Okay, there are so many reasons to visit Florence, Italy that you may already have plans to visit this year. If not, you may seriously want to consider a 2014 visit, because with all the stir surrounding Dan Brown’s last book Inferno, Florence may well experience a tourism boost similar to that caused in Paris and Rome by Brown’s The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons.
Summer’s in Italy can be crowded now, but my guess is that next summer will be even more so, and that year-round travel to Florence will zoom because a lot of Brown’s new booktakes place there. Why? The plot is intricately tied to the famous poet Dante Alighieri who was born in Florence in 1265 and is known for writing The Divine Comedy, which is comprised of three parts: Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. As a result of Brown’s newest book, fans could even create a resurgance in readers of Dante’s classic.
Tours based upon Brown’s book are already being promoted in what is likely to become a groundswell of activity. The web site italy.artviva.com already offers private and small group tours [one to eight people] that promises to follow in the footsteps of Robert Langdon, Brown’s reknown professor character as he deciphers the codes and mysteries of this adventure through the streets of Florence.
These tours will also provide additional background on Dante and how his work changed Florence and Italy leaving a lasting impression on everything from the Italian language and master artworks to the Catholic Church. The price per person for one or two people to take this three-hour tour is 280.00 € or $374.47. Another web site guidedtoursofflorence. com has also posted information that invite you to contact them for their Inferno by Dan Brown: The Tour.
The Lungarno Collection which includes Hotel Lungarno, Gallery Hotel Art, Lungarno Suites or Continentale is now offering a special package starting at 430.00 € per person (VAT and tourism tax not included), for a two-night stay plus a daily buffet breakfast and a 3-hour guided tour of Florence inspired by Inferno. The tour includes visits to the Uffizi, The Bell of Badia, Palazzo Vecchio, the house of Dante and more. The package comes with the Lungarno Collection Privilege Card for exclusive shopping condition at Salvatore Ferragamo Boutiques in Florence, the White Iris Beauty Spa and other goodies. For details visit lungarnocollection.com.
If you’re looking for package vacation deals to Florence, you may want to check out ItalianTourism.us, which has departures dates listed through October 2013. Their independent vacation packages combine air and hotel with most prices ranging from just over $1,400 to just over $1,600. The lowest priced dates are August 29 and October 24, which cost $1,379. All prices include round trip air from New York to Florence and 4-nights hotel accommodations. [Hotels can also be upgraded for a small fee ranging from a few dollars up to an extra $71-$104/night.] Choosing the lower price dates can be a good strategy, because the lower costs reflect the end of the traditional European vacation days in August and the lower seasonal rates.
Although these air/hotel packages mentioned above do not focus on an Inferno literary itinerary, you can make those arrangements separately. However, the main historical buildings and museums such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiori with Brunelleschi’s Dome, and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge are covered on most tours.
If you already have accomodations, such as standing invitations to stay with friends, you may want to pick a date that utilizes Alitalia’s (alitalia.com) current roundtrip promotional fares of $1,542 from New York to Florence.
As I am writing this article a check of the temperature in Florence finds it to be a very warm 94 degrees, which makes those later fall dates all the more appealing, especially when walking tours are involved. Moreover, you have a few months to read about Florence and all of the historic and cultural sites that make it an unforgettable place to visit. A good place to start is italyguides.it, which offers a free iPhone travel app for Florence and a free audio guide of Florence for iPods, iPhones or mp3 players.
Tourism was up 5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, says Giani, but people aren’t staying as long, and when they do, they tend to sleep and eat on a budget. With Brown’s blessing of the city, Giani hopes people who would normally come to Florence for a day trip from their Tuscan villas to skim the highlights or make a quick stop en route from Rome to Venice might stay longer to do some Dante digging.