The rest of us all made it on time and with no luggage hiccups this year! We checked in and was able to relax, catch a quick cat nap, get some Euros from the ATM and get ready for our first full evening in Florence.
We are staying in the Hotel Brunelleschi which is the best place to stay for the money while in Florence. It is right in the middle of all the action and is extremely convenient. The hotel was redecorated a few years ago and is just stunning - a great combination of old and modern - transitional I like to say, and they nailed it. The staff is fantastic and I have had the same staff here for me for over 14 years.
We all met in the Hotel bar for a welcome cocktail and then it was a short walk to the Piazza del Duomo and the restaurant right there on the piazza - Buca san Giovanni Nothing better than dining right on the street with the duomo as your backdrop on your first night in Italy. We started with an appetizer mixer that seemed endless and then our main course. Ok, everyone thinks pasta and pizza when they come to Italy, but in Tuscany steak is king! The Bistecca all a Fiorentina is the way to go! I warn everyone these are big…. and yes they are! Two steaks can handle a table of 16 well my travelers must have been hungry as they order six of them! I love the looks on their faces when the waiter drops these massive steaks on a cutting board in front of them. A little chianti, steaks, the cool fall air and the duomo as a backdrop - how better to kick off the first evening???