Hen Weekend in Florence

Hi. I am a Londoner living in Florence. I am soon to be married, back in the UK, but I am having my Hen Weekend out here. I have been searching high and low all over town and the surrounding countryside for what to do. It has not been easy, and seems a shame to waste the effort, so I am here to share it with you.

venerdì 25 aprile 2008



Arggghhh... obviously not as young as I had imagined...

After last nights adventure into the Florentine dancing sceen, reports are not good. A group of friends had arranged an evening out, here is the subsequent review.

TWICE: Great if you are under 25, like to be surrounded by awkward boys sporting the latest in silly jeans and 'fashion hair'. Also great if you have money to BURN on drinks (my mini bottle of coke cost 10 Euro....it was aperitivo time...but still ....a coke is a coke whatever time of day it is). The music was OK, but the DJ can't spin for toffee.

By half past midnight, it had become unbearable, and bed began its soft call.......What was amazing, but not surprising was the queue of youth outside the door waiting to take my place......there is no accounting for taste in our teen years!

MONTE CARLA: Near Ponte alle Grazie, south side. This place doesn't get going until after 1am......and it has a naughty reputation.....I used to go years and years back....and if only I could stay up that long I would return.... perhaps next week

GLAMOUR: Near the Uffizi Gallery. I am planning to go there too, this has been recommended to me by some Italian girl friends, so that is quite a good start.....

martedì 22 aprile 2008

Hen Weekend- Before Dinner Drink - Aperitivo

The Aperitivo
(the before dinner drink with culinary delights)

Florence has a great before dinner drinks scene. There are lots of places to choose from, and a wide variety in quality and price....

The 6.30 pm to 9 pm (roughly) evening slot has become part of the evening scene for locals and visitors. With bars and restaurant/bars competing for clients there is quite a variety of vibes to choose from.

I would liken it to happy hour....but that would be misleading in the worst sense....here is the background:

8pm is the traditional family evening meal time. Since office jobs tend to knock-off at 7pm, there in lies the origin of friends meeting for an Aperitivo after work. So it is kind of that happy hour time of day, without the cheapness or nasty cocktail connotations.

This is how it works:
  • Choose you bar (I have a few suggestions of where to find what you are looking for)
  • Pay between 8 and 10 Euro for your first drink, and then less for each of the drinks after that. (normally, although some bars - NOIR for example, like to carry on charging you the 9 Euro price even on your second drink...which I think is a bit cheeky...Noir is good though, so I suggest perhaps one drink there.....then on to somewhere else)
  • Then you get a plate and join the throng of people at the buffet! This is where your 10Euro price tag is supposedly justified....so make sure you choose a place that serves some good food. (which is ultimately why I am trying to write this blog to help)

So where does the best Buffet in Town:
Ok, so firstly I want to mention that as in most towns things change, and I am not going to be updating this every week, so check the date of this post, and perhaps post me a question, so that I can give you more current info if you are reading this way down the line after it is posted....

Rifrullo: San Nicolo area, south of arno, near the San Miniato Gate. Good, slightly older funky local crowd. Well known with Florence Locals. Lovely area, worth a visit anyway. Also, there is a good restaurant up the hill from there are Fuori Porta (it is very close, just the otherside of the ciry wall, but you need to book if you are a group)
Noir: Can be expensive for more than one drink, but the buffet is good, and it is more central than Rifrullo, just along the river, west, one bridge down stream from Ponte vecchio...and as a result has more tourists in.

To be continued.......

sabato 19 aprile 2008

Hen Weekend - Somewhere to stay

The important thing (I think) about your accommodation in Florence is location, where is it in relation to everything else you want to do.

There are so many places to stay in Florence itself and the surrounding area that it all comes down to location and budget. The center of town is very easy to walk around, but further out and you will get fed up with walking or trying to squeeze everyone onto a bus. The pavements in Florence are wide enough for a small dog, but not that conducive to groups of girls all chatting and eating ice-cream! If you can afford to then find a hotel in the central pedestrian zone.

I suggest that as you search you try checking the location of your potential accommodation on this map I have created. The idea is to indicate what different parts of the city are like so you know what to expect from the environment of your accommodation.

City Map: Right Click on the link and open in a new window, so you can keep reading here......
I recommend you make sure your accommodation is in the Central or South East quarter of the city. This means everything is in walking distance, and you are away from the overly busy/or particularly grubby areas.

Out of Town: I haven't created a map of the surrounding area of Florence, too huge. If you are getting accommodation out of town, don't forget to bear in mind how you are going to get into town. Parking and road restrictions make driving a hire car into the center is a bit of a headache. There is public transport, but it is not particularly frequent, and may not go to where you hotel is. The hotel/residence may be able to organize transfers into town for you, check before you book what the prices are, and how many people they can take at one time.