Rich in history, beauty and emotion, Florence is a city where the past and the present feel equally alive. That timeless character has inspired the four experiences in the new Florence Rhapsody package at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. These experiences have all been personally developed by members of the Four Seasons management team to reflect their own passions and interests – helping Four Seasons guests enjoy easy access to some of the city’s rarest, most thrilling opportunities.
Float Above Florence in a Hot-Air Balloon
Popularised in the 18th century, hot-air balloon rides provide a truly magical travel experience. At Four Seasons, guests take off from the historic private park that’s framed by the Hotel’s two Renaissance palazzi. Gently catching the morning breeze, the balloon floats south above the Duomo cathedral, the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio and into the Tuscan countryside. After about an hour, guests land and find a picnic waiting in a field, along with a luxury SUV to drive them back to Four Seasons.
The trip was conceived by Paul Lydka, Head Concierge of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. “Of course there are other balloon tours that start outside Florence, but I realised that our Gherardesca Park is the only place in the central city that’s large enough for a balloon to take off. Thanks to our special location, the balloon travels above all the most famous landmarks. You fly so close to the roof of the Duomo, it’s as if you can touch it. It’s a breathtaking experience, letting our guests see Florence from a whole new angle – above!”
Enjoy a Michelin-Starred Dinner on the Ponte Vecchio
On one of the world’s most iconic bridges – built in the 14th century – Four Seasons guests can enjoy a sumptuous Golden Dinner. Four Seasons Hotel Firenze has secured exclusive access to the bridge’s only open-air terrace, tucked above the glittering jewellery boutique Dante Cardini. As the sun sets, up to four guests can savour unparalleled views of the Arno River before indulging in a four-course gourmet meal designed by the Hotel’s Michelin starred Executive Chef Vito Mollica.
As Mollica explains, “I knew I had to create a menu that would live up to this beautiful setting and enhance the emotions of the moment. The meal features the most sophisticated Tuscan cuisine, and to honour the jewellery shop downstairs, I’ve added a very special ingredient: gold.”
Dine on the Noble Floor of an Historical Palazzo, with Stunning View on the Duomo
The venue is kept secret, so as to preserve the privacy of this family-owned palazzo dated from the 15th century, former residence of Leonardo da Vinci said to be the place where he painted his most famous piece of art, the Gioconda. There, on the fourth floor of this historical Renaissance building designed by Giuliano da Sangallo and located steps away from the Palazzo Vecchio in the city centre, guests can taste the exquisite cuisine of Michelin starred Chef Vito Mollica, with an entirely customisable menu, and live a moment out of time. The view on the Duomo is so spectacular that it seems to have invited itself to the table – decorated for the occasion by the expert care of Artistic Director Vincenzo Dascanio, with cascades of flowers and candles.
This unique experience was conceived by the General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Patrizio Cipollini. “I’m passionate about the history of Florence and I love that our guests can have this first-hand experience of history. It’s truly a thrill to dine so close to the Duomo. My favourite part of the building is the penthouse terrace, with its impressive 360 degree view of the centre of Florence, from Piazza della Signoria to Ponte Vecchio. The experience is even more extraordinary at sunset, with the quiet, peaceful atmosphere, and the sun making both the sky and buildings a pastel pink colour.”
Drive a Vintage Car Through Tuscany
Hotel Manager Daniela Trovato came up with the idea to give Four Seasons guests easy access to classic European sports cars of the 1960s and beyond. “I’ve always adored classic cars and I knew our guests would love exploring Tuscany in a vintage Ferrari or Alpha Romeo. Each car has a personality all its own and that makes the journey even more exciting.”
Guests can choose their favourite car – whether a Fiat Dino 2400, a Lancia Flaminia Coupé or a Bentley Arnage T – and find it waiting upon arrival. To enhance their driving experience, Trovato provides a map for her favourite day trip through the Chianti region. “I want to make sure our guests visit the most iconic villages and vineyards – from Panzano to Casellina. They might stop for lunch at the Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria di Passignano or visit the Antinori winery, one the most important wine producers in Tuscany. It makes for a beautiful day that our guests will remember forever.”
Additionally, from May to September, guests booking the Florence Rhapsody package will also be entitled to enjoy a Cruise on the Arno to experience the riverside landmarks of Florence aboard a 150-year-old traditional Renaioli boat, originally used to collect sand to build the palazzi of Florence. A real Renaiolo serves as captain and guide, ready to answer any questions as he uses long wooden oars to push along the bottom of the river.
With Florence Rhapsody, when guests book a stay of three nights or longer at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, they can choose one of these four experiences. The experiences are also available à la carte.
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