Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2518: Poggio Imperiale Apartments, Maria Apartment
Apartments in building near Porta Romana, Florence
September and October, 2006, 4 weeks
Poggio Imperiale Apartments are located on Viale del Poggio Imperiale, in one of the most beautiful residential areas of Florence. It is a street lined with beautiful villas, but is adjacent to Porta Romana (the old Roman Gate) and Via Senese, where there are good shops and restaurants. It’s only a block from one entrance to the Boboli Gardens, through which one can walk to the Pitti Palace and on to the Ponte Vecchio. Taxis are almost always waiting in Porta Romana, and buses to the main station and historic center stop there, too. It is also walking distance to Oltrarno where shop after shop of beautiful, handmade items are available for sale. We love the area. It’s close to the tourist attractions, but it has the advantage of being a relatively peaceful neighborhood.
Walk about one block for a coffee and about the same for groceries and restaurants, including a fabulous, and reasonably priced, trattoria and a pizza shop. Around Porta Romana there is a bakery, butcher shop, forno (home-baked breads, foccaccia, etc.), carryout food shops, meat-cheese-olive shop, jeweler, clothing store, shoe shop, hardware/home supply shop, gelateria, fruit and vegetable shop, open air vegetable/fruit market, and more. There is even one of Florence’s famous tripe stands near the Porto Romana, where you can get a tripe panino and glass of wine for lunch.
The building is an older villa that has been beautifully renovated and converted into about eight lovely apartments. An architect designed the renovation, and it has been done extremely well. There are a few steps inside the locked gate to get up to the villa. Several apartments open onto a large terrace, with tables and chairs. Some are on ground level, and some have stairs. Some have a separate entry on the street behind the building (The property is two stories on one side, and three on the other. We entered our apartment, the Maria, through French doors from the terrace. The main room is a combination living room, dining area, and kitchen (two burners, small fridge, and sink). There is a short hall with the bathroom on the right, and the bedroom straight ahead. We stayed four weeks, and the apartment was just the right size. Not too much to keep clean, but not too small either.
No pool, but there is a very large, shared terrace with lovely potted plants and trees around it. There are tables and chairs on it. From one end, Porta Romana can be seen.
The apartment has a comfortable, new fold-out couch and some wonderful antique furniture. All the apartments have some unique pieces of antique furniture that belonged to the owners’ grandparents. The interior design and decoration are charming and very “Tuscan.” The walls are soft, painted tones that have a stenciled border and have been glazed with wax. Our unit, called “Maria,” has a nice bathroom with a pedestal sink, toilet, bidet, and tiled shower. The bedroom is a comfortable size, and there is a chest of drawers and a closet, as well as a wooden valet and hooks for sweaters and coats. It’s in the back of the building, overlooking a quiet street and away from any heavy traffic. The towels are large, and there were sufficient towel bars. The table seats six to eight. There is a TV. Everything was absolutely spotless when we arrived. Note: There are also efficiency apartments and at least one unit with a loft bedroom.
The beds were firm, but comfortable enough. The bedroom was just large enough. The bathroom was nicely tiled, and the fixtures and shower are nearly new. The renovation is recent, and everything in this apartment worked well, including plumbing, burners, refrigerator, etc., which is not always the case in Florence. There was always enough hot water.
The kitchen was well-stocked with plenty of pots, pans, complete set of dishes, cooking and eating utensils, coffee and teapots, and cleaning supplies. The refrigerator was cold enough to keep food fresh. We did need to buy our own paper goods, but there were some there when we arrived.
Problems or Bonuses
All surprises were pleasant ones! One of the best is the shared laundry room on premises. The cost for it is included in the rental price. There are washing machines, dryer (nearly unheard of in Italy), places to hang hand-washables, an iron and ironing board. In the apartment, the owners had thought of everything to make our stay comfortable. There is even a hair dryer and sufficient hangers in the closet. We were happy to have ceiling fans, as it was quite warm when we arrived. The French doors and the window in the bedroom provided great cross-ventilation. There was a DSL Internet hook-up that worked very well and was easy to set up. We had no problems whatsoever.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked directly with the owners. They speak excellent English and are very kind and helpful, but never intrusive. We can’t say enough about what lovely people they are, extremely nice and yet very professional. They have had rentals in the Florence area for a number of years. The prices are on their web site.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would stay there again, and actually some friends of ours also stayed there and loved it. We’d recommend it, without any qualifications, to anyone. Make sure to tell the owners if you have any special physical limitations regarding stairs, so you can reserve a ground floor apartment.
Things to do in this area
Trattoria da Ruggero. (Via Senese 89r,055 220542, reservations required). This is a wonderful, and typical Tuscan trattoria. It is our favorite place to eat in Florence. All of the food is really good, but try the ribollita, and for the second course try the arista (pork roast with herbs) or the bistecca. The side dishes are also excellent. The house wine is very good, and is produced at the owner’s farm. You need reservations, and when you are seated you are never rushed through your meal, as in many U.S. restaurants. Because they only have one seating, it is fair and expected that you will have a meal (at least two courses), and not just a plate of pasta. You can have a great meal for a reasonable cost at this restaurant.
There is a little meat-cheese-olive store right on the main Porta Romana circle. The guys that run it are really nice. Just next door, the Bar Petrarca is a good place for morning coffee/brioche. There is also an alimentari just a block or so up Via Senese that has very good take out food (pasta, vegetables, etc.).
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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