Florence: A luxurious 48 hours in Tuscany’s capital – what to do for a gourmet getaway

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Based inside the Tuscany region, Florence is full of class, art, history, great wine and fine dining. I was lucky enough to experience this all during a two-day trip to the city.

Dimora Palanca

I arrived at the Dimora Palanca around 5pm in the afternoon.

While it was just off a main road, it felt strikingly private as soon as you walked inside.

There were soft tones of music playing in the background which complemented the art decor.

Immediately I was greeted by friendly staff at reception who checked me in and carried my bags to my room.

I was on the first floor so decided to walk up the grand staircase, however there was a lift if needed.

My room was large with a king size bed against the right wall.

There was a mini fridge filled with water and refreshing soft drinks as well as some snacks.

The room – like the hotel – had a prominent tranquil feel and I had views of the garden from my window.

One of the most impressive parts for me was the spacious bathroom which was fitted with both a standalone shower and jet bathtub.

I quickly unpacked my case before heading down to the bar for a drink.

The decor throughout the hotel was impressive and focussed on art and the ceilings in the bar and sitting room had intriguing illustrations across them. Outside was a private patio and garden.

Cordon Bleu Cooking School Firenze

Italy is known for it’s incredible food and it is no surprise that this was a key part of my trip. 

On my first night, I headed to the cooking school to learn all the tricks of the trade from the experts. I sipped on wine while watching cooking demonstrations on how to make four courses, and I also got to chip in and help. 

The courses included: Fettunta o Bruschetta, Risotto Al Baccalà Alla Livornese, Inzimino Di Calamari in Bianco and Tiramisu Ai Cantuccini.

We also made fresh pasta and I was called upon to help. This was made from scratch using eggs, flour and a special kneading technique. After filling up on the three fresh main courses, it was time for dessert and for this we made Tiramisu. 

Tiramisu is often synonymous with Italy, however we made it in what I was told was the ‘Florence way’ – different from what I have tried before. Instead of coffee and chocolate, the cream was mixed with sweet dessert wine, soaked biscuits and almonds for an indulgent treat. 

Before heading off, I was rewarded for my contribution with a certificate and I headed back to the hotel with a full stomach.


I stayed in the hotel on a B&B basis and breakfast was served in the dining room from 8am.

Food was served a la carte with one of the most extensive breakfast menus I have ever been presented with.

When I sat down, friendly members of staff offered up coffees, teas and juices and brought breads and pastries to nibble on while I browsed the menu.

Guests can choose from various egg dishes, pastries and sweet treats and other cooked options.

I settled on smoked salmon and avocado on toast, served with a poached egg.

I enjoyed two breakfasts at the hotel and couldn’t resist having the same thing on both days.

The staff were attentive but there was no pressure to leave, so after finishing my food I sat and enjoyed another Americano.

The dining room had traditional decor including interesting sculptures and artwork.

Truffle hunting at Savini Tartufi

The food theme continued with a trip Truffle hunting in a lot around a one hour drive from the hotel.

While it was not an activity I’d tried before, my love of truffles made this very intriguing to me. We arrived in a quiet, private part of the country where we were escorted to the forest where the hunting took place. 

Teamed with expert Luca and the incredibly friendly hunting dogs, I headed into the woods. 

To my amazement, it was only minutes before the dogs found truffles and would begin to dig and bark to alert us to their treasure.After finding a few, the weather started to turn so it was back to have some lunch. We sat inside a newly renovated cabin which was warm and cosy with the smell of fresh truffle floating through the air. 

The chef cooked in front of us and I was then treated to a meal of canapes, truffle pasta and even truffle infused ice cream. All the food was locally sourced and incredibly tasty. 

Monterosola Winery tour and wine tasting

After finishing off the meal, it was time to head to the Monterosola winery. 

The winery was only bought by the current owners in 2013 but already it is producing an array of delicious wines to be enjoyed. 

My visit started with a tour which enlightened me to the art of creating a delicious wine. While the weather was damp, there were still some stunning views on offer as we looked over the vineyard. 

The building even had a function area so weddings and large parties could take place with the stunning views. After the detailed tour, it was time to try the wine for myself. The vineyard was fitted with a tasting room which had four stations for different sessions to take place.

The layout of the stations was open which would allow even bigger groups to take part in wine tastings together.

Mimesi restaurant

It was on the second evening I was able to sample the fine dining on offer at the hotel.

As well as the main dining room, I discovered there was another place guests can dine in the hotel.

Hidden down a set of stairs was a cosy room, the Mimesi restaurant. Inviting guests to ‘taste the art’, I knew each meal would be served with only the best presentation.

The chef Giovanni Cerroni has a focus on creating seasonal dishes, many of which I got to try that evening.I tucked into the five course menu with pairing wines.

A core theme behind the menu was sustainability and this was recognisable instantly with servings low in meat but high in seasonal produce.

What is served regularly changes keeping this in mind.

I had courses of mushroom, lovage and parsley root, followed by cauliflower, almond and buttermilk and sunchokes capelietti, artichokes and black lime, among other dishes.

A personal highlight was the mushroom, lovage and parsley root.

Each course of the menu was paired with a wine carefully selected to complement the food.

We started with fizz in the form of Nussbaumer Gewurztraminer Alto Adige, DOC 2020 – a personal favourite of mine.

Throughout the meal I sipped on a selection of white and dessert wines. These included Palai Muller Thurgau Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Arneta Tenuta Bella Fonte, Derthona La Colombere and finished with Le Petit, Manicor.

Check out

After another restful sleep among the soft white sheets, it was time to pack my things.I had a late checkout of 12pm and left the hotel to explore the town quickly before heading for my flight. 

The town was a quick 15 minute walk and the hotel was also situated near to the train station. 

On my travels home, I reflected on my first time in Florence.

While I got caught up in some unpleasant weather, I realised that there was lots to do not matter how damp it was outside. The city is full of hidden gems and luxury outings without losing it’s history and it is definitely somewhere I hope to return.

For more information, prices and to book your trip, visit:

Dimora Palanca https://www.dimorapalanca.com/it/

Monterosola Winery www.monterosola.com

Cordon Bleu cooking school https://www.cordonbleu-it.com/en-gb/home-en

Savini Tartufi https://www.savinitartufi.it/en/

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