Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 4, 50121 Firenze, Italy
Ahh… to experience Florence from this location! This relatively new hotel will be forever associated with the 1985 movie “A Room with a View,” based on E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel by the same name. When it came time to choose a hotel to represent “Pensione Bertolini” in the film, the old Locanda Quisisana e Ponte Vecchio, in business since 1903, was selected. Unfortunately, the nearby terrorist bombing aimed at the Uffizi Galleries in 1993 damaged the building so badly that it was forced to close. Out of this misfortune, the exquisitely beautiful 4-star Hotel degli Orafi was born, re-opening its doors in 2002. Renovations took eight years.
In the elegant interior of this 13th century Florentine structure overlooking the Arno, once an Augustinian Convent, before becoming the private residence of a noble family, the past and the present mingle delightfully. A romantic by nature, I think of Lucy Honeychurch and her disappointment in the story (and in the movie) at not getting the room with a view that she had hoped for. As a matter of fact, Room #22 offered a view of the river, greatly obstructed by the Vasari Corridor. Our 2nd floor room today offers the same view, but oh, how exciting to open our shutters and think that we could almost touch the walls that Vasari built! We are completely enveloped in the historical architecture of Florence: the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi, the Signoria and the Duomo are within our reach. The much sought-after “Room with a View” does indeed offer a lofty view of the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno from its private terrace. The hotel’s terrace garden tea room offers heart-stopping views of the Arno on one side and Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Signoria on the other.
Besides the panoramic views, there are many pleasures to be had, inside the hotel, from gracefully appointed bedrooms and intimate sitting rooms on each floor to the breakfast room, once a private ballroom, with its vaulted ceiling covered in 19th century frescoes. Here the temptation to linger over the generous breakfast offerings struggles with the allure of artistic and cultural offerings of the city at our fingertips. There is sweet compensation – in the late afternoon or early evening, guests can enjoy tea or an aperitif, with a light snack and watch the sun set over the cupolas, towers and terracotta rooftops of Florence. Ahh… there is nothing like a room with a view!
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
View from Hotel degli Orafi ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson