Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 669: FlorenceBy.com, Palazzo Mannaioni Residence
Apartments near Santo Spirito, Florence
May-June 2003, 6 weeks
Palazzo Mannioni is located on a narrow one-way street in the Oltrarno near Santo Spirito, a 2 minute walk to Ponte alla Carraia. The Palazzo itself was very quiet when I was there; I rarely saw or heard other guests. My room, tucked away with 2 others on the mezzanine, faced the street, so at times there was the usual motorino noise. There was also some construction going on in buildings across the street, but the noise was never troublesome. (I live in the center of Boston, so have a fairly high tolerance for neighbor noise!)
I love the area, and chose Mannioni because of it, and the reasonable price.
There are lots of places within a 2 or 3 minute walk for coffee; my favorite is Bar Pasticerria Marino, on P.zza Nazario Sauro. There is a great pizzeria on via Maffia- I can't recall the name, but it is the only one.
Many shops close by to pick up necessities; the nearest grocery store is the Esselunga on via Pisana (near P.zza Pier Vettori) about a 10-minute walk. You can catch the #6 bus at the Universale stop on v. Pisana and get off quite close to v. Maffia if you have a lot to carry.
The building was very pleasant. I think some of the rooms on the upper floors have views of Santo Spirito. I actually don't know how many other apartments there are! I don't recall a room #, each room has the name of a flower. My room was near the front door, up a few stairs. The reception/lobby area is closed at night. It was pleasant, but not really set up for hanging around in.
No garden, no outside sitting area, no pool. Some of the apartments have small balconies.
The furniture in my studio was serviceable. A comfortable single bed, bedside table, a kitchen table with 2 chairs, a writing desk with a chair, a TV set on a wall-mounted shelf, a large armadio and some small free-standing shelves. Hmmm- the 3 chairs were metal and cane "ice-cream parlor" chairs, a nice comfortable armchair would have been a welcome addition. The room was large enough to easily accomodate one.
The apartment was very clean when I arrived. It is cleaned, and the bed linens and towels changed, twice per week. There are also some basic cleaning utensils provided - broom, dustpan, to tidy up between cleanings.
The bathroom was great- fairly large, with lots of storage space. There was a stall shower with great water pressure. There was no hairdryer - I just brought a spare from my sister's house (she lives nearby), but you may be able to request one from the front desk.
The kitchen was a small alcove with a table, small refrigerator, sink, 2 burner cooktop with an exhaust fan, and cabinets. Dish towels are provided; dish soap was not. There were draperies to close off the kitchen if you wanted to.
I did not cook, unless you count making coffee every morning. There was a 2 cup espresso pot (puh-leese!), but I asked for, and received, a 3 cup one. There were dishes and silverware for 4; not great stuff, but not bad. There were lots of pots and pans, varying in quality from college-dorm to very nice. There was a cutting board, and 2 good sharp knives.
You could probably make a decent pasta, or a steak, in this kitchen but nothing more complicated than that.
Problems or Bonuses
A few days before I left for Florence, I noticed that the required deposit had not been charged to my credit card. I called Mannioni to confirm that the reservation was valid. It was - I was told "Of course we're expecting you- see you soon!" When I arrived I found out that the staff did not like the way that FlorenceBy had figured the bill, and wanted to offer me a larger discount because of the length of my stay. That was a nice surprise!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
FlorenceBy promptly acknowledged my reservation request, and everything was completed within a few days.
I arrived at Mannioni much later than I had planned, due to a train derailment just north of Rome. (It took 6 1/2 hours to get from JFK to Rome, and over 5 hours to get from Rome to Florence - on the Eurostar!) I was aware that Mannioni is closed for a few hours in the afternoon, but took a cab there from the station anyway. I was standing in front, getting my bearings and planning to go get a coffee and wait to check in, when one of the employees walked by. She let me in, put my suitcase in the office, and apologized for being closed. Very sweet!
It was VERY hot during most of my stay; my room did not have A/C (some do), but a fan showed up in my room one day. That was nice!
The staff would start out speaking English to me, then as we got to know each other, readily switch to Italian.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would, and probably will, stay at Mannioni again. The location is wonderful, the place itself is quite nice, and it is a great value, especially for 1 person.
It is not luxurious, but it is comfortable, clean and safe.
Things to do in this area
There are too many great things to do in this area of Florence to list! Enjoy!!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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