Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1751: Firenze Lodging (Essegi Immobiliare), Leone Apartment
1bed/1bath apartment in Oltrarno, Florence
September 2005, Three weeks
This apartment is located in a four-story renovated building on a moderately quiet street in the San Frediano section of the Oltr'arno. The area is great, chock full of good restaurants, produce shops, bakeries, etc. The street has enough foot traffic that I always felt safe.
The nearest bar for coffee is just around the corner, as are many grocery stores and restaurants.
The building is historical, and has been completely renovated so that it has an elevator (tiny!) and the apartment is air-conditioned. In all, the building has 16 apartments and is, I believe, a condominium. (The rental agency represented only the owner of my apartment.) I never heard any noise from other tenants, as the walls are very thick.
No garden or pool.
The furniture was in good shape but, apart from the bed, not particularly inviting. The apartment had a full, if tiny, kitchen, but no real place to eat! There was a sofa in the living room, and a small glass-topped table (bistro table?) in the far corner. It could use a coffee table near the couch, and some better lighting.
The bed was extremely comfortable, and there was plenty of drawer space and a big armadio. The bathroom was fine, a typical renovated Italian bathroom with tiny shower. (The shower head had seen better days.) The apartment was spotless when I moved in, and was cleaned very nicely once during my stay.
The kitchen was very usable, with loads of pots and pans that looked decent. A four-burner stove and oven were there, but I only used the oven for heating prepared foods (arancini, pizza, etc). I ate many meals in, but mostly cold, such as salads, sandwiches, cheese. As I noted above, the cooking convenience was not matched by eating convenience.
Problems or Bonuses
The lack of a kitchen table was a kind of negative surprise. The loveliness of the view was a good surprise.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was very, very nice to deal with. They responded very promptly to e-mails. The two principals are a brother and sister, Lorenzo and Francesca B. They were not "on site" but were available by telephone if needed. Francesca, with whom I dealt once I was there, speaks excellent English. She left me a map of Florence and a list of suggested nearby restaurants, bars, shops, etc. She got me a taxi when it was time to leave.
The apartment was at least as good as it looked on the website.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay here again, but I have to admit a preference for my last year's garden apartment. But the view was wonderful. And the neighborhood is great. I would definitely recommend this apartment to a friend. But if they were a couple rather than a single person, I would warn them about the lack of a real table for eating.
Things to do in this area
The two major sights in this area are the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine, and the Santo Spirito church. Most of what I enjoyed in this neighborhood was walking up and down the little streets (not that there is much space to walk on these streets). They are full of food shops, restaurants and caffès. And there are still many artisan shops of all kinds. It's a lovely neighborhood where you need never be bored. The bars range from trendy (the OiO on the ground floor of my building) to ordinary bars where men are drinking grappa at 10am. My favorite restaurnts were Al Tranvai, I Brindellone, Il Guscio, Cavolo Nero, Sabatini ...
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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