"The Westin Excelsior Hotel has a buffet breakfast, but it tempts one to eat too much. The favorite Italian breakfast is, of course, a cappuccino and cornétto, or croissant. Florence has plenty of cafes for quick espressos and cappuccinos."
"We shot on Florence's oldest bridge, the Ponte Vecchio. Lots of crowds. Lots of sightseers. Lots of shops selling gold. Giancarlo Giannini, the great Italian actor, shot some scenes there. There are scenes where I'm walking along the riverbank, near the Ponte Vecchio, which we did the first day. I went to the Palazzo Vecchio a great deal. It's been the seat of Florentine government for nearly 1,000 years and a monument to the rule of the Medici family, whose patronage led Florence to become the leader of the European Renaissance. One day we had an exclusive tour, which included seeing the suspended ceiling above the Salone dei Cinquecento, designed 400 years ago by the brilliant architect and artist, Giorgio Vasari. Even today, architects from all over the world come to study from this master. We were also taken into the private studiolo of Francesco I de' Medici, where he collected his art and practiced alchemy. There was even a small room, where he secretly dissected humans for study. We were lead into the very private corridor, Corridoio Vasariano, a wedding present from Francesco [de' Medici] to his wife Giovanna D'Austria. The corridor connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Uffizi Gallery, where they had their offices. It also passes over the Ponte Vecchio, so they could go to their other residence, the Palazzo Pitti, without being seen by the public. This raised, covered 'street' is chock-full of valuable art and history."
"In the film, Hannibal is curator of the Capponi Library and lives in the grand Palazzo Capponi. It's still there, a great big library, full of manuscripts that go back to the 12th,13th centuries. Fascinating place. It's a big house, full of books and manuscripts. The owners have letters from Dante to Henry XIII and popes from centuries past. All kinds of letters preserved from ancient kings of England and France when the wars and the great troubles were going on. Some of the descendents of the Capponi family still live there to this day. Hannibal Lecter becomes the curator of that museum. So in the story, that's where I live."
"In the film, I'm seen walking around marketplaces at night, stalking people. Tourists flock to Florence all year long to admire the monuments and art treasures, but they also come to taste the everyday life and buy the goods unique to Florence. Leather goods, sold in fine shops or in the street markets of Il Mercato Nuovo or in the Piazza San Lorenzo or along the Ponte Vecchio, are the best to be found. With the value of the dollar so strong, everything seems to be a bargain. Tuscany also has fine linens and the centuries-handed-down art of ricami or embroidery. The finest store in all of Italy is that of Loretta Caponi, whose family has done linens for the tables, boudoirs, and palaces of the kings and queens of Europe for the past centuries."
"The production had organized a location as the permanent site for our catered lunch inside the 500-year-old Villa Corsini. Imagine sitting amongst cavernous frescoed walls, water-damaged from years of the flooding waters of the Arno, and where one of the most important Florentine families held court. An exclusive 'Hannibal' trattoria with never a bad meal, of course. We were also entertained at an 18th-century, fully restored villa between town and the Piazzale Michelangelo, rented by the producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis. The De Laurentiis' favorite restaurants include Osteria de' Benci, Caffè Rivoire in the Piazza Signoria, and Gilli in the Piazza della Repubblica, as well as the famous gelaterias, Gelateria Vivoli and Gelateria Ermini."
"I did go around the Uffizi Gallery. That was pretty interesting. Just how big it is and seeing Botticellis and the Giottos. The Medici collected great wealth in art, housed in the Uffizi: from Botticelli's Primavera and The Birth of Venus, Giotto's Ognissanti Madonna, Leonardo's Annunciation, Paolo Uccello's The Battle of San Romano, Raphael's Madonna of the Goldfinch, and Michelangelo's Tondo Doni, to the many grotesques and the painted ceilings of the Gallery - all giving testimony to the splendor of the Italian Renaissance. The art in the Palazzo Vecchioalone could consume several days of viewing. From statues of Donatello, massive murals of Vasari and murals depicting Florence's battle and victory against Pisa. The Pitti Palace, with its splendid gardens, is a centerpiece of art objects, statues, and restored rooms of the family. We visited many a church full of statues, frescoes, and paintings depicting the ideals and facts of the centuries of politics and religion so vital to the Italian Renaissance. Of course, the masterpiece of Michelangelo, the magnificent statue of David at the gallery of the Accademia with his different versions of Pietà is astonishing. I tried to buy Michelangelo's David, but they wouldn't sell it tome."
"The crew's favorite restaurant was Coco Lezzone, a quick walk from the Hotel Lungarno, a family-style trattoria, with the best steak fiorentina. They make a great fiorentina pappa di pomodòro, thick tomato soup, and pastas with tartuffi. Across from the Hotel Lungarno is another trattoria, Mamma Gina, where the crew ate quite often and where our production team frequently stopped for a quick meal together. Their grilled veal chops and Tuscan fagiolini [white beans] were the crew's favorites."