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Review 1889: Florence Vacations, Ponte Vecchio II

www.florencevacations.net

Recommended
Review by ellens from NJ who is a SlowTrav Contributor

1bed/1bath apartment, Oltr'arno, Florence


When

December 2005, 5 nights

Location

We rented two apartments in this same building from this agency. I have submitted a separate review for Ponte Vecchio I.

This apartment is just steps from the Ponte Vecchio in Oltr'arno. To reach the apartment, cross the bridge from the centro storico and make the first left onto Via dei Bardi. The building is #39, on the right hand side of the street, facing the river. Along Via dei Bardi there are businesses at street level and apartments above. There is an indoor parking garage a couple of doors east at the corner of Via dei Bardi and Costo del Pozzo. There is a taxi stand just steps from the front door in Piazza di Santa Maria Soprarno.

Nearby Amenities

There are a couple of bars for coffee within steps of the building, as well as restaurants and a wine bar. There is a green grocer a few doors to the west with basic grocery needs as well as fruit and produce. The nearest decent size mercato that I found was a bit of a walk away on Via Sant'Agostino.

The House/Apartment

The building does not appear to be historical, nor is it new. It is well maintained, with a full time doorman. There is a small elevator and stairs from the lobby. Most floors of this building have four apartments, a few of which house commercial ventures (Moda Shoes, for one).

The apartment is air-conditioned. There are no screens on the windows.

This apartment is located on the 4th floor in the front of the building, facing the street. It has been recently remodeled and is furnished with just the basics. It is clearly a rental-only apartment (no personal items, owner's closet, etc.). There is a first entry door off the 4th floor lobby, then a second door, the main entry to the apartment.

There is an entry foyer with a closet containing cleaning equipment, ironing board & iron, and a coat rack. There is no coat closet.

The open kitchen is just off the entry foyer, with a small table and four chairs.

The living room is to the left from the entry and has windows that open onto Via Dei Bardi. It is furnished with a love seat that opens into a single bed, a dining table with four chairs, IKEA wall cabinets that contain dishes and a color TV.

There is a small hall area off the living room with doors to the bathroom and bedroom.

The bedroom has one large bed (two singles made up as one bed), a reading chair and bureau as well as an armoire. The windows open onto Via Dei Bardi.

Garden

There was no outside sitting area.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furnishings are a mixture of new IKEA pieces and some older furniture. The table and chairs and bedroom furniture are older, but in good shape.

We found the bed comfortable and the room adequate, but not large.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The bathroom is a somewhat cramped space. Everything from the walls to the floor to the fixtures is brand new and sparkling clean. There is a small stall shower but no bath, a toilet and a bidet. The sink is deep and wide, ideal for washing out small clothing items.

Kitchen

The kitchen tile, flooring, cabinets and appliances are all new. There is a four burner gas stove with a lighted overhead exhaust fan, electric oven, sink, mini dishwasher (narrower than normal), clothes washer and full (Italian) size refrigerator and freezer. As the kitchen is an open space rather than a distinct room, is was easy for a couple of people to work here at the same time.

There is one full set of pots and two skillets, a set of knives in a block and cutlery for four people, and a corkscrew - just the basics. One set of dishes with dinner and salad plates, soup bowls, a serving bowl and platter is kept in cabinets in the living room, near the table.

I did cook full meals here and, while it wasn't an ideal set up, it was fine for our needs.

Problems or Bonuses

This is a fairly busy street and as the apartment windows face the street it is a bit noisy. There is a wine bar across the street and it got a bit loud around closing time. However, between midnight and six in the morning it was very quiet.

NOTE: This apartment may present a problem for those with mobility or sight impairments. There is a small step up (only about an inch - not enough to see easily but enough to trip you) in the entry hall and another small step down in the foyer.

There is a taxi stand just steps away from the front door in Piazza di Santa Maria Soprarno.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

We found this apartment to be exactly as advertised. Lorenzo Duranti at Florence Vacations was very easy to work with. He speaks English very well and follows up quickly. We were able to pay entirely via credit card (30% deposit upon booking, balance when we arrived).

We paid 650,00 for two apartments (Ponte Vecchio I & II) for five nights, or 65 per night per apartment, in December 2005. All utilities (water, gas and electric) were included. This price also included airport pickup on arrival. We were met as we came out of customs by a driver who spoke a little English. He brought a brand new van right up to the door of the airport and loaded our luggage, then drove us directly to the apartment where Lorenzo, the rental agent, met us, completed the paperwork and showed us around the apartment.

Florence Vacations offered return service to the airport for 75, which we declined. Instead, when Lorenzo came to check us out I asked him to call a cab for us. He did, and by the time we got our luggage downstairs a few minutes later the cab was just pulling up to the front door. The cab fare to the airport for four people with luggage was 23.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would stay here again, especially for a short visit the location cannot be beat. For a longer visit, the noise of being right in the midst of things might convince me to look for something a bit less central.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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