Subject: Airfare to Italy...looking for opinions

Looooong time lurker, finally checking in with a question. I expect mixed opinions, but just want to make sure I'm not missing something.

I am going to Italy with Mom in March 2003. We went to Amalfi this past March on Alitalia, and vow to never to fly them again. However, now we're off to Florence. It's just getting there that's the dilemma.

I'm hoping to make only one connection. Had hoped to do it in London, but it seems that flights from Boston only land in Heathrow and flights from London to Florence only take off in Gatwick. The thought of adding 2-3 hours to take the bus between LHR and LGW is not enticing. So, now it looks like Air France or Lufthansa fly to Florence direct from their hubs. Am I missing another carrier? Is there any way to get from LHR to FLR without going through LGW too? Am I just being too darn picky (rhetorical, I think!) (For the record, Virgin used to fly Boston-Gatwick, but not any longer, not sure when that happened or why)

Any preferences/experiences on either Air France/Lufthansa and the transfers in their respective hubs I should know about?

Mom has just recovered from double knee replacements, and while this is 10+ trips to Europe for us both, I just want to keep her transit and transfer time to a minimum.

Thanks in advance!