“Five restored residenze offering a charming, affordable and welcoming sanctuary within walking distance of Florence's centre”
Rooms in the 3 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 wetrooms and white waffle towels.
You can choose your preferred residence when booking. We'd advise spending a bit more and going for the deluxe rooms in Johlea or Firenze: most are lofty, with 4-poster beds and cosy communal spaces. Antica Johlea has a roof terrace, with glorious views to accompany your breakfasts and sundowners. Romantics could ask for a room with a balcony overlooking the inner courtyard.
The rooms in Johanna I are pleasing but in a darker, old-fashioned sort of way. Some have balconies overlooking the street below (but remember, a “room with a view” in Italy can also mean a room with street noise!).
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.