Art to heart: Head to Florence for the ultimate room with a view and romantic renaissance

Florence, ItalyGETTY

Luckily, it’s possible to stay in the exact hotel where the 1985 movie adaptation was filmed, so anyone can enjoy Lucy Honeychurch’s famously bewitching view.

The Hotel Degli Orafi overlooks the river Arno and Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.

And although our room wasn’t the actual one used in the film (that’s room 414), luckily it had a similarly stunning view.

While the city has changed immensely since the early 20th century, there’s still something magical about it that softens the most cynical of hearts.

You’d be hard pushed to see all the sights Florence has to offer in a three-day stay (not least the churches – there are more than 60).

In the days of Forster, people spent on average four weeks in each city as part of their Grand Tour.

Without that luxury of time, we cherry-picked what to see.

Concentrating on some of the places in the book is a good way to go.

Fuelled by a buffet breakfast the next morning, served in the hotel’s ballroom decorated with 19th-century frescoes, we started off visiting Santa Croce.

Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.GETTY

Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.

It’s the great Franciscan convent church of Florence – the Peruzzi chapel is decorated with frescoes by Giotto and it houses the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo and Alfieri.

While not mentioned in A Room With A View, you can’t avoid the Duomo (or cathedral) of Florence.

Its dome dominates the city and its Gothic architecture and pink marble façade dazzle the eyes.

Be prepared for the queues, however. In 1908 there were fewer tourists and they had no selfie sticks, which is why visiting in autumn or spring is wise.

Before we headed to the Piazza della Signoria (where Lucy is caught by George after seeing an Italian man killed), we went for lunch at the much-revered Trattoria Mario, near Mercato Centrale.

Refuelled after soup and pasta, we wandered to the great square of Florence, formerly the Roman forum, to see the Palazzo Vecchio and the Neptune fountain.

It’s in pursuit of another view that the “incident” between the young pair happens in the book, and it’s easy to see why.

Instead of horse-drawn carriages to Fiesole and Settignano up in the hills, we took the number seven bus and the panorama on a clear day from San Francesco convent is romance incarnate.

The Uffizi Gallery, next to our hotel, houses a celebrated collection of Italian paintings and sculptures.

More than 100 rooms display art, so a guide is helpful to pick out the key paintings to see.

Ours expertly wove us through the ages and provided interesting background on the likes of Botticelli’s Birth Of Venus and Leonardo’s recently restored Adoration Of The Magi.

Tired after a day of sightseeing, we deserved the Tuscan speciality for dinner: Bistecca alla Fiorentina, aka T-bone steak.


La Buchetta, a restaurant just five minutes’ walk from the hotel, was the perfect place to sample it and one of the trip’s culinary highlights.

With just a morning left before our flight home, we ambled down now more familiar cobbled streets, perused the local produce in the Mercato Centrale, watched the world go by in San Lorenzo square and had one last longing look out of our bedroom window.

Florence might have changed since the time of EM Forster, but it still gives you a refreshed perspective on life.

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Post Author: martin

Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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