Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5268: Poggio Imperiale Apartments, Ghega Apartment
Apartments in building near Porta Romana, Florence
September 2012, one week
We had the 'Ghega' apartment in Poggio Imperiale. The apartment is located just past Porta Romana in Oltrarno. You can see Porta Romana from the terrace to the apartment complex. This is a great non-touristy area with plenty of nearby amenities and an easy walk into Florence past the Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace and across the Ponte Vecchio. For those who don't want to walk this far, a bus runs down Via Romana to the center. The apartment is also just across from the back entrance to the Boboli gardens and a lovely area to sit and read around one of the more picturesque pools. We had a pass that allowed us to walk through the garden every day and to just hang out for awhile in the evenings.
Gelato shop, bakery, groceries, a place to buy bulk wine (bring your own bottles) and many local restaurants all within an easy walk. I walked out to buy pastries for breakfast each morning and we got a gelato most evenings. An excellent trattoria visited pretty much only by locals was a couple blocks away. We ate there twice and had superb meals. Bus service is easy. Several buses including the ones that go up to Piazzale Michelangelo and on to the SMN train station stop at Porta Romana. And in the past we have caught the bus to Siena there as well. Tickets for buses are available at the bars/bakeries at Porta Romana.
Lovely old building with enormous shared terrace with flower pots, tables and while we were there, we never had a problem finding a table. We spent a lot of time enjoying the terrace in the sunny fall weather.
There were maybe 10 or so apartments in the building. Having outside space in a Florence rental is rare; this was something that made it particularly pleasant.
Our particular apartment, the Ghega, opened directly onto the terrace. There was a louvered door that could be closed for privacy while allowing breezes through and an inner door. Both doors are locked on exit for security. The terrace was not noisy and being directly on the terrace was a plus. Some of the larger apartments are upstairs. There is a locked gate from the street below to entry to the terrace and then to the apartments.
This was a small one bedroom apartment with a front room that included kitchen counter along the back wall and the dining table and a couch and china cabinet. The furniture was not very comfortable. The cheap futon like couch was just not comfortable to sit on and that was pretty much it except for chairs around the dining table that were an awkward height. This was our biggest disappointment with the place as we do like to sit and read in the evening and it was not particularly comfortable to do this. The decor is nicely done. The walls have some sort of interesting antique looking treatment involving beeswax and were lovely. There was an air conditioner which can be important in Florence.
The place was clean and well maintained.
There were guide books available and some reading material and some interesting historic pictures about the family of the owner and the building.
The bedroom was quite comfortable and there was an armoire just outside the room with ample storage space for a week. The room fronted onto a side street and was fairly quite. Florence is a noisy town but this place was much quieter for sleep than most we have rented in Florence. The walls are done in the same lovely pale yellow stencil and beeswax treatment. There were convenient bedside lamps and tables to allow reading in bed and storage of things you like to have at bedside like reading glasses.
The bathroom included a bidet as well as sink, toilet and shower. It was small but convenient and clean and well maintained. The shower had good pressure. The linen provided was adequate. There was a hair dryer provided.
Minimalist kitchen but we were able to cook full meals. Adequate pots and pans and a good supply of dishes in a china cupboard. Perfectly well appointed for the purpose and a dining table with four chairs.
We always cook breakfast and most dinners in when traveling and were able to do that easily here.
There is a common laundry room and we were able to use it for our needs. There are irons and ironing boards provided as well as laundry soap for the washer. This is a great convenience when traveling for long periods.
Problems or Bonuses
We were pleasantly surprised by the usability and charm of the terrace and liked the decor of the apartment.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Carla, the owner manager, was terrific to deal with. She graciously identified potential dining spots for our first night and made the reservation we requested so that we were well set for our first Saturday night. The place we ate was amazingly good and so we booked for a second dinner there later in the week. She is very solicitous of the needs of guests and a pleasant person. She also conducts business very professionally. We didn't have any problems with our apartment; everything was in good order. But I am sure if there were a problem that she would deal with it effectively and quickly.
Correspondence was always quickly attended to when we made the arrangements.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
This was a great place to stay. Carla the owner is wonderful and I would not hesitate to do business with her again if we return to Florence. The apartments are very well maintained and decorated with affection. The terrace made the place for us; having pleasant outdoor space is such a pleasure.
The location is probably not ideal for a first time visitor, as it is on the far side of Oltrarno. It is however easy to get to the center on foot or by bus and if one has a week or more it would probably be a fair choice. We prefer not being in the heart of Florence tourist hell. So for us the location was perfect. Many of the residents of the building appeared to be longer term renters. And those who were tourists like us seemed to be people, like us, who had already spent time in Florence before. One couple was visiting children who live permanently in Florence.
We highly recommend this as a haven in Florence, off the beaten track while accessible to tourist Florence.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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