|Subject: Rome and Florence|
I was recently in Florence and stayed at the Lombardi Hotel. It is a functional 2-star on a quiet street. It is only one block from the train station and is central to everything. The proprietor, Domenico, was very kind and helpful. The Lombardi is advertising internet-only rates of $58 weekdays and $98 weekends. If Domenico does not have a room available, he works with other hotels on the block and can refer you.
The web site for Lombardi is http://www.hotel-lombardi.net/
There is a great pastry shop a couple of blocks away on Via Faenza. I don't remember the name, but it is large, open late, and always crowded, so it should be easy to find.
I was in Florence for 2-1/2 days and saw everything I could want, but I was out and about from early morning to late at night and did very little shopping. At a saner pace it could take 5 days to soak it all in.
Also, be sure to check out http://www.florenceitaly.net/ It is loaded with information.
Michele Oakland, CA