Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4561: Poggio Imperiale Apartments, Apartment Maria
Apartments in building near Porta Romana, Florence
April/May 2010, 1 month
Spent one month at Poggio Imperiale Apartments on the outskirts of Florence (in the Oltrarno). The apartment is in a residential area, which although out of the hustle bustle of downtown Florence, can be reached easily through one of three major streets that go into the downtown area. I'm not a great walker but I was able to walk from my apartment to the Duomo in less than a half hour. An ATAF bus stop is also within 200 yards of the apartment (the buses run regularly into Florence) and a tabaccheria/bar where you can buy per trip, weekly, or monthly tickets just a few steps beyond the bus stop. Porta Romana, a major Florentine landmark, is visible as you walk out the gate of the apartments.
The area was very peaceful with parents and children walking to school, people walking their dogs, and the pensioni sitting on the nearby benches. There is traffic for sure but not nearly as hectic as central Florence.
I can't imagine a better location especially if you want to enjoy being in a real neighborhood instead of the central city(not for everyone I'm sure but for me, it was absolutely perfect).
There are numerous places nearby to buy groceries, bread and pastries, fruit and vegetables, gelato (an excellent gelateria) coffee, and also a drugstore, pet supply store, appliance store, dry cleaners, and several outstanding restaurants including one of my favorites in all of Florence, Pizzeria Porta Antica (the bufala mozzarella and burata pizza and nudi are to die for!). As you walk north into Florence either up Via Romana, Via del Serragli, or Viale Francesco Petracca, you pass very manner of shop and store imaginable from toy stores to antique restoration shops. Also barbers, hair stylists, shoe repair stores, a super mercato (supermarket), artists' studios, and the list goes on and on.
I rented the apartment "Maria" which is on the first floor. The apartment is spacious with a combination kitchen/dining room/living room, large bedroom with either a queen sized bed or two double beds, and a very large bathroom (by Italian standards) with shower (no tub).
The apartment is extremely well-maintained and very peaceful and quiet. You could hear the birds chirping in the morning as you opened your front door onto a beautiful terrace.
There is also a large dresser and large closet. There is also access to a washing machine and dryer, which although slow, are very efficient and a welcome feature especially for a long stay.
The apartment is very nicely furnished, with a comfortable couch that rolls out so queen bed, and comfortable beds.
There is a locked gated entrance.
There is a shared terrace and with several tables and chairs and flowers and plants everywhere. I was usually the only one using the terrace so it was very private. No pool but that was not an important consideration for me.
The furniture was in excellent condition and very comfortable. The apartment was spotless when I moved in and was cleaned meticulously once a week.
Bedroom and bathroom was spacious. Beds were very comfortable.
The kitchen was perfect for preparing simple or elaborate meals. The kitchen consists of electric stove (two burners), refrigerator and microwave. There are ample dishes, silverware, pots, and pans provided, in case you want to take advantage of several nearby produce stores, alimentari, and bakeries (which are all wonderful) and prepare your own meals.
Problems or Bonuses
I was surprised at how, even though it was a residential area, everything was so convenient. I did not want to rent a car and there was absolutely no reason to because of proximity of everything I needed.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners, Clara and Carlo, are absolutely fantastic and will do anything to make your stay at the apartments enjoyable. Clara visits the apartments daily and was very, very solicitous about my well being. She even invited me to join her Rotary Club for a tour of Vasari's Corridor above the Ponte Vecchio, which was wonderful. Both speak excellent English or will converse in Italian if you prefer. Their motto was ask and you shall receive! It rained a few days during my stay and if they could have changed the weather for me, no doubt they would have done it. They even presented me with a bottle of wine for my birthday which brought a tear to my eye.
The apartment is exactly as described on the website.
There are seven apartments and two studios available to rent, priced at €700-750 weekly for the apartments and €500 weekly for the studio. There is a discount for longer stays which, in my case, brought down the weekly rental to about €550 a week for one of the larger apartments. With the discount for a long term rental, the price was very reasonable and included everything.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay there again and again and again. I am ready to book for another month in two years and can't wait to return!! I would heartily recommend it to my best friend (and have) as well as family members or anyone else who wants privacy and convenience and the opportunity to visit the museums and shops by day and return to a home away from home in the evening.
Things to do in this area
I shopped for my lunch and dinner, bought wine, bought gifts for friends and relatives (and my dog), got a haircut, bought bus tickets, ate gelato, drank caffe, bought the best bread and pizza (from a small hole-in-wall bakery - Pane Romana - less than 1/2 mile from the apartment), and had the ultimate food experience on my last day when I had a delicious apple and cream pastry from Pasticceria Gualtieri (around the corner on Via Senese) that was still warm and literally melted in my mouth. Outstanding restaurants within a stone's throw of the apartment include Porta Antica, da Ruggeria, Trattoria Boboli, and Trattoria Mangiatoia. I ate at all of them at least twice and was never disappointed.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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