Hotel Baglioni, Florence

posted on: Saturday, 22 June 2013

The view of Il Duomo from the Grand Hotel Baglioni's rooftop cafe in Florence

Hotel Baglioni's rooftop terrazza

Up close and personal: the impressive view from the cafe at the Biblioteca delle Oblate

If you're looking for a way to be a tourist, without being a tourist in Florence, may I recommend a rooftop?

With bus loads of people pulling up and summer temperatures soaring to 35 degrees, there is a more civilised way to view Florence's undisputed beauty, Il Duomo: the red-tiled dome that stands in the centre of town.

A street way from the site is the Caffetteria della Biblioteca delle Oblate which provides one of the closest public views of the dome.The cafe terrace which sits atop the library is a chilled, low-key space filled primarily with students and professors discussing their Florentine idols: Michealangelo, Vasari, Dante and Da Vinci.

The food is simple and good quality, with many coffee options. I had a ricotta and spinach spread on panini with a ripe sun-dried tomato and I enjoyed it simply with a macchiato. But the best part is that you are so close that you can clearly see the intricate tiling, ornate doors and an impressive stature of Brunelleschi's architectural masterpiece.

For a different view and more upmarket ambience, head a few streets south to the Hotel Baglioni, a grand old-style hotel. On the fifth floor is a stunning rooftop garden shaded with jasmine throughout. There are no students and lively debate here, rather this is a great place to have a refined aperitif and enjoy the stunning view of the city. They serve a Tuscan degustation menu from lunch onwards.

Et voila! No sweating or waiting in queues, just brilliant views!

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