Rooms with a View #2: Hotel Duomo, Florence

If I had been hoping for a surprise of what the view was going to be when I looked out of my bedroom window, then the name of the hotel rather gave the game away.  So, too, did the walk to the entrance of the hotel but, let’s face it, it is quite hard to miss Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome on the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore wherever you are in Florence.

The entrance to the Hotel Duomo is via a small antique lift, tucked discretely away in a courtyard off the Piazza del Duomo, which brings you out to the fourth-floor reception.  I had booked room 31.  Not all the rooms at the hotel benefit from a Duomo view––some look out onto an internal courtyard––but rooms 31, 32 and 40 are pretty special.

Florence, of course, is the location of the eponymous A Room with a View, but I doubt whether E. M. Forster, Lucy Honeychurch, or Helena Bonham Carter were afforded a better view than I was privileged to enjoy from room 31 of the Hotel Duomo.

From both the window and the balcony, the Duomo filled the entire skyline; it felt close enough to touch; it was almost so close that it was quite hard to photograph without cropping the odd campanile.

Across the neat rows of terracotta pantiles and beyond the yellow and purple potted pansies, the beauty of the polychrome marble architecture, in its shades of white and green and pink, was simply breath-taking.

Viewed from so close at hand, at such an unusual angle––4 floors up––and with the luxury of absolute privacy, rather than in the crowded square below, it was possible to really examine the structure of the building; sculptures and gargoyles I would otherwise not have spotted; walkways and architectural details that are not visible from street-level.

And, when the structure was illuminated at night, the view became even more spectacular.

I lingered long in room 31 of the Hotel Duomo: rather than going out to explore the city, it felt as though the entire city was presented to me like a stage, and all that was required of me was to admire and applaud from my position in the balcony.

© E. C. Glendenny

E. C. Glendenny doesn’t have far to look for the view.

Check out some more of E. C. Glendenny’s travel writing in Resting Easy: Selected Travel Writing.

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