Nearest shopping and dining: Location! Location! Location! This is Piazza Signoria - the heart of Florence! Just outside the door are several cafes including Caffè Rivoire (be sure to order the chocolate cake), a gelateria, several restaurants and pizzerie. Shops of all kinds abound. A good size supermarket is just across the Ponte Vecchio in 250 yards.
Public transportation: The Santa Maria Novella train station with service to Rome, Milan, Bologna, Napoli, Torino and Genova is half a mile away.
Internet point: The hotel managing the penthouse has a business center with PC and printer available at no charge. It is a 300 yard walk away.
Within walking distance:
Just outside your door: Palazzo Vecchio - This former home to the Medici family serves as Florence's town hall and houses museum galleries. Beside the palazzo is the outdoor sculpture gallery, Loggia dei Lanzi. Across the piazza is the Gucci Museum.
200 yards: The Uffizi art galleries and the gold shops of the Ponte Vecchio.
300 yards: The Bargello sculpture museum housing the largest collection of Renaissance sculpture and several works by Michelangelo in Florence's oldest public building. Around the corner is the 13th century family home of Dante Alighieri which is now a museum depicting his life's work.
350 yards: Via Tornabuoni, the street housing the high fashion boutiques such as Ferragomo, Gucci, Bvlgari, Fendi and Louis Vuitton.
400 yards: Via del Calzaiuoli or "street of the shoemakers" runs alongside Piazza Signoria. A 5 minute walk down this street leads directly to Piazza del Duomo.
600 yards: The Palazzo Pitti, a 15th century Renaissance palace home to the Medici family that now houses art galleries including the Medici collection, a Gallery of Modern Art and museums housing silver, porcelain, costumes and carriages. Behind the Palazzo Pitti are the 16th century Italianate Boboli gardens.
Food markets: The Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo Square, half a mile away, resembles a small city of food shops under large skylights. The Florentines consider this the best market to shop for fresh ingredients, many of which still come directly from nearby farms. The Sant' Ambrogio market, half a mile away is another market made up of small local purveyors.
Open air leather markets: The Mercato Nuovo is 150 yards away, and the streets leading up the San Lorenzo Mercato are lined with carts selling leather goods.
Interesting day trip: Fiesole, 20 minutes by car or a bus leaves Santa Maria Novella train station every half hour. This important Etruscan settlement (9 BC) has the remains from the original Etruscan walls surrounding the town along with a Roman amphitheatre and Roman baths. The town has a lovely view over Florence and the Villa Medici at Fiesole with a garden is one of the oldest Renaissance villas.