Hotel Review: The NH Porta Rossa in Florence, Italy
If there’s one city that manages to successfully capture the essence of Italy, it can only be Florence. Famed for Dante’s ‘Divinia Commedia’ – the first great work of Italian literature to be written in the Tuscan dialect, which later went on to form the foundations of the modern Italian language – Florence is awash with art and history, most notably renowned for the Renaissance period. From Giotto to Donatello, Botticelli to Da Vinci, every prominent artist from this era is represented in Florence – and it’s this, along with many other qualities, that thousands of visitors flock to the city for every single day.
Nowadays, however, this city is about much more than just the past, and Florence has also earned itself a reputation for being one of the best shopping cities in Europe. Its streets are lined with designer boutiques and market stalls selling quality, real leather products – not to mention, of course, the plethora of skilful paintings and drawings you can take home that capture the spirit of the city. A hotspot for foodies, it also boasts an array of good fine dining restaurants and ‘Osterias’ – though finding them is often a challenge amongst the tourist-packed cafes and ‘trattorias’ that are found in the central areas.
The NH Porta Rossa, which had just been awarded its 5th star in March – the month we arrived for our visit from Rome – is located just a few minutes’ walk from the famous Duomo and the Uffizzi Gallery. Galleria dell’Accademia – home to Michelangelo’s most iconic sculpture, David – is also just a stone’s throw away, with the picture-perfect Ponte Vecchio and the busy Piazza della Signorina in easy reach by foot.
When it comes to city breaks, it has to be said that location is everything, especially for those who are planning to do a lot of walking. This accessible hotel was just what our feet, tired from a few days of roaming Rome, wanted to find waiting for us, and we were pleased to give that box on our checklist a great big tick.
Thought to be the oldest hotel not just in Florence but in the whole of Italy, setting foot inside the NH Porta Rossa is like stepping back in time. From its impressive 13th Century tower to its stained glass and ancient fresco-adorned ceilings, and the scattering of beautiful antique furniture throughout, it has been lovingly preserved and restored – so much so, that the hotel’s recent renovation has earned it recognition as the ‘Best Renovation of an Existing Building’.
Nowadays, the hotel exudes a unique style that seamlessly blends old world charm with modern and contemporary design pieces – the latter being most apparent in its 72 minimalistic rooms. Whilst some bear centuries-old frescoes on their ceilings, others are more pared down, featuring modern furnishings in ivory and cream, with statement red accents throughout.
Foodies will be delighted at the NH Porta Rossa, and it has to be said that the breakfast may well have been the highlight of our entire stay. With an extensive buffet laid out every morning that is laden with countess varieties of cheeses, meats, fresh fruit and pastries, guests are also provided with the opportunity to sample some authentic Tuscan breakfast dishes – including the delicious ‘ribollita’ – a thick, hearty soup made with bread, vegetables and cannellini beans, and ‘Pappa al Pomodoro’- a similar concept prepared with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil and garlic – a dish that made it onto my plate every morning, without fail.
The buffet certainly isn’t short on drinks options, either, with an endless selection of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, and refreshing infused waters – plus a glass or two of prosecco, if you like to start early! Of course, any Italian will tell you that a good day must begin with a great cup of coffee, and although a little strong for my personal tastes, the cappuccinos here are on point.
In the afternoons and evenings, the breakfast restaurant transforms into the atmospheric Savini Tartufi Truffle restaurant. Offering an impressive gastronomic experience based around – you’ve guessed it – truffles, in partnership with Savini Tartufi, the menu also offers a range of tasty regional dishes, and for those who like to stay behind for a tipple or two afterwards, there’s a sleek bar to keep you entertained.
Due to its central location, where space is at a premium, there is no gym or spa at the Porta Rossa – but we were so busy out and about, exploring the beautiful city, that we didn’t so much as bat an eyelid.
Serving as the perfect base for our short break in Florence, the hotel offered a comfortable experience and pleasant service, and we’d certainly recommend it for those looking for an authentic Tuscan experience.
In a Nutshell:
Exuding Tuscan charm and with a nod to Florence’s rich history, the NH Porta Rossa is the place to stay if you want to really feel as if you’ve stepped back into a bygone age, as well as putting you in prime position throughout your time in the city. It is worth noting that rooms are simpler than those you might find in a modern hotel, but an enchanting downstairs area, beautiful historic features and decadent food make this a thoroughly enjoyable place to stay.
Address: Via Porta Rossa, 19, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Phone: +39 055 271 0911