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3 things to do in Florence to enjoy Christmas in advance

Christmas starts early in Florence. In mid-November the city is enlighten with decorations and lights of all kinds. Streets and shops are transformed to create the right Christmas atmosphere. Shop windows make adults and children dream and strolling through the streets of the center make you feel the spirit of the holidays, waiting for the magic of December.

If you plan to come to Florence between November and December, there are at least 3 things you should do to start tasting the Christmas season.

  1. Tour of the cribs and exhibition of the Rivoli Boutique Hotel 
    Visiting the city cribs is a centuries-old tradition that has remained alive throughout Italy, not only in Florence.  That’s why every year my family and I dedicate time to visit the wonderful churches of the historic center, and admire the nativity scenes that are true masterpieces of art and craftsmanship. For example, in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the statues of the nativity scene are made by the ceramist Carlo Reggioli and those sited on the outside churchyard - already visible from December 8 - are handmade in terracotta by the artisan Luigi Mariani.

    For us, this has become such an important moment of the year that we have decided to organize a special exhibition (this year at its 7th edition) of great success at the Rivoli Boutique Hotel (that belongs to our family too), just 200 meters from the Grand Hotel Adriatico. An exhibition of artisanal cribs by Maestro Ladurini together with the most popular culture of the Village of Santa Claus, curated by Salvatore Sciuto. Entry is free from December 8th to January 6th.  At the reception of Grand Hotel Adriatico, you can find all the information to visit this exhibition and all the other beautiful cribs downtown.
  2. Sales, sales, sales
    Do you know that the best fashion brands are always on sale in Florence!? A few steps from the Hotel Adriatico, at Santa Maria Novella station, there are special shuttles leaving for the best Outlet Malls of the city. The Mall and Barberino Design Outlet always offer discounts of up to 50% for brands such as Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tom Hilfiger, Michael Kors and many others. After the summer, when most of the tourists have returned home, shopping in the outlets becomes a fun and interesting time. I always suggest it before the Christmas holidays start, because it is worthwhile to astonish those you love with a precious present bought with an equally great saving.
  3. A slice of artisan panettone
    You do not need to wait December to enjoy the fragrant, traditional Italian cake Panettone or other Christmas sweets. Florence is famous for its artisan bakeries and after vising one of our museums, you can stop to have a snack with the best panettone ever, or with the Tuscan ricciarelli, typical Sienese Christmas cookies. Each bar proposes its variants: you can choose between the classic panettone with raisins and the modern ones with pear and chocolate. My advice is to start from the historic pastry shop Rivoire, in Piazza Signoria, with its breathtaking views of the Palazzo Vecchio.

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Autumn in Florence: wine, concerts, exhibitions and tea

Finally Autumn. A unique moment all around the world, because the sun is not too hot anymore, the light of day acquires a unique sweetness and the windows of the city light up in the late afternoon making the atmosphere even more magical. 

Florence becomes more beautiful and romantic than ever.
Romantic because the lungarni are an explosion of colors and lights; because the benches at Piazzale Michelangelo are the most amazing place to enjoy the sunset view; because a kiss in front of the painting of Botticelli's Venus can never be missed. All this wrapped up in the silence and tranquility that the city can offer only in Autumn and Winter, when the crowds are gone and the Florentines regain their city. Truly magic.


Olive oil and wine tastings in the city 

The exquisite Autumn tastes and flavors transform Florence. Olive oil and wine, chestnuts and freshly picked mushrooms become the kings of every table. The city invites you to culinary events and tastings of great wine labels

You can hunt for local producers around the Chianti area or stay downtown: at the Mercato Centrale, under the wonderful windows of the ancient covered market of San Lorenzo, you can stop at the Enoteca Chianti Classico, where excellent Tuscan wine is guaranteed.
If you prefer the green nectar of the olive oil, I recommend a visit to Olivia in Piazza Pitti, a spin-off of the Santa Téa Olive Mill, where you can eat, buy or taste an excellent extra virgin olive oil. 


Exhibitions and Autumn concerts 

Autumn is also the season of exhibitions and concerts, events and happenings that give life to the night.  At Palazzo Strozzi from September 21st 2018 to January 20  2019 you can attend a special exhibition dedicated to the talent and genius of Marina Abramovich, a great retrospective with more than 100 works of this extraordinary woman that has turned upside down contemporary art.

At the Uffizi, from October 9  to December 2 , you can discover Giorgio Vasari, sided by artists from Emilia Romagna, while at Palazzo Pitti from November 13 2018 to March 10  2019 the Florentine porcelain will be featured in the exhibition "Fragili Tesori dei Principi", a fascinating journey between the passions and dreams of the Lorraine Grand Duchy.

David Garrett will be in concert on October 19  at the Mandela Forum and Mario Biondi on December 13  at the Obihall.


The ritual of tea 

When the air starts being chilly, you surely feel like go and sit in one of the many cafés in Florence, order something hot to keep in your hands and get lost in chatter and cups of tea.

You can stop and taste a magnificent tea in the historic Via del Tè store in San Frediano and buy some scented and mysterious teas and infusions to take home with you, and then you can get lost in the alleys full of artisans and art galleries of this historic Florentine district.

Or why don’t you stop in the delicious tisaneria of the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, a few meters from the homonymous square, where tea and pastries are served between ancient counters, perfumes and remedies.


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My first suggestions: 5 things not to be missed in Florence

Let me introduce myself: I am Chiara Caridi, the owner and manager of the Grand Hotel Adriatico and the Rivoli Boutique Hotel in Florence.

I was born and grew up in these hotels, breathing hospitality all day long. I am very proud to represent the third generation of hoteliers in my family. My grandmother Mirra was the first to become an hotelier: in fact, she opened a boarding house in her own home during the post-war Jubilee. She transmitted her passion to my father Gianni, who expanded the hospitality activity together with her, inaugurating the first family hotel in Florence in the '60s.

I can say I inherited the same passion of my father and so it was natural for me to take over the reins of the business. Actually, I graduated with full marks in civil engineering and I travelled to Austria, Germany and England to learn languages. After this linguistic-scientific start, the choice to take care of the family business came naturally, so I started paying my dues in the hotel and today, thanks to the guidance and support of my father, I manage all our properties.

I love traveling, mountains and sport. I am fond of skiing and I go looking for snow whenever I can. This helps me taking a break from everyday life. My own family, together with parents and my job, is a fundamental part of my life.

Managing hotels at first glance may look a trivial job and people often fails to understand the complexity and the continuous innovation that it offers. This is exactly what I love about my work: it is not ordinary, there is no script, it requires continuous updating, even in very distant sectors.

Obviously, you are always at the center of everything: you are our guests! For me, if you want to get customer satisfaction, you need a hotel that is up to date with quality and service, but above all, you have to make guests feel at home. Welcome you with a smile that tells all our passion is essential.

I adore my city and one of my greatest desires is to share with you the Florence that I know, the Florence I have the pleasure to experience as a true Florentine.


For starters, here are some suggestions of things not to be missed in Florence:

  1. A walk in Oltrarno area, from Vespucci bridge to Santo Spirito, among the artisan shops and Florentine shops. We are outside the "magical quadrilateral" of the center, always so crowded with tourists.
  2. If you are in Florence for the first time, you have to visit the Uffizi, one of the most beautiful art galleries in the world, or the Accademia Gallery, home to the memorable artworks of Michelangelo. But remember that there is also something else, from the new Museo dell'Opera del Duomo to Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Pitti, the Stibbert Museum and the Bargello.
  3. Just for one evening, desert the renowned restaurants in the center of Florence and treat yourself to a very florentine lampredotto sandwich eaten in one of Florence's many trippai stands, perhaps followed by a delicious ice-cream ate while strolling along the river.
  4. You cannot absolutely miss the Antico Setificio Fiorentino, where artisans still works on Renaissance looms to make beautiful fabrics. It is located in Via Bartolini, just a few minutes from the hotel.
  5. I love the Officina Santa Maria Novella, an ancient pharmacy perfectly restored where perfumes, soap bars and a many other home and body essences are still produced. 


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