In Piazza della Signoria

Centre, Florence, Italy Book from Eur250

Smartly intimate B&B right in the heart of Florence, run by a friendly young Italian couple
We spent ages looking for small, centrally located hotels in Florence before realising that the best of them aren’t classified as hotels at all, but as B&Bs. Forget any preconceptions you may have of fusty spare rooms and greasy English breakfasts – this is B&B Italian-style! Instead of grumpy Mrs Grimblebottom, you get a go-ahead young couple called Alessandro and Sonia, who interrupt their French lesson to welcome you home with a broad ‘ciao’, a kiss and a glass of red wine. And you start the day with fresh fruit, delicious prosciutto and cheese, herbal teas or Italian-strength coffee, plus a chat and a little map to help you plan your day.

Expect spacious and cleverly designed bedrooms, gleaming bathrooms with power showers, varnished floors, canopied beds, perhaps even a fresco on the ceiling. Best of all, some rooms have tall windows overlooking the buzzing piazza della Signoria, which is as good a location as you could hope for. No wonder it’s a favourite with the Florentine cognoscenti.

Highs

  • Unbeatable location just off Florence’s most central square
  • You’ll feel at home within seconds of arrival
  • Rooms and suites have use of a shared kitchen, while the apartments get their own kitchenettes
  • Clever layouts, meticulous cleanliness and super bathrooms
  • Unsigned entrance with personal swipe-key to make you feel extra privileged

Lows

  • It hasn’t got all the facilities of a hotel - but the service is second to none
  • Compared to ordinary B&Bs, it’s expensive
  • Some guests may not enjoy the breakfasts at one table
  • It’s often full, so book well in advance

Best time to go

The B&B is open continually, and Florence is a city with something happening at all times of the year. Perhaps the time to avoid is midsummer (July, August) when it gets very hot and most Tuscan life takes to the hills. Late March, April, September and October are the busiest times. Winter (mid-Nov to mid-March) is quiet, with just a few ‘indoor tourists’ - art-lovers, fashion buyers, friends and parents of those studying here.

Our top tips

In Via della Scala is one of the world's oldest pharmacists, Officina Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, resplendent with frescoes and chandeliers; buy some of its exquisite potpourris

Great for...

Family
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 10 rooms, 3 apartments for 2-4
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome.
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Shared kitchen
  • Daily cleaning (rooms only, not apartments)
Room:

Rooms

Spread over 3 levels (second, third and fourth floors) are a dozen or so bedrooms and apartments, sleeping from 2 to 5. All of them feature simple, unpretentious good design and excellent bathrooms. Most have varnished floorboards (a few have carpets), tall windows with translucent day-drapes and blackout curtains, and an artistic touch here and there: a patch of restored fresco, a mosaic on the floor, some funky blue-glass panes.

They are pleasingly equipped, with air-con, good cupboard space, free WiFi and, in the deluxe rooms, a flatscreen TV artfully placed on a wooden easel - which we rather liked. The apartments also have CD / radio and kitchenette. Most bathrooms have shower cubicles or mosaic wetrooms, twin basins, heated towel rail and brushed steel fittings.

When booking you should specify if you want a room with a wonderful view of the piazza (these rooms are slightly larger and more elegant) or a rear-facing one (slightly quieter and cheaper). If one of the 2 high-ceilinged deluxe rooms is available, we really think it's worth the small supplement. You can try requesting particular rooms, but all the rooms have their own charm, so don’t worry too much. For the apartments, you can specify Giulio (best for a couple alone), Umberto (best for a couple with one or two children) or Matteo (best for a couple with one older child).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee tea making
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The only meal that is served in the guesthouse is breakfast. It's a generous spread of charcuterie, cheeses, fruit, croissants / rolls, jam, tea, coffee and fresh juices (a zingy blood-orange juice when I stayed), plus eggs to order. You can have it in your bedroom, or in the main reception room, at a long polished table along with other guests - a lovely sociable start to the day.

For lunch and dinner there’s a growing choice of excellent restaurants in Florence, serving everything from authentic Tuscan fare (e.g. the legendary and highly sociable I Latini) through new-generation ‘cucina Toscana rivisitata’ (e.g. Garbo) to the new-in-2012 Gucci café, attached to the museum. But there are also some horrible tourist dives with Japanese menus, dry pizzas and limp chips – ask staff for the latest intelligence, or consult our city guide.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Gawp at the tri-coloured marble façade of the Duomo and climb to the top (queues permitting) for a bird’s eye view of the city
  • Spend at least half a day in the ultimate Renaissance picture collection, the Uffizi gallery; and you could spend the same amid the sculptures of the Bargello museum
  • Culture vultures can choose from 6 more museums in the Palazzo Pitti, and any number of sculpture-filled piazzas - the best of which is on your doorstep!
  • Via Tornabuoni is a fashionista's dream: Florence's shops are among the world's most gorgeous
  • Amble over the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, admiring the silvery river Arno or the golden sparkle of jewellers’ shops
  • Ride through the city in a horse-drawn carriage, stopping to choose an ice-cream from the hundreds of flavours
  • Get some fresh air in the Boboli gardens or the Forte di Belvedere, on the oltr’arno (south bank)
  • Get some peace in the wonderfully-decorated churches of Santa Croce and Orsanmichele near the guesthouse

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

The upstairs flats are perfect for families with one or two children of any age – though you should remember that sofa-beds are often rather short for fully-grown kids, while the loft in Umberto has very little headroom and steep stairs. Extra beds are available for a supplement.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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