The lowdown Stepping into the cool reception of the Gallery Hotel Art, the influence of the owner - purveyor of Italian cool, Salvatore Ferragamo - is immediately obvious. Dark wood furnishings and clean lines set against white walls; it’s the epitome of modern Italian minimalist luxe. Despite its central location, metres from the famous Ponte Vecchio, it’s surprisingly quiet; a sanctuary away from the tourists wandering along the River Arno. In the evening, pop across the road to sister hotel Hotel Continentale to watch the sun set from the Rooftop Terrace Sky Lounge (after the Duomo, it’s the best view in town), then unwind with a cocktail in hand in the Picteau Lounge, overlooking the Ponte Vecchio.
The rooms Sleek, chic and oh-so-fabulous, the 74 rooms at the Gallery Hotel Art are beautifully designed. Think chrome lamps, crisp white linen bed sheets and tan leather chairs. If you’re feeling flush, book one of the suites on the top floor. Bright, spacious and opening onto huge private terraces, it’s the perfect place to top up your tan when the midday sun makes it too hot to sightsee.
Out and about From the world famous Uffizi art gallery, architecturally a work of art in itself and housing Botticelli’s Spring, to the stunningly beautiful Duomo (a five-minute walk from the Gallery Hotel Art), the list of Florentine must-sees is endless. Fashion addicts should take a stroll down Via Tornabuoni - lined with the best Italian designers including Prada, Gucci and Armani, it makes for fabulous fantasy shopping. For those on more of a budget, check out the San Lorenzo leather market. The buttery soft leather gloves in a rainbow of colours are to die for. For lunch, avoid the tourist-packed cafes in the main squares. Instead, pick up a picnic from the Zeb deli (2 Via San Miniato, 055 2342864) and head to the beautiful Bobili Gardens to enjoy in peace.
Eating and drinking Pre-dinner, pop downstairs to the Gallery Hotel Art’s Fusion Bar; barman Karim mixes the best cocktails in town. Stay put if you fancy Italian / Asian fusion food served up by chef Emanuele Cappellini, or head to nearby Hotel Lungarno’s Borgo San Jacopo restaurant to dine on beautifully presented modern Italian food cooked using locally sourced ingredients. For a truly traditional Tuscan experience, try Ristorante La Giostra (12 Borgo Pinti, 0055 241341). Located off the beaten track, and with no sign outside its front door, it’s one of Florence’s hidden culinary gems. Track it down and you’ll find it’s well worth the extra effort - reward yourself with a delicious bowl of linguine and a large glass of Barolo.
The details Doubles at the Gallery Hotel Art start from 160 euros (£140) per person per night, including breakfast, based on two adults sharing. For further information and reservations call 0039 0566 866302 or visit galleryhotelart.com
By Jess Tibbits