Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3846: Sleeping in Florence, Guelfa Apartment
3bed/2bath apartment in historic center, Florence
Oct 11-13, 2008, three nights
The street, Via Guelfa, is quite near the train station. At first I was apprehensive about this given the sketchy nature of that neighborhood, but actually we found the location to be quite convenient, on a relatively quiet street, near a supermercado and a .99€ store (like a dollar store in the States--they even had 40 cl. Moretti and Peroni for .99€!), and a short walk from the train station. We never had to take a cab in Florence thanks to the location of this apartment. One the street is located a sex shop (about four doors down--erotic clothing and toys, not a brothel LOL!) and a couple of gay bath houses, one of them two doors down. However, we were not bothered at all by this and preferred it to being close to ritzy shops and high end restaurants. Very colorful! Great for people-watching! We never felt unsafe, but then we were two couples and the women did not find occasion to go out alone at night. Your circumstances or tolerance for local color may differ.
Everything was very convenient. As mentioned, the supermercado and the .99€ store were nearby (around the corner on Via Nazionale), both useful for acquiring our basic needs. Some small trattoria and Chinese restaurants were also close (on the same block).
The building was in great shape, though I don't think it was historical (aside from an ancient-looking wall at the back of the property. We were stunned by the quality of this apartment. It was large, with three bedrooms, two with the standard queen-sized bed (two twins pushed together but very comfortable), and one with separate twin beds that could not be moved. The two bathrooms were large and featured showers. One bedroom was a bungalow at the back of the garden, so very private, and had its own bathroom (one of the two). The other bathroom was located in the main part of the apartment, attached to the living room and was used by everyone when in the kitchen/living room area. The dining room was very well-lit, with a huge skylight, so that even though there were no windows (it's a ground floor apartment) one never felt claustrophobic or in the dark.
There were several other apartments in the building, but I'm not sure how many. Maybe four or five? The one guy whose door faced the little alcove of the apartment we rented played his instruments and smoked in his place, but once inside our apartment, we could neither hear nor smell him. This was probably thanks to a little maze-like entryway one had to walk down once inside our front door.
Outside the kitchen was a beautiful private garden with a covered patio (pergola with vines), a table and chairs, a washer and sink/counter area (separate from the kitchen), a few steps and then a pathway through a garden past palm trees, flowers, and shrubs which led to a little bungalow. It was extremely serene and picturesque and we sat out there quite a bit because the weather was so nice. We did have a problem with mosquitoes, though, so bring some bug repellent.
The furnishings were clean and comfortable. The rooms were a little small in the European fashion, but everything was so spotless and well-appointed that we lacked for nothing. Plenty of seating, though we did sit three on the futon in the living room and one on the sitting chair. We liked each other, though, so it was fine. Others could have sat in the dining room and still talked to everyone in the living room without feeling left out.
The beds were comfortable. The linens were clean and crisp (100% cotton and new looking), plenty of bathrooms and hot water! We never ran out and there were four of us. We took long showers. Very clean, spacious bathrooms, private and modern looking. Also, I saw a port-a-crib in the apartment for those who are looking to bring small children.
The kitchen was extremely well-supplied. We did not cook meals there, except for American style coffee in the mornings (there was a drip coffeemaker), but I am a cook and would have loved using this kitchen. It was plenty big and the appliances were nice and new looking. A full set of dishes, pots, pans, and utensils were included. A few condiments also, including salt and sugar, were in the pantry.
Problems or Bonuses
The only surprise was how wonderful this apartment was despite the relatively colorful neighborhood. Excellent place.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The price was very affordable, especially divided between two couples. I would recommend this place to families, childless couples, and single people alike. The agency was also excellent and the lady who checked us in, Gabriella I think was her name, was extremely good at showing us how everything worked (in English) and at being at our beck and call. She lives nearby in case you need her and she did have to come over on the first day to bring us towels. Everything was exactly as advertised, if not better.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would absolutely stay here again! We recommend it without qualifications to other individuals who want an excellent space to unwind after the hectic chaos of Florence.
Things to do in this area
The osteria on Via Guelfa on the left before you get to Via Nazionale (it's almost at the corner of Guelfa and Nazionale) was very good. We saw lots of locals there with the tourists. The coffee bar on the corner of Guelfa and Nazionale was fine. We got cornetti there in the mornings. Also, I used an Internet cafe on Via Guelfa, maybe three blocks away(I think?), that was very clean and organized. €2.50 for a half hour of computer time.
The Accademia is about a 10 minute walk and that is the most cultural activity we did during our entire stay so it was nice to have that in close proximity.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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