Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 400: Florence Villas, Santa Croce 1
2bed/2bath apartment near Santa Croce, Florence
27 Oct - 2 Nov, 2002, 6 nights
Via Torta, just off Piazza S Croce. Next door to S Croce 2, as reviewed by Barb in Review 243. S Croce 1 faces the street, so might be a bit noisy in the summer with windows open (not for traffic: via Torta is tiny, but just for general on-street exuberance!). 3rd floor, lots of stairs, so, as Barb says, good justification for all those gelate.
Lots of food shopping close by. A butcher, small deli, and latterie are just round the corner. Newsstand, with plenty of foreign papers, in the Piazza (all of these less than a minute from front door). The Standa supermarket was shut for renovation when we were there, but 5 minutes' walk in the other direction (south) takes you to via de' Neri. This is a super little street, with butchers, veg shops, bread and pasticcerie, a good tavola calda, and a salumeria. And lots else!
5 minutes' brisk walk to the NE takes you to the S Ambrogio market (fully described on Diva's site: see the Florence for Foodies section), and to the cluster of good restaurants around there (Cibrčo, Pizzaiuolo, etc).
5 minutes' leisurely walk west takes you to Cadogan's "Medieval Core": Uffizi, Duomo, etc etc.
Old, but architecturally undistinguished from the outside; recently refitted in the inside of the two Florence Villas apartments. Their site gives some good photos: follow the link at the top. Privately owned apartments (just one each) on first and second floors.
Good quality, new furniture, with comfortable sofa and easy chairs (again: see photos on the agency site). On top of the (very reasonable) rental fee, you pay Eur 75 for cleaning, so it ought to be clean! And it was. The only annoyance was a common one: the level of lighting. One table lamp by the 2 easy chairs was fine for reading, but the wall lights were too dim for comfortable reading (by our middle-aged eyes, anyway) elsewhere in the living room.
Good, firm, foam mattresses. The smaller bedroom has a good bathroom (bath with shower over, basin, bidet, wc; washing machine, which we didn't try) on the same level. And there's a smaller bathroom (shower, wc, bidet, basin) off the living room. Plenty of hot water.
Cooker excellent: 5 gas rings, and an electric fan oven/grill combo. Large fridge with freezer (2 ice trays). Microwave, electric toaster. Lots of decent plates, glasses, cups and cutlery. A fairly good selection of pans, though, as always, none of the lids fitted!
Problems or Bonuses
As I said above, it really is very well situated: all of central Florence is easily reachable on foot. And for the price (Eur 800 for a full week) seems very reasonable for such a well fitted apt.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Meaghan, the onsite rep, is Australian: she's lived in Florence for some time, and is friendly and efficient. All the prior fixing had been by e-mail, and worked very easily.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, definitely. Not, maybe, for more than 4 people, though. The main bedroom is on a gallery that looks down onto the main living room, which also has a double sofa bed, so not much privacy if both are in use. The smaller bedroom likewise looks down over a small room with sofa bed. But for 2 couples it's fine: each has their own bedroom and bathroom.
Things to do in this area
As Barb points out, the famous Gelaterie Vivoli is just round the corner. But I have to agree with Colleen that Florence's best is to be found at Perchč No, 5 minutes further on. Two marvellous eating places within 3 minutes' walk: Aqua al 2 (reviewed in lots of places), and the much less well known (and, on the day we went, we were the only non-Italians there) Osteria de' Pazzi. Diva's site recommends this (and has a photo of the wonderful host, Paolo): don't miss it! Trattoria Cibrčo is, as everyone says, marvellous value. Good Neapolitan style pizzas at Pizzaiuolo, opposite Cibrčo; Colonnine is a good, local pizza place, just 3 minutes away in via Benci.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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