I spent 10 nights with my fiancee in Rome, Florence, Venice over the past couple weeks (will post separately in those forums). I'd been to Italy in 1992, and she never, so were looking forward to the sights and the history!
We stayed at the Villa Antea after having found it on a BnB website, and thereafter read numerous glowing reviews on the “mainstream” online booking portals, and we loved our time there! Large room and really large bathroom, very comfortable, great breakfast, and the reception staff and breakfast/cleaning lady were extremely friendly, helpful in every respect! There are 3 buses which all stop quite close by, so getting to/from the rail station and centre of town were no problem at all.
As for sightseeing, we bought the ticket for the Duomo, Basilica, Campanile and Crypt, and especially liked the Duomo itself, as well as the views from the top, despite the long climb and narrow staircases. As in Rome, we were very lucky in that we found no queues at either the Uffizi nor the Galleria Accademia, although we only visited the latter at 5pm. We spent hours at the Uffizi, and although neither of us are quite art buffs, found it very interesting and enjoyable to view and read about the works, and we made sure we walked through every room. After that, we didn’t spend too much time at the Galleria, but had to see the “David” – I was disappointed that I wasn’t allowed to take photos tho!
A good tip I can give is to take the bus up to Piazzale Michelangelo – our guidebook suggested that the views over Florence are stunning, and I couldn’t agree more!
As for food, we ate one night at a perfect little pizza/pasta restaurant between San Lorenzo and the Duomo, just down from the outdoor market stalls. (really sorry I can’t recall its name, but it was 1 word followed by either 100 or 1000). The owners were incredibly friendly, the lady outside trying to entice diners as they stopped to read the large menu out front, and the young gentleman waiter/chef very quirky, fun and friendly!
We took a day trip on our own to Cinque Terre – I’d been wanting to visit after seeing pictures some years ago, and was really looking forward to it. Caught the train from Florence via Pisa and La Spezia to Riomaggiore, and thereafter bought individual tickets to each of Manarola and Vernazza, before returning. Have to admit I was somewhat disappointed by Riomaggiore, although clearly it’s the off-season with few tourists, and not much open. Vernazza restored my faith in the region – not that the other stops were any less beautiful and scenic – but sitting in the “marina” area and taking in the scenery in Vernazza was spectacular. After the cold and bitter wind of Florence, the clear and warm weather was also very welcome, although we seemed to be the only tourists there who dressed prepared for the cold! On the way back to Florence, we had to go via Pisa again, so decided that since we never know if and when we’ll be back, we should take the chance to at least see the iconic Leaning Tower. It was dark by then, but we caught the bus, and walked around the tower and the basilica, and I’m glad we did!
Only a few days spent, but thoroughly enjoyed our stay. If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer and provide more info.