A last-minute decision to visit Florence meant a lack of accommodation options. Hotels were mostly fully booked and mostly extortionate. After much searching we stumbled upon an apartment – Apartment Francesca on HomeAway which happened to have availability for the three nights we wanted and those nights only. Serendipity, we booked it immediately. A bit of a false start getting there – the taxi driver tried to drop us off on a street that was the wrong one. Husband had looked at the location of the apartment on google maps the previous evening and this was not it. After a “discussion” with the driver, we were back in the taxi and this time dropped off in the right place.
The owner – Simona – had been responsive, friendly and helpful during booking and was there to greet us (and take our money) when we arrived. A beautiful apartment with two bedrooms, two ultra modern bathrooms, a small but perfectly formed kitchen and a cozy living area. All mod-cons, add to that stylish and comfortable we loved it. Simona gave us restaurant recommendations, general tips and hints and basically set us up for exploring her city. We were told we would have to pay for the electricity we used during our stay – apparently to avoid abuse of the air-conditioning – we paid the princely sum of 2 Euro on leaving so no issue with that either.
Those super comfy, luxurious beds were so massively appreciated after our less than comfortable experience in the Cinque Terre. We were warned a week before arriving by Simona about building work going on in another property in the same building. This was to be during working hours only – fine with us, we didn’t plan to be in Florence cooped up inside. Those workmen arrived promptly each morning at 7.50 am and commenced drilling and banging at 8 am on the dot. No lingering on those comfy beds, but at least it got us up and out.
The apartment was gorgeous but the location topped that. Just steps away from the Ufizzi, close to the river and a 5 minute stroll from the Ponte Vecchio, you can’t get much better than that. The whole area and all the streets surrounding it were lively and buzzing – bars galore, shops, little restaurants and stacks going on. In the evenings we loved the ambiance, people sipping wine sitting on the pavement and snacking on food served from hole in the wall places, it was wonderful.
We had lunch in Ditta Artigianale on our first day – recommended by Simona, this is not a typically Italian place but with big, open windows and a friendly atmosphere, she highly praised their brunch. No quibbles with that, we feasted on fantastic Croque Monsieurs which more than set us up for a day of pavement pounding. We loved it here so much it became our morning haunt for coffee and croissants.
We had dinner at the Trattoria Anita on our first evening – again a Simona recommendation – steps away from the apartment, nothing fancy but traditional and the best food ever. We loved it so much we returned on our last night – something we almost never do. Son devoured pasta with sausage and cheese, I am still salivating over the sausage with white beans and Husband declared his steak superb. Probably the best food we had the whole time in Italy – a fitting last supper!