Florence & Venice trip report

Mar 28th, 2004, 12:43 PM
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Florence & Venice trip report

Just returned from a week in Italy (my first time) and I wanted to share with all the fodorites. Began with 3 days in Florence at the Westin Excelsior hotel. This is a truly beautiful hotel, with top-notch appointments. Had a lovely dinner at Il Ritrovo (via de Pucci, 4A), which has been reviewed on this board. It was excellent food at a good value - definitely go! Found a new restaurant, Il Profeta (via Borgognissanti, 93R) that was so good, we had 2 meals there. Make sure that Claudio, the very friendly owner, explains the menu. It's a great place, excellent food! It's only a short distance from the hotel. Dined at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, but was disappointed in everything but the bill. Inexpensive, but noisy and food was just OK - don't bother. Florence is an easy walking city filled with very friendly people. Found our way to the synagogue, which was well worth the walk (via Farini, 4) It's a magnificent building. Saw The David, which is currently being repaired so there's some scaffolding to ignore, as well as the Botticelli exhibit just recently opened, and Santa Croce. The entire city is a beautiful museum waiting to be enjoyed. We were on to Venice by bus (3 hours) for 3 days at the Hotel Danieli. If you are thinking of staying here, think again. While the palazzo lobby and view from the upstairs terrace are perfection, the rooms leave something to be desired. We stayed in the atmospheric casa vecchia, but found the bed too hard and the room too noisy. I suggest visiting the lobby for a drink (expensive) or the terrace dining room for a pricey lunch and breathtaking view, while you rest your weary bones in an alternate "heavenly bed/heavenly bath" location. Our dinner at Al Covo (reviewed on this board, as well a recent NY Times article) was very good. The menu is nearly all seafood and costly. Ristorante Da Fiore, so well lauded in Chow Venice and NY Times, was a huge disappointment. Staff was unfriendly and food was not worth the price. I would not bother to go. Vino Vino, on the other hand, was very enjoyable and easy on the wallet. Be forewarned that Venice is a very expensive city. You will leave many more euros there than you planned. Like Florence, the city itself is the museum - a picture postcard around each corner. And there are many corners as you navigate its streets. I found it rather claustrophobic, teeming with people: tourists, street merchants, and hordes of school children (in the late afternoon). I can hardly imagine the summer crowds. The Peggy Guggenheim museum was wonderful. Make sure you make the effort to go inside the basilica at Saint Mark's, as the interior ceilings are not to be missed. Hope you get some useful information from my report. I'll write further if I think of anything else, once the jet lag lifts. Ciao!
elsiejune is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 01:24 PM
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Hi elsie,

Thanks for your report.

Let's hear more when you are rested.
ira is offline  
Mar 29th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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I'm sorry to hear that in Venice Da Fiore disappointed you. I wonder if it was an off night. I count it among my top ten in Europe and we found the staff when we went to be quite correct but personable.
Glad you liked Vino Vino-it's on my list to try.

Where in Florence did a Botticelli exhibit just open?
elaine is offline  
Mar 29th, 2004, 07:45 PM
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Elaine: the Botticelli exhibit is showing at the Palazzo Strozzi from 11 March to 11 July. It features 60 works: 26 by Botticelli, 16 by his pupil Lippi, and a few by di Cosimo and da Vinci. It's a relatively small exhibit and doesn't take much time to view.
elsiejune is offline  
Mar 29th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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Elaine - Here's the (nicely done) website re the Botticelli exhibit at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. Tickets are bookable on-line.

Lesli is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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Hi Elsie,

I'm heading to Florence soon. What did you pay for dinner at Il Ritrovo - what did you eat?? How about the price for your dinner at Il Profeta? Sorry to hear Bianco was a disappointment. There are so many positive comments on this board.


MaryJG is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 05:33 AM
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MARY: I've eaten at Il Ritrovo several times. Dinner for two, with a decent wine, is always under 100E. (Have reservations at Il Ritrovo for Easter pranzo!)
DRJ is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Dear Mary, Dinner at Il Ritrovo was 72 euros for two (appetizer, entree, dessert, and bottle of wine). Lovely atmosphere. This is a great value for an excellent meal. Il Profeta ran 130 euros for the "same" meal. This is still a good value, as the food is delicious, and the owner, Claudio, is a gem. Both restaurants served only the freshest ingredients in a quiet setting. FYI, the panecotta dessert at both restaurants was exceptional. Buon appetito!
elsiejune is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 01:16 PM
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Mary, Please note correction: Il Profeta ran 130 euros for 4 people (not 2 people), making it the same good value as Il Ritrovo. You can't go wrong with either place - our meals were delicious!
elsiejune is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Elsie -

Thank you for your report, and especially for the restaurant recommendations! I am headed for Florence and Venice in May, and have made note of both.

I think it was probably a typo, but for those trying to locate Il Preta on a map, it is on Borgo Oggnissanti, a couple of blocks northeast of the Ponte Amerigo Vespucci.
Lesli is offline  

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