Why did you choose to visit Florence/Tuscany during your vacation?
A combination of the history, art, architecture, food, and proximity to wine country. Mostly the wine :-)
What was your favorite day of the trip and why?
Rene arranged a full-day private tour of Tuscany that included stops at two old and awesome medieval towns (Siena and San Gimignano), a wonderful lunch and wine tasting at a small family run vineyard, along with stops at some of the best Gelaterias ever.
How was the food? Did you have a favorite meal and/or restaurant?
Unbelievable. Everything we had was delicious, authentic, very fairly priced, and suitable for both the grownups and the picky kid eaters. Rene pointed us towards Buca Lapi for Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Steak Florentine); the food was amazing and the atmosphere super cool as well.
What was the biggest surprise?
The hotel Rene booked for us was a real find. We were expecting typical "European" accommodations in terms of room size and amenities. This place was beautiful, with large rooms, great staff, outstanding morning breakfasts included, and in a perfect location that was walkable from the train station.
Was there a least favorite thing about the trip?
Should've stayed longer by at least 2 days. There were great destinations we passed up and I'm now filled with shame and regret (wine touring in the Chianti region, tours/test drives at the Ferrari and Lamborghini factories).
What advice would you give to people traveling there?
Be prepared to walk. It's a relatively small city and easily navigable on foot. Allowing time to explore aimlessly will lead to some very cool experiences.
What was your most memorable experience?
Sharing lunch and drinking locally-produced wine with the owners of the vineyard while our kids played with the family dogs outside, all set against one of the most beautiful views of the Tuscan hills you could imagine.
Anything else that you'd like to add?
Fans of leather goods leave some time to check out the amazing, locally produced wares. You won't be sorry, especially if you're comfortable with haggling.