Cookie-cutter Holiday Inn, this hotel is not. Housed in a building dating from the 1400s, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What MrsMJ and I received is a comfortable stay close to everything that is important to see in a visit to Florence, Italy. The staff was very friendly, and could not have been more welcoming. In short, our stay was fantastic!

We arrived Florence via Trenitalia, and on the advice of the hotel, took a taxi for the 1-kilometer journey to the hotel from the train station. While I am quite capable of walking that distance, I wouldn’t recommend it with luggage in the rain. The taxi was 10 Euros well spent. I had read in advance that hotel actually resides on the third floor of the building, and you must take one flight of stairs to reach the lift, which will take you the rest of the way. A minor issue for us, and in fact, our arrival with luggage was the last time we would use the lift. We found it just as easy to walk the stairs, and it was probably good for us too!

After navigating the stairs and lift, we entered the hotel where we were immediately assisted with check-in formalities, and then escorted to our room, 27, which was up one flight of stairs not far from the front desk. We were quite lucky to receive the room we did as it had a view of the river and included a small balcony that we unfortunately, did not make much use of as we filled our days with touring Florence and the surrounding area, and our nights exploring the nearby areas of the city and enjoying some very nice meals and wine. Here are a few pictures of our room.

The hotel offers complimentary wi-fi that worked very well. I did find that it worked better on the main level of the hotel than in our room, which I assume is closer to the wireless router, because I found the speed to really pick up when we were enjoying breakfast on the main level. Continental breakfast was included in the price of the room, by the way. (One side note: In the evenings, we usually stopped by a café called Queen Victoria, which was just around the corner from the Alessandra. Good wine, good gelato, and complimentary wi-fi that was very fast.)

In summary, I can’t say enough positive things about the Hotel Alessandra and their staff. They were helpful, friendly, and tolerant of my feeble attempts to speak Italian, which I am sure was not easy. When we return to Florence, rest assured we plan to return to the Hotel Alessandra. You can also visit their Facebook page.

You might remember that MrsMJonTravel and I are departing for Italy in late October. The ultimate goal of our trip is to arrive in Venice by November 4th, so we can board Celebrity Cruises latest beauty, Celebrity Reflection. But we have a few days to play with. We’ll spend one day in Rome, and then board a train for Florence. And from there….. we will explore as much of Tuscany as we can in the time we have. I really do not want to drive in Italy, but it looks like we may need to rent a car to really maximize our experience. On the other hand….the only reason to go is to drink wine. You get my drift? I’m considering hoteling in Florence and looking into a professional driver/tour guide (not cheap, but safer for all of us).

Now… to be sure, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if this trip were planned for the summer. I’d have the planning done already because there wouldn’t be anywhere to stay during the summer this late in the game (probably). Crowding won’t be such an issue in November. For those of you more versed in Italy, what would you do? Bite the bullet and rent a car? Or try to hub in Florence and set up a tour of some sort just to play it safe? I’ve been to Rome, Milan, and Naples, but not the Tuscan region, and with all the move logistics, I just haven’t had time to go camp out at Barnes and Noble (believe me, that’s coming soon) and do a little reading. I’d love to hear your ideas on how to take on Tuscany in a short amount of time.

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