Hotel della Signoria in Florence Italy

Looking for a place in the heart of Florence, Italy close to high end shopping, street venders, the leather market, and the sites? Good service, clean rooms, and included good breakfast (at least with our booking) can all be found at Hotel della Signoria. Easy walking distance to Duomo, Galleria degli Uffizi, and Ponte Vecchio.

Hotel della Signoria

This centrally located hotel in Florence still uses keys made of metal rather than key cards of plastic. There is something substantial to carry a key, and there is some added stress of worrying of losing that one key. The Giants found out half way through the stay that most guests left the room key with the front desk while not in their rooms.

Breakfast on the top floor that was included with the Giants stay included made to order eggs, attentive service, many options for travelers from cereal to cakes (and a full English breakfast), and excellent views of the red rooftops of Florence.

Giants rating of breakfast as compared to other “included” hotel breakfasts:

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One of the Giants rooms had an awkward set up for the shower. The room is for two and if those two do not have a close relationship things could be delicate. The clear shower door is placed center of the room rather than off of the bathroom/commode area. This open placement of the shower was the only negative the Giants could find.

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One other warning: ⚠️ if you are driving plan ahead. Getting a car to the hotel takes a phone call to the valet, the valet running to meet the group about a 1/2 mile from the hotel, competitive driving of the car to the hotel, and a drop off. Checking out the car is a lesson in patience since it will be stored offsite and take up to 45 minutes for it to be delivered – and then the adventures of driving through dense pedestrian traffic is all yours.

Giants hotel rating:

Florence, Italy 7/10/18-7/12/18

Bianco’s Vespette e Forchette

Based on style, presentation, and proximity to Vatican City Bianco’s Vespette e Forchette is a restaurant that knows its target audience -tourists. Given the Giants experience this Italian food restaurant in Rome, Italy looks to specifically trying to attract guests from the United States. The decor has stone and brick for a romantic look with scooters to make the place “hip.”

The service was quick and friendly only including three glitches:

  • In Italy there is an American tax where each water loving patriot pays €2.50 to €7 per bottle of H2O. Most prefer still water over carbonated water. At this place the Giants ordered a bottle of still for the table after the request for table (tap) Water was turned down. After taking the order the server said that their still only had a “little natural gas.” Each backpack full with soda and real non-gassed water the group complied with the tax levied. “Little” was full gas and that’s water was consumed by only three Giants.

  • Two appetizers were ordered. No need to do this since olives, bread, and little pizza balls were brought out before the meal.

Sadly one appetizer showed up with the meal after the complementary offerings. Would have been better if the appetizer had arrived early. Happily the second appetizer was forgotten by the waiter and not delivered or charged.

  • The bill was promptly delivered when requested, which often is not the outcome in many European restaurants. The glitch was that getting the staff to allow a credit card to be run was not achieved in the next ten minutes while the Giants stressed making it timely to a special Friday Night at the Vatican. The bill was paid cash by leaving it on the table.

The food was fine, and not something to rave or complain about.

Finish cooking your steak yourself seems to be all the rage in Europe in 2018. Not complaining, simply informing.

Giants’ rating:

Sit, Pic, and Go

Plan 10 minutes for the Spanish Steps and you will get the visit and pictures that you need.

Can you find the Smallest Giant in the picture?

Trevi Fountain and Pantheon are both in walking distance of the steps.

Giants rating:

When in Rome you will see that the Romans aren’t visiting the Spanish Steps. You should visit them though, that’s what everyone says.

Stop for Pictures at Pantheon, Rome

The triple play walk is Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Visiting all three, including walking between them, can be done easily in under an hour. Giants planned 20 minutes to see the Pantheon. That was about 12 minutes too long. Compared to other sites in Rome there simply was not much to take in. Readers will surely disagree. If the Pantheon were in Cleveland, Ohio for instance the Giants likely would have stayed for an hour in ah taking in the splendor of the monument.

Giants rating:

But hey, it’s worth 8 minutes and being able to say you have seen it.

Taxi vs Uber in Rome

Uber is not available as often in Europe as most Giants would like. Giants are traditionally big fans of Uber and Lyft for the convenience and comfort provided. Taking a ride sharing trip usually means transparency in route selection allowing the passengers to see the correct amount of the city and not getting undesired site seeing. Reputation is built on a collection of individual events. Taxis have built their reputation over decades that have allowed Uber to compete. The oldest of the Giant sons inquired after a taxi ride in Rome, “Who do the drivers always call?” One wonders.

In Rome the Giants summoned an Uber for a trip that was quoted as 20 minutes drive time and €40. After 20 minutes had passed the app showed the drive time would still be 25 more minutes. Clearly the driver provided the Giants with additional Roman site seeing that was unwanted. Rather than following the suggested route that avoided city traffic the Uber driver took the family travelers straight into the heart of city traffic. Californias think of it this way: say you need to get from Long Beach to Ontario and your driver takes you through downtown Los Angeles. The Roman Uber driver delivered the Giants to their destination much later than planned at 71% more than quoted (€68.54 instead of €40). A return trip by taxi cost €30 after rounding up for a tip (more efficient route, to a slightly different return location). Essentially Uber charged 128% more than taxi. After complaining through the app Uber brought the charge down to only 28% more than taxi allowing the time waste and site seeing to mostly be the Giants concern.

So who do the taxi drivers call? The Roman taxi driver on the Giants trip was talking to his mamma as seen in the lead picture.