The heart of the Hotel Brunelleschi

A passion for hospitality

December 14, 2015

I have been working in the hospitality industry for thirty years and my passion for this kind of work began almost as a child. When my father worked as a Head Concierge in one of the most prestigious hotels in Florence, it happened that we were to take the family for a walk or a dinner. On those occasions, I remained fascinated by his elegance and refined manners that had to clients. Everything was perfect, gleaming, luxurious, and every time I spellbound watching those environments so special. I think I understood even then to love this.
Over the years I have faced many challenges. I particularly remember one of my “first opening” for the first five-star hotel in Genoa, the Bentley Hotel (now Meliá Genova). The goal was to open the facility in time for the Salone Nautico di Genova. We managed to open two weeks before, with great satisfaction of all staff members and society.
At the Hotel Brunelleschi, however, a particularly important moment that I remember very well was the entry of the first Guest after the refurbishment of the lobby and public areas: a great satisfaction and liberation!
The Brunelleschi is a special place. The hotel itself is history. Here you can experience a stay IN the history. The oldest building still standing in the centre of Florence, the Tower of Pagliazza, is the entrance of the hotel. In the basement of the building there is a steam bath of the Roman Baths and a museum (open only for hotel guests) that houses artefacts from the Middle Ages restored, found in the excavations in the area of the tower, and a fine collection of Renaissance pieces in ceramics. The lobby and reception are located within an area formerly occupied by the Church of San Michele, built in the Middle Ages and adjacent to the Tower Pagliazza. Finally, the original Liberty stained glass windows by Galileo Chini which today can be admired in the Sala Liberty on the first floor and that at the beginning of the 20° century adorned the lobby of a hotel that no longer exists.
My team and I always try to explain to the guests where they lodge and where they are, to know the uniqueness of the structure, telling it on the way to get in the room and giving the paper than about the history of the building.
Think that at the Brunelleschi we have the only suite in the world made in a roundabout Byzantine tower.
Not to mention the amazing location of the hotel in the heart of the historical centre that makes the hotel the ideal starting point for walking in sensational places as the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery, Pitti Palace (residence of the Medici family ) or Palazzo Strozzi which every year houses the most important international exhibitions in the city.
Florence is not just a destination but an open air museum. Do not visit only the museums but walk along the streets of the city and you will know!
We have something for all tastes. Sports fans can enjoy a match of Fiorentina in the Italian Premier League at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and athletes can do jogging in the area that goes from Lungarno, crossing the Cascine, the various bridges and up to Saschall.
Those who love nightlife should definitely try that beyond the Arno (Oltrarno).
Shopping lovers cannot miss gold artefacts on the Ponte Vecchio (in Florence there is one of the most important goldsmith schools) and leather goods by the most famous craftsmen.
For gourmet Florence it is surely an important starting point: do not miss the Fiorentina steak, which can only be found in Tuscany, high and succulent that remains soft thanks to the light cooking. Moreover, I suggest to taste our soups such as ribollita or pappa al pomodoro, dishes that we have recovered from the poor peasant tradition and we offer every day at the Osteria della Pagliazza. In ancient times, for lack of economic resources, the farmers used the bread combined with vegetables available at the time to create simple but delicious dishes. Today it is the kind of cuisine known as “zero kilometre”. In summer, the same kind of soup turns into a fresh salad called panzanella.
For those who want to make a romantic surprise the Restaurant Santa Elisabetta leave you breathless with its intimate candlelit consisting of just seven tables.

Claudio Catani
General Manager – Hotel Brunelleschi

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