Nicky Swallow has lived and worked in Florence for more than twenty years and is a regular contributor to guide books and magazines in both Britain and the US. She is an editor of Charming Small Hotel Guides: Tuscany & Umbria (pub. Duncan Petersen). The hotels, restaurants and other events included in 'An Insider's Tuscany' are a personal, independent selection on the part of the author and The Florentine receives no money from the establishments concerned.
Venice—La Serenissima—is extra-ordinary and unique, one of the world’s great sites. Impossibly romantic, it has fascinated art-ists, writers and travellers for centuries. In our traffic-clogged and fast-moving age, its ‘other world-ness’ is still an endless source of
In spite of an abundance of twinkling white lights, a fair showing of tasteful decorations and a token Mercato di Natale in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence is not most people’s fantasy Christmas destination. Buy the presents here and move on. If you are after a good dose
More than 7 million tourists pile into Florence each year, so it stands to reason that this small city suffers from serious overcrowding. Add severe traffic problems and the resulting levels of noise and pollution, and it’s not surprising that many visitors opt for accommodation that is situated
Tuscany is full of natural hot springs or ‘terme,’ many of which date from Roman or even Etruscan times and whose waters, originating from deep within the earth’s crust, have long been associated with curative properties. Each individual spring has a different make up in terms
The famously insular little city of Siena is a fascinating place full of beautiful buildings and artistic treasures; it is also home to one of Italy’s most glorious squares, the fan-shaped Piazza del Campo which provides the theatrical backdrop to the annual Palio. Millions of tourists descend
Florence is a city with a rich musical past. During the mid-15th century, it was one of the most exciting places in the world to be living and working as a musician thanks to the work of a group of intellectuals known as the Florentine Camerata. They had begun
If you have had enough of impersonal hotel rooms with indifferent service and like the idea of a bit of luxury combined with the atmosphere of an elegant private residence, 12-room Casa Howard could provide the answer. Occupying a handsome palazzo on Via della Scala (a