Top 3 Italian City breaks ideas
Three inspirational city break ideas across magical Italy. For each city we’ve a fabulous Further Afield host whose insider tips help you get the best out of your time in these magical Italian cities.
Capital of Tuscany, the wonderful Florence snakes along the banks of the Arno – its opposite banks joined by bridges including the famous Ponte Vecchio. Considered by many to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, the city is full of art and museums, but its streets are a testament to its history too. Beautiful piazzas, stunning palaces and innumerable churches and its famous cathedral (above).
Where to stay: Velona’s Jungle Suites hosted by the super friendly and well connected Veronica.
Veronica’s don’t miss in Florence : I love the gardens of Villa Bardini (www.villabardini.it). The gardens are amazing with lovely flowers and trees but also ancient sculptures and fountains. When there is the wisteria blooming it becomes even more beautiful! These gardens are much less known then the Boboli gardens and they offer definitely the best view over Florence.
Veronica’s favourite place to eat in Florence: My favourite restaurant is Libreria Brac (www.libreriabrac.net). I love the decoration of the place (it is not only a restaurant but also a bookstore! Libreria means bookstore in Italian), with books everywhere and nice exhibitions of art or photos. I love the food; so genuine and very Italian but also very contemporary.
Head to the south west of Italy and one of the world’s oldest cities, the dynamic and historic Naples. Italy’s third largest city, it’s a city famed for its arts and its cuisine, but also its alternative and edgier vibe than some Italian cities. Its port has seen the exchange of goods and cultures for centuries and that cosmopolitanism is reflected in Neapolitan society today. Being on the coast makes it an easy combination with a beach escape too.
Where to stay: Attico Partenopeo where Stefania and her team provide a stylish city sanctuary
Stefania’s don’t miss in Naples: You must try and visit the Church of Santa Luciella ai Librai, which is beautiful, but is also the home to the famous Skull with Ears. The mysterious skull still has mummified ears and there are legends that it can hear prayers and deliver them to the after life. (http://www.italianways.com/the-skull-with-ears-in-the-church-of-santa-luciella-ai-librai/)
Stefania’s favourite place to eat in Naples: I love La casa di Ninetta (https://lacasadininetta.it/?lang=en). The restaurant offers romantic encounters where culture and taste are the protagonists. In the theme nights, Neapolitan opera music of the 18th century is combined with tastings of traditional dishes. It’s a place where the ancient cuisine of Naples and art mix up for a perfect union.
Still in the south, but this time on the east coast, the wonderful Baroque city of Lecce is a lesser known but simply stunning Italian city. Built in the soft, creamy coloured stone for which it is famous, with laneways full of beautiful palazzi, the city has a more tranquil feel to it than some Italian cities, but it’s still full of history and life – no where more so than its Piazzas where people watching is a way of life.
Where to stay: Giuseppe oversees the running of Pallazo de Noha, a wonderful, boutique hotel in the heart of Lecce
Giuseppe’s don’t miss in Lecce: Our city is full of amazing, private palaces which aren’t open to the public. However, there is a tour of “Hidden Lecce” discovering these private palaces during which an expert guide will open the gates of two of the most important private palaces – this is an exclusive experience available for our guests.
Giuseppe’s favourite place to eat in Lecce: I love Corte di Pandolfi (http://cortedeipandolfi.com) for its authenticity, beautiful setting and quality of food. There’s a small courtyard which is very private and the service is always great.