I had the distinct pleasure of escorting 18 couples on a trip we lovingly called “Tuscany by Ferrari.”
We started at the boutique and swank, JK Place hotel in Florence located overlooking Santa Maria Novella – the piazza and the church. Service is here is so personalized and spot on, it will be hard to stay anywhere else!
Our clients loved the pretty rooms, many with wonderful views of the Florentine roof tops and the charming living room and dining room reminiscent of enjoying time at a dear friend’s tastefully elegant home!
Having lived in Florence for a year during my Junior year of Italian, every time I return truly feels like a nostalgic home-coming. I have sure changed as have my hotel options since those days!! But ironically the city is always exactly as you left it – when you visit a city with such history, nothing ever really changes.
A few Restaurant tips to share
Osteria di Giovanni – Located near Santa Maria Novella, this cozy and traditional family run Osteria. Get the traditional Florentine appetizers and suckling roasted pork is an absolute must!
Trattoria Mario – Open for lunch midweek at the Mercato San Lorenzo. Very casual, share a table with complete strangers and check the board to see what is being served. This is the place for traditional Tuscan soups – Ribollita and white bean followed by massive Florentine steaks. The sign says “We do not have ketchup nor American Coffee!” Duh!
Trattoria Parione – One of my favorite meals. It may just be that it was our first meal arriving into Italy but it may also have been our charming and attentive waiter and the incredible bottle of wine to which he upgraded us!
A walking tour of Florence and a guide to take you through the highlights of the Accademia and the Uffizi in order to avoid the crowds is a must! There is such an astounding amount of art in Florence that it truly is a dizzying affair but an exceptional treat if done right.
Who doesn’t love a slice or two of pizza at the Duomo!
Nothing feels quite like the “good old days” than a morning run across the Ponte Vecchio and up to Piazzale Michelangelo and further still to the Monastery at San Miniato. Truly the best views of the city to be found here plus a spectacular work out!
Off to Chianti today where we arrived to Castello del Nero and our Ferrari extravaganza
The Ferraris drive along the famous Mille Miglia route offers a breathtakingly picturesque panorama, enhanced by the pure pleasure of driving over an amazing succession of rolling hills and never-ending curves!
Our guests were treated to the latest models including the limited edition Ferrari 458 Speciale, Ferrari 458 Italia/Spider, Ferrari California, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, Ferrari FF, Ferrari 430 Scuderia F1, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1, Ferrari F430 Spider F1, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1! How did we chose who going to drive which vehicle? We placed all of the keys in a basket and let each person enjoy the luck of the draw. Everyone had the option to trade vehicles throughout the trip with willing participants.
Cyling in Chianti is definitely not for the faint of heart! While my pictures may look tame, I was not able to capture any shots as we were huffing up incredibly steep and sometimes several mile inclines. It was a spectacular work out which was truly needed after so many great meals and the views and rides through the picturesque hill towns kept us exhilarated!
The best dinner of the week was at Michelin Star Osteria Pasignano di Antinori winery – what a beautiful setting with truly incredible meal and simply unforgettable wines! Cant wait to receive my shipment!!
Another special winery which I highly recommend for lunch is Verrazzano – such history and very special wines. The charcuterie and cheese plate – a huge one per person was a delight!! And those that wanted a vegetarian option received a luscious plate of locally grown, organic grilled produce with olive oil.
Cooking class with the Chef at Castello del Nero was a huge success on a gorgeous Tuscan day! The specialty, stuffed pastas, a fresh ragout, and tiramisu.