During our fall vacation in Italy, my husband and I shopped, ate and spent nights in Milan’s grand Excelsior Hotel Gallia and Venice’s intimate Philippe Starck designed PalazzinaG, then we left for Florence.
When we arrived at the historic Westin Excelsior Hotel, I learned that its roots date back to the year 1251. By my American standards that’s impressive, but I was almost as fascinated to learn that it was later purchased by Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister in 1833 to be, what I believe was, her private residence.
While in Florence, we spent a special evening with our friends Dawn and Ennio, from California, and another evening with new friends Graziella and Mark, from Malta. We explored, shopped, socialized and ate our way through the capitol city of Tuscany.
On our fourth night in Florence, my husband and I took a cooking class in an ancient farmhouse, located in the Tuscan hills outside the city. The 1000 year old palace sized farmhouse had been sold and divided into 5 spacious historic apartments during the 1980s. Today, the apartments are owned and run co-op style. Chef Sandra, our teacher, is the owner of the beautiful apartment in which we cooked.
The kitchen’s bones, built in the 1700s, are relatively young compared to the rest of the house. Although, the architecture is original, the modern amenities are obviously new.