“Five restored residenze offering a charming, affordable and welcoming sanctuary within walking distance of Florence's centre”
Rooms in these 5 residences vary in comfort and size, but all are colourfully and characterfully furnished, while the superior rooms have two levels and can sleep a couple and 1-2 children. Expect terracotta floors, lofty rafters, Tuscan colours, gleaming antiques (some genuine, some repro), books, magazines and some flouncy touches.
All are equipped with air conditioning, free WiFi, TVs (basic ones in the cheaper residenza), safe deposit boxes, hairdryers and toiletries. Windows have mesh screens so if you don’t like air conditioning you can let in fresh air in summer without being mauled by mosquitoes. Bathrooms are spotless and, in the pricier residenze, verge on the luxurious, with wet rooms and white waffle towels.
You should specify your preferred residence when booking. On balance we advise spending a bit more and going for Antica Johlea or Antica Firenze for their big lofty rooms, 4-poster beds and cosy communal spaces. Antica Johlea even has a roof terrace, so glorious views may accompany your breakfasts and sundowners. Romantics could ask for a room with a balcony overlooking the inner courtyard.
The rooms in Johanna I and II are pleasing but in a darker, old-fashioned sort of way. Some have balconies overlooking the street below (and remember, a “room with a view” in Italy can also mean a room with street noise!). Johanna II is a garden villa near Fortezza Basso, so you get leafier views (wisteria and roses) in return for longer walks to the centre.
Italians aren’t big on breakfast, and nor are these guesthouses. A breakfast buffet is spread out in the breakfast room with tea, plentiful coffee, yoghurt, granola and fresh pastries. There's the option of eating in your room, while in Antica Johlea you can take breakfast up to the roof terrace on warm mornings.
No other meals are served, but biscuits and cakes are supplied in the afternoons. Italians are big on lunch and dinner, and there are some great restaurants within walking distance of each building. We ate at Ristorante Mimmo, a 5-minute walk from the 3 guesthouses in the Via San Gallo - a stylish restaurant located in a small 17th-century theatre and with menus to suit all budgets.
For a list of recommended restaurants in Florence, see our city guide.