Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Florence

Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:36am EST
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FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - Art, magnificent buildings, exquisite food and wines. What is not to like about the home of Michelangelo's David?

Florence is well known for its fine Chianti, but while you are here, become acquainted with some other wines too. A trip to one of the many enoteche, or "wine repositories", which often boast long lists of wines by the glass and knowledgeable staff, many of whom speak English, are a great place to start. And food, of course, plays a central part in Italian life. The city is teeming with outstanding restaurants and cafes.

Home to designers Gucci and Ferragamo, the city is all about style. The recently opened Gucci museum is well worth a visit to track the evolution of the label from its inception, when the young Guccio Gucci, a lift boy in London's Savoy, was blown away by the glamour of the hotel's rich clientele and decided to set up shop in Italy.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge show you how to enjoy 48 hours of fashion, food, and art in Florence.


6 p.m. - Assail your senses. Take a seat at one of the tiny wooden tables lined up on the flagstones outside Note di Vino, an enoteca on Borgo de' Greci 4/6r, off Piazza Santa Croce, and sip away at a glass of wine as you gaze at the neo-Gothic façade of the church of Santa Croce across the vast square. Crostini, with a variety of toppings, are a delicious accompaniment to the wine as you absorb the sounds of an opera singer busking to gathering crowds in front of the church.

Scratch the surface on your first evening with a stroll to Piazza della Signoria, where you'll be met by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, its entrance flanked by muscular, larger-than-life statues. There's no shortage of sculptures in this square. The wide-arched Loggia dei Lanzi displays a whole host of violent scenes whose drama vies with a nearby guitarist.

Catch a glimpse of Brunelleschi's famous dome, easily visible above the rooftops of some streets, and you'll be drawn towards Piazza del Duomo. Up close, the sight of the marble wrapped Duomo, Campanile and Baptistry is startling - particularly when their colorful patterned walls are lit up at night.

8 p.m. - Hungry? For a cracking pizza, head to Semolina, where you'll eat with the locals in this lively, fun restaurant at Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti. Outdoor eating space draws the crowds in the summer, but a glass of wine from the owner means a wait to be seated is no real hardship.   Continued...

Traditional fiascos (bottles) of chianti wine are seen at the "L'e'Maiala" restaurant in Florence October 6, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi