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Review 4335: Palazzo Gamba, Leonardo Apartment

www.palazzogambaflorence.com

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Review by Deva from US

2bed/1bath apartment near Duomo, Florence


When

October 2009, 5 nights

Location

This set of apartments and suites is located directly across from the Duomo in the center of Florence.

Nearby Amenities

Restaurants, gelaterias, groceries, pastry shops, bank machines and laundromats were all within a few blocks walk. It was about a 5-10 minute walk to the Mercato Central as well.

The House/Apartment

The apartment was in what appeared to be an old historical palazzo that had been renovated for use as apartments. Most of the ceilings must have been at least 15 feet high, and the two sets of big windows that opened onto the small balcony above the street were nearly as tall.

There were a couple other apartments in the building. The ground floor featured a tiny entry way with an equally tiny elevator and a dim, somewhat slippery staircase winding up (and up) several flights.

Garden

There was no garden or outside sitting area.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furniture was in excellent shape and very comfortable. The apartment was clean, and there were plenty of places for the four of us to sit.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The matresses were comfortable, but the bedding (sheets and comforters) were not particularly high quality and kept slipping off the bed.

One bedroom (two twin beds) had an attached bathroom with shower, toilet, sink and bidet. This bedroom had high ceilings and enormous windows overlooking the street and was thus quite noisy. The second bedroom had lower ceilings, a queen sized bed and no window. This made it much quieter, but also kind of stuffy. I would have not wanted to stay there if it were hot!

Kitchen

The kitchen was clean and usable but was not outfitted with anything beyond the bare basics (i.e., no salt or oil or anything in the cupboards, just cutlery, plates and a few pots). There was no tea kettle. The microwave oven had a mode in which it could be used for toasting. The cups were tiny tea-cups, which was odd for those of us used to big US-sized cups of tea and coffee. There was a dishwasher but only one tab of soap for it (which was not replaced) and there was no other dish detergent, scrubber, and insufficient drying cloths. The frying pan was non-stick, but the non-stick coating was peeling off in an unhealthy manner.

Problems or Bonuses

Potential Problems:

  • Overall this apartment felt more like a hotel room with a kitchenette (and in fact perhaps that is really what it was, though the website calls it an apartment). So if you like your rental properties to feel like "home" this is not for you. The decor was graceful but rather sterile.
  • The stairways were very dim and potentially dangerous (I am pretty spry but I slipped once).
  • The apartment is VERY noisy due to the location (right on the street across from the Duomo). It didn't matter too much to my husband and I, sleeping in the inner room, but if it had been warmer and we'd needed the windows/bedroom door open I think I would have needed earplugs to sleep. In addition to the crowds of tourists out early and late, there was a constant flow of traffic, and several ambulances a day (there was apparently an ambulance station nearby).

Potential Bonuses:

  • There was a maid service, although they only came through once or twice during our five night stay.
  • The location, though noisy as noted above, was VERY central, placing most all the sites of the city and all needed amenities within a ten minute walk.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

There was an on-site representative at the desk from noon to 8pm, who spoke English. The facility matched our expectations and the website descriptions.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would recommend it to someone who would not mind the noise and constant bustle, and for whom the central location would be a bonus, and who would not mind that it felt more like a hotel than a home.

I would not recommend it to someone looking for a slower-paced, relaxed and peaceful environment, who wanted to feel like they were staying in a home rather than a hotel.

Things to do in this area

Pretty much everything in the guidebook is right there. My dad climbed to the top of the Duomo and we were able to wave to him from the balcony of the apartment!

I was particularly fond of the cornetto from Scudieri's, right on the corner of the square across from the Baptistery. The chocolate ones in particular were delicious! We had those for breakfast most mornings.

We also bought several suppers and lunches from the stalls at the Mercato Centrale, a few blocks away.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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