Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 301: Doorways, Palazzo Gattai
3-bedroom, 2.5 bath apartment, Florence
June 29-July 3, 2002, 4 nights
It was located about a 10-minute walk from the Duomo across the street from a lovely park (Piazza d’Azeglio). We had a rental period from Sat-Wed. The landlady was lovely and extremely helpful.
The website write-up was a bit deceiving. They talked about the large winding marble stairway you walk up to the apartment on the second floor. That staircase was closed because it led up to the rooms that were not part of the rental; we took the dark, small stairs. A couple of the pictures in the description are of rooms that are not part of the rental. It was supposed to fit 7, but the 7th bed was a thin fold-up cot that was not comfortable. My 13 year old was not happy with it. While one of the bathrooms was marble, it was not grand as the description stated. The ceilings were about 15 foot and had beautiful frescoes on them. The furniture was a mix of antiques and old, not really comfortable. Electricity was an afterthought, so there were about 1-2 plugs per room. These had to have the fan (thank goodness!) and the lights connected. Florence was HOT. Despite closing up the shutters during the day the heat was stifling! We were so happy that she gave us 3 fans for the bedrooms. The first night we opened the windows and turned on the fans.
The mosquitoes were awful (despite the repellents plugged into the outlets). My daughter counted over 50 bites on her arms alone from the first night. So the rest of the nights we had to keep the windows closed. It was hot.
The apartment was really one long hallway. The living room, 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a toilet room. The bedroom at the end of the hallway could be a separate apartment. It had a bathroom suite and a mini kitchen. It was very dark. Two of the bedrooms looked out over the garden. Mornings started really early with the other full time apartments, so sleeping in was not an option. The beds were okay with exception of the queen bed. It has a serious well in the center. My husband gave in and slept in the well while I clung to the edge at a steep incline.
While it may seem like this is not a flattering description, the place was lovely and had charm. When we checked out the landlady showed me the rooms that were not part of the rental. They were exquisite!
One thing I was not expecting was at midnight the water would get turned off. While this might not be a problem for those who turn in early, we did have a problem because we had several teens with night owl hours. No water for toilets, washing faces or brushing teeth. My son was told that this is pretty normal for landlords (he was told this by a girl he met at a club). It was new to me.
There was a lovely garden that was available to you on the ground floor. When it comes to the question would I stay there again I am torn. I loved the old grand entrance and the lovely rooms. It was a wonderful experience. I was glad we tried it. I would recommend it to others with the warning of what you are getting. I would not do it again.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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