Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1281: Italy Perfect, Medici
2bed/1bath apartment near Boboli Gardens, Florence
January 2005, 1 week
The Medici apartment was located in the area by the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. We didn't want to be right in the noisy center so loved the fact that we could walk into the center of town, but escape back to the apartment when we wanted to.
The little lane that the apartment is located on it completely quiet and we even got acquianted with the neighbors who were very nice. There is a fruit and vegetable merchant right by the Porta Romana gate that leads into the neighborhood where we'd stop and buy produce from. After a few days he knew us and made us feel like locals, same for the local baker too! There is 3 bus lines that stop only a few minutes from the apartment and if we didn't feel like walking to the center we caught the bus and were downtown in only a few minutes.
It was an easy walk to the local merchants. The rental confirmation gave us the names and addresses of all the local shops so it was pretty easy to get situated. There are a number of good restaurants in Piazza Santo Spirito which is only a 10 minute walk away. One of our favorite restaurants was on nearby Via Senese and we liked the fact that it wasn't loaded with tourists (like us!). They rental person also gave us a great list of good local restaurants so that was helpful too.
The apartment was just great and we're already planning a return trip for next year. It looked just like the photos on the website. Because the italyperfect.com website was so detailed with lots of photos and info, we had a fairly good idea of what to expect before we arrived. But we were impressed when we got there and found it to be just as nice as it appears in the photos.
There is just one apartment upstairs so the building is very quiet. It's in a short block of attached two story buildings that seem to each have two apartments, one up and one down. This one was on the ground floor and was very comfortable. The furnishings were very nice and lots of little touches, like loaner guide books, maps were very nice.
The person who greeted us was very helpful and spoke perfect English and even provided us with some juice, pastries and fruit which was very welcome after our long flight.
There is a nice terrace right off the kitchen. The master bedroom and bathroom both have windows opening out onto the terrace which I imagine is great in the summer. Because we were there in January we didn't use the terrace except to go out to the little laundry area where the washer is located. I noticed that there was a table, chairs and umbrella available. The walls of the Boboli Garden rise up directly to the left of the terrace. When you stand on the terrace you almost feel like you're in the country -- it was hard to believe that Florence was right there!
Excellent furnishings. The two small sofas in the living room were comfy. There is a DVD and lots of movies, so 2 nights when it was raining we stayed in and enjoyed some down time in the apartment. Everything was nice and clean. The kitchen and bathroom are brand new so are in great shape. Bedrooms are cute and the master bedroom is quite romantic with soft rose colored walls and a pretty Florentine headboard on the bed. Nice touches!
Beds and bathrooms were just fine. Bathroom is brand new and has a good shower. Not really a big shower, but guess this is the norm for Italy. They provided supplies like liquid shower soap, toilet paper which was nice. I'd heard that some rentals come completely empty.
The kitchen was terrific. We ate breakfast at home every morning and a couple of dinners. Ate lunch out most days. But the kitchen was well stocked with pots, pans, dishes. There were even some staples like olive oil, vinegar, tea, sugar, etc. that made it convenient. In addition to the juice and pastries, there was a nice bottle of Chianti wine in the kitchen to welcome us.
Problems or Bonuses
The apartment met and even exceeded our expectations. We liked the fact that it's in a real neighborhood, not in a tourist mecca. It's a bit of a walk to get from the main area, but the extra 10 to 15 minutes were well worth it. Lisa at Italy Perfect gave us good information and knows the area well so explained to us about a short cut you can take during the day to get to the apartment and she was very realistic about the tradeoffs of being right in the center of town versus being by the Boboli Gardens.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Lisa at Italy Perfect was very professional and responsive. She was prompt and thorough in answering our questions. As mentioned above, it looked as good, if not better in person then in the photos. It's a charming area of Florence. The price was very fair, and we liked the fact that it was in dollars not euros. The person who greeted us, Maurizio, was charming and fluent in English. He was readily available to answer any questions.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, absolutely! We have traveled a lot throughout Italy and this was one of our very favorite places. We intend to come back next year during the warmer seasons and stay for two weeks and take an Italian class.
Things to do in this area
Walk up the Via Niccolo Macchiavelli to the Piazzale Michelangelo to see the most amazing view of Florence. It's a hike but great exercise.
Walk through the Boboli Gardens. There is a back entrance right by the Medici apartment, but it's only for staff so we couldn't use it. You have to go around to Porta Romana and can go into the side entrance there.
Loved the daily open air market & restaurants at Piazza Santo Spirito. We're going to take an Italian class at one of the language schools on this Piazza next time. It's an easy walk to the apartment.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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