Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2117: Sleeping in Florence, San Lorenzo Apartments
4bed/2bath apartment near San Lorenzo, Florence
May 2006, 3 nights
Although this 4th-floor apartment (no lift), named Galeota, is on a pedestrian street, about a block away from where a taxi can drive to, the street (Borgo S. Lorenzo)is bustling during the day (usually not louder than pleasant and constant buzz from up in the apartment) and, at least during our stay, during the night alternates between reasonably quiet and raucous enough to wake us up repeatedly. At the same time, it's very central to Florence's main sights and amenities. The S. Maria Novella train-station is about a 15-minute walk (or an 8-minute run, as we found out). It was a bit of a hunt to find this apartment, as there's no "S. Lorenzo Apartment" sign above the door (of course) and there is a choice of address numbers beside/above most of the doorways on the street. Your landmark is the Bata shoe store: it's right across the street. The (oddly named) "Spleen" restaurant is right next door.
There's are a couple of restaurants directly below the apartment, and many others within a few minutes' walk. The Mercato Centrale, the big covered market, is a good place to buy anything edible, and is a 10-minute walk away. Other shops selling anything you can imagine are somewhere near.
The building is at least a couple of centuries old and in decent shape. There's an intercom system (or you can shout from one of the front windows down to the street). The front of the apartment, looking out onto S. Lorenzo, contains the master bedroom, the entrance, the modest-sized living room, and a second bedroom. My husband and I dragged our mattress from the master bedroom to the space under the loft bed in one of the back bedrooms because we were afraid we'd be seriously sleep-deprived otherwise, people in the street after midnight were so noisy, for so long. And as well as being too disruptive for us, the master bedroom, which contained a fireplace that may have been the source, of a weird, subtle, but very unpleasant aroma that kind of haunted whatever moments of sleep we did achieve on that first night. But these spaces were all nice and bright, at least.
Going through the living room into the fairly large dining room, one finds a separate, large kitchen on the left; continuing on down a hall-way from the dining room is the first of two bathrooms; then the loft bedroom with en-suite bath and a tiny staircase to a nice little (unshaded) roof terrace with a view of S. Lorenzo's dome (not of the Duomo, as the web-site might lead you to believe, though the Duomo is five minutes away). There is also a bright twin-bedded room with another little stairway up to a loft room that seems pretty unused.
A very spacious, rambling apartment, surprisingly bright (there's an inner courtyard that allows natural light to the back rooms). There were maybe eight apartments in this building, and we didn't hear our neighbours much, just a few footsteps now and then.
Just the little roof-top terrace, too hot in the afternoon but very nice after dark, when the San Lorenzo dome is gently illuminated and a few bats go flitting by.
The dining room table and chairs were good; so were the kitchen table and benches. The living room furniture was mostly a cheap sectional couch that kept sliding apart, not quite adequate for six (and we were eight). There was a big-screen tv, various cabinets and cupboards; lots of storage space in the bedrooms and bathrooms.
The beds were ok, not super, and the bedrooms were pleasantly furnished but as noted above, we found the master bedroom unusable. The second (also front) bedroom was ok for the couple using it if they put their air-conditioning on for the whole night, to muffle disturbances. The beds in the other two rooms were also ok, and those rooms were quieter and didn't smell odd! Unfortunately, several of the bed-side lamps and some light-bulbs in the kitchen were out; we made do, but this detail seemed a bit off-putting, along with the noise and the smell of the one room.
The bathrooms were fine, the first one equipped with only a shower while the second had a nice big soaker tub and lots of natural light. The second also has a washer, and there's a drying rack you can put out onto an enclosed, completely utilitarian balcony to dry.
The kitchen was quite spacious and we enjoyed a nice full meal here prepared by two cooks. There's a strange little built-in barbeque thing in the kitchen we didn't use, as well as a dishwasher, microwave, and of course gas stove, fridge, freezer, etc. There's another fireplace in here, as well as a nice little wooden table and benches, good for snacks, writing in your journal, etc. The pots and pans are ok, but the crockery is minimal: there were eight of us, and we couldn't go a meal without doing the dishes!
Problems or Bonuses
There was a phone for our use, though we needed a phone card for calls that weren't 100% local. We were glad that the apartment was big enough that the back rooms were significantly quieter than the front ones. The weird smell in the master-bedroom. . .
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owner and her cousin were prompt and pleasant to deal with by e-mail; on-site, we met the pleasant, English-speaking lady responsible for cleaning, who showed us around and explained things. Our initial cost (for six of us) was 720 euro for three nights mid-May; when our two friends said they could join us, our total went up to 900E. for the three nights, a bit steep I thought.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
On the one hand: convenient location, lots of space; on the other, noisy and weird-smelling (but only in that one room). Maybe the noise was an aberration? and the smell will dissipate? and they'll put slightly better furniture into the living room? A toss-up.
Things to do in this area
You're right in the middle of the 1001 things Florence has to offer. Enjoyed the Mercato Centrale and the street markets nearby; otherwise, no favorites.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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