Oltrarno, Florence, Italy
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Oltrarno, Florence, Italy

Eclectic rooms in a 16th-century palazzo, overlooking a secret garden in the arty Oltrarno district

Eclectic rooms in a 16th-century palazzo, overlooking a secret garden in the arty Oltrarno district

Just 10 minutes from the tourist madness of the Ponte Vecchio, you can slip behind high walls into a calming green space of ancient trees and romantic follies. Giardino Torrigiani, which AdAstra overlooks, is the largest privately owned city garden in Europe. This unique guesthouse occupies a floor of the Marchese Torrigiani’s 16th-century family home, but while the 14 rooms have kept their aristocratic history - frescoed ceilings, carved double doors - they’ve been styled in a witty, contemporary manner, with retro and recycled furnishings and bold colours.

The treats of this place - design aside - are an enormous terrace overlooking the garden, and the wonderfully relaxed vibe. Plus you’re in the Oltrarno, a real locals’ neighbourhood, with genuine artisan shops and some of Florence's best eateries. If you're here for a few days, spend at least one just lazing on the terrace with your book and that tranquil view.


  • Gorgeous, romantic bedrooms with super-kingsize beds and in-room tubs; 2 are secreted away in the Giardino Torrigiani
  • The beautiful terrace with plenty of room for everyone; several rooms have direct access
  • Friendly and welcoming staff love to share their local knowledge of where to dine and shop
  • Peaceful garden views; great for unwinding after the clamour of the city
  • Incredible attention to detail throughout - and very well priced for such high standards


  • Although the Giardino Torrigiani is tantalisingly close, it's not open to guests unless you take a pricey guided tour
  • No meals served except breakfast, though there's an honesty bar and great eateries nearby
  • No twin rooms
  • Staff aren't around 24/7 (emergencies excepted) and the entry-code system can be tedious
  • A 20-minute walk from the city’s great sights

Best time to go

Florence will always be busy with tourists, but it's quieter in late autumn and early spring. High summer is hot and humid - with mosquitoes - and best avoided. The guesthouse is open all year - note, prices will soar during Christmas, fashion weeks and Pitti Fairs.

Our top tips

On the first Sunday of each month there’s free access to many of the city’s museums and galleries, including the Uffizi.

Piazza Passera, in the Oltrarno, is a small but lively square where locals of all ages meet up. It has a couple of excellent restaurants, a little gelateria and a boho café, Caffè degli Artigiani, with pretty alfresco tables squashed in the side street.

Great for...

City Style
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 14 rooms
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • Allowed but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Honesty bar


All rooms are generously proportioned with comfortably worn parquet or tiled floors, shuttered windows and high frescoed or double-height ceilings. Artwork is contemporary and colourful, while furnishings lean towards vintage or recycled - perhaps a Biedermeier armchair, G-plan dressing table or lamp base fashioned out of an old fire extinguisher.

If you're happy with a street view rather than access to the terrace, the Superior and Deluxe Doubles are good value. The 2 Premium Garden Doubles are super-private, set in an old gardener's cottage in the Giardino Torrigiani (you're permitted access to get there!). King Garden View rooms are peaceful and have leafy views; King Balcony rooms have direct access to the communal terrace, with seating just for them.

Each room is subtly themed and unique. One takes its peppermint-green colour scheme from a framed vintage Pucci scarf; another is all about stars with a collection of snowdomes and a framed Ziggy Stardust album cover. Bathrooms are bold - perhaps hot-pink walls or hydrangea wallpaper - with large showers, plus clawfoot or deep baths in the bedrooms.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • WiFi


It’s breakfast only at this guesthouse, but an above-average spread by Italian standards. As well as fresh fruit salad, cereals and yoghurt, there’s a decent selection of charcuterie and cheeses, along with pastries from a local bakery. We loved the apricot-jam croissants, and the blackcurrant tart was wickedly good. Try the homemade quince preserve, too.

The elegant breakfast-cum-sitting-room has a high, frescoed ceiling with a blingy chandelier, a parquet floor, and a mix of small, marble-topped tables and retro furnishings. Doors open to the terrace for alfresco breakfasts on warm days.

The pastries remain available all day, as are teas, coffees and fresh fruits - all free to help yourself to. There's an honesty bar for wine, spirits, soft drinks and beers.

For lunch and dinner, the Oltrarno has some of the city’s best neighbourhood eateries. We enjoyed earthy home cooking in Osteria Tripperia il Magazzino (tripe meatballs, rabbit alla cacciatora and a rich ragu made entirely from chicken livers). Staff also recommend Al Tranvai (rustic but innovative fare such as ricotta dumplings with blue cheese and asparagus, and an incredible chestnut pudding with persimmon).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Restaurants nearby


  • Browse the Oltrarno’s artisan shops; along and around Via San Spirito you’ll find unique jewellers, shoemakers, print-makers and handmade paper workshops
  • Walk to Florence’s big-hitters, the Duomo, Uffizi, Accademia and Bargello, all 15 to 20 minutes’ away across the Arno river. Book ahead in high season
  • For the finest views, brave the steep climb to San Miniato al Monte, the second-oldest church in the city. Romanesque in style, it has a stunning marbled façade and atmospheric crypt
  • As well as designing the Duomo's famous dome, Brunelleschi also created the stunning Santo Spirito church, which became his swan song. Its sequence of 38 side chapels is perfect in its elegant simplicity
  • Buy a picnic and swap the well-known Boboli Gardens for Giardino Bardini, a peaceful space mixing English romantic and Italian Baroque, with cracking city views


Families are welcome but it's not ideal for kids. The ambiance is romantic and peaceful, and the only meal served is breakfast.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

A baby cot or extra bed can be put in all rooms except the Superior Double.

Kid Friendly:


AdAstra is on a quiet residential street of the Oltrarno district of Florence, discreetly hidden behind big iron gates.

By Air:
There are a few flights to Florence Airport (5km) but most people fly into Pisa (79km). You can either hire a car from the airport and park at the guesthouse, or take the train from Pisa to Santa Maria Novella (Florence's main train station, a 70-80 minute journey), then walk (20 mins) or jump in a taxi to reach AdAstra.

By Train:
If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can reach Florence and Tuscany quite easily from London. See the excellent Seat 61 for details.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to Italy and getting around


  • Florence Peretola 5.0 km FLR
  • Pisa Galileo Galilei 79.0 km PSA


  • Beach 70.0 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

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