Oh, be still my heart! Outside my 5th floor window Brunelleschi’s dome looms, tempting me to reach out and touch it as it hammers my heart with its magnificence. It leaves me breathless. From a second window, I can see the top portion of the Santa Croce façade, the towers and spires of the Bargello, the Badia Fiorentina, and Palazzo Vecchio. Hotel Brunelleschi, named for the district where Filippo Brunelleschi lived, is situated in the heart of Florence, and everything that a visitor would wish to see is a heartbeat away. A perfect central location, it is an easy walk to the Academia, to the elegant Piazza della Republica, to the historic and artistic complex of the Uffizi Galleries and the Palazzo Signoria, to the sacred Santa Croce and to the gold shops of Ponte Vecchio…but most importantly to the Duomo, its dome designed by Brunelleschi in 1446.
Hotel Brunelleschi is the result of years of careful planning and skilled renovation work, a structure that now blends into one unified complex several architecturally significant buildings, not the least of which is the Pagliazza Tower, that dates back to the 6th and 7th centuries, making it the oldest building still standing in the historical center of the city. The tower had been almost completely hidden by other structures over the centuries, so that in the process of restoration, it was “liberated” and thus opened up a window into Florence’s ancient past, recovering in its cellars remnants of a Roman caldarium.
Inside the hotel, the contemporary décor is understated in a palette of mirror and crystal, brushed metallic hues of platinum and pewter, and accents of ruby red – colors and textures that complement the warmth of brick and stone, wood and travertine. The services leave nothing to be desired, every comfort is made available through concierge assistance, room service, and a well-equipped fitness center. Lounge areas provide a quiet retreat and rest from a busy day of sight-seeing or shopping. Dining options include the refined and intimate atmosphere of the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant, or the informal venue of the Osteria Pagliazza, both serving traditional Tuscan fare, always a feast.
As for me, I could simply feast on the views from my windows. And as I do, the church bells peal, ringing in a new day…
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
View from Hotel Brunelleschi ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson