to review this great hotel near Trastevere, The Pantheon and Piazza Navona. We stayed last July after having to reschedule our postponed trip from the previous year, and the Ponte Sisto was gracious enough to allow us to use our prepaid deposit after a last minute cancellation. Some other hotels were not so accommodating.

We booked a two room suite (actually two separate rooms that shared a private common hallway). This was perfect for our family of 4 since we had a lot of privacy yet could open the interior doors to the rooms, I think the room numbers were 508 and 509. Our room had a very small balcony (oddly entered from the bathroom) and a nice view, while our sons’ room just had a window. Both rooms were very comfortable, the A/C worked great (we were there during a heat wave) and we made good use of the very big “mini” fridge to keep drinks cool. I loved the all marble bathrooms, ours was a reddish gold and our sons green…I can’t decide which was more beautiful.

We loved the location and walked to Trastevere for dinner…what a great spot. In fact, we walked everywhere in Rome from the Ponte Sisto, even the Vatican.

The staff was very accommodating, my husband had a craving for Granita di Caffe one afternoon and couldn’t find it, so when we returned to the hotel we asked the bartender if they made it. They didn’t, but he went out of his way to make it from scratch and it was much appreciated.

The breakfasts were the best we had on our trip, so many choices and great scrambled eggs and bacon. I like my scrambled eggs cooked really well and one morning they were barely cooked. I guess one of the waitresses noticed my disappointment when I looked at the eggs and asked if I needed anything. I told her I liked my eggs very well done and 3 minutes later she brought out a large dish cooked just the way I like them. Speaking of breakfast, the courtyard it’s served in is gorgeous.

The Ponte Sisto is a great little hotel in a great location with great service – you’re probably wondering about the real housewife, (well, besides me, only I’m not famous).  Every morning there was an attractive dimpled blonde at breakfast with her family, and every morning I kept looking at them trying to place where I knew them from – were they from town?  Had I worked with her?  Met at a party? Our last morning I complimented her dress and she told me she bought it at a shop near the Spanish Steps but we had no time, a car was coming to take us to the airport and they had a car taking them to go shopping.  We introduced ourselves by first names, and they said they were from California.  It wasn’t until we were in the car that I realized who they were… and not a camera in sight.

The only thing missing from the Ponte Sisto was a swimming pool, which is not easy to find in Rome but oh so desirable during the sometimes sweltering summers.

For that I would recommend the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, an oasis located within Rome’s most upscale residential area, between the green expanse of the Borghese gardens and the historical reminiscences of Valle Giulia and the Borghese Gallery, within walking distance from extraordinary venues as the Spanish Steps and Via Veneto. The Aldrovandi is a member of Leading Hotels of
the World.

Entrance to the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese
Swimming Pool at the Aldrovandi

For more information or to book, contact me at;

cheri@bookavacation.net