Johlea & Johanna Residences

Florence, Italy Book from Book from £43 per night

Three friendly neighbourhood-guesthouses, restored in colourful style to offer great value, within walking distance of Florence’s sights
If you fancy living like a Florentine, these three residenze have it nailed. In a quiet neighbourhood, a 15-minute walk north of the Duomo, each 19th-century palazzo allows you to mingle with locals as you stroll into the city, and later return to a cosy and welcoming home. What they lack in convenience and slick modernity they easily make up for with warmth, wit and authenticity: original tiled floors and shuttered windows, vintage wardrobes and lofty ceilings, colourful bed-hangings and help-yourself cakes.

Rooms are spread over one floor (first, second or third, depending on the residenze) and are generous for the price - some have small balconies. Breakfast lounges, like the staff, are warm and welcoming with books, artwork and honesty bars adding to the relaxed, home-from-home atmosphere. Nothing beats coming back to a decent coffee and slice of cake, or glass of Vin Santo and biscotti, after a day pounding the city’s cobbled streets. Residenza Johanna is the largest, with 10 rooms; Firenze has the prettiest rooms; while Johlea has a knock-out roof terrace.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.


  • It feels like you’re living in the ‘real’ Florence as oppose to a touristy city, but you're within about 15 mins' walk of the sights
  • Rooms have an authentic, individual feel; like staying in the guest room at a friend’s house
  • The rooftop terrace at Johlea has glorious views of the city’s landmarks; equally stunning at night when they’re floodlit
  • Free (decent) coffee and tea, cakes and an honesty bar, plus colourful sitting areas
  • Friendly, welcoming staff who go out of their way to help


  • None of the 3 buildings are central, so it means a lot of walking
  • No-one on the premises after 7pm - in Johanna, there is a member of staff elsewhere in the building
  • Bathrooms are a little dated; some are very compact
  • Breakfasting areas and tables are small (or shared) so it’s hard to ignore, or avoid, fellow guests
  • Some noise is inevitable on the street-side rooms

Best time to go

Florence is busy at most times of the year, and horrendously so in the period from around Easter to the end of September, though it abates slightly in midsummer. Winter is often the best time for city visits as the galleries and streets are generally emptier and the hotel’s rooms warm and cosy (it can get bitterly cold in Tuscany). The Christmas/New Year period in Florence has a special magic…

Our top tips

If you're staying at Johlea, even if it’s chilly, wrap up warm and take your breakfast coffee onto the rooftop terrace. If you like meeting new people on holiday, Johanna will suit you fine.

The first-floor food hall of Mercato Centrale, about 15 minutes’ walk, is a good choice for a lively cheap-ish lunch or supper (open until 10pm).

Comfy walking shoes are essential.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • 5 Guesthouses
  • 24 rooms in 3 buildings
  • 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


Across the 3 residences, jolly and colourful rooms mix bold patterned bedcovers and colour-washed walls with traditional furniture. Many have four-poster beds with bright-striped hangings.

Johanna is a good-value choice and great for meeting people (the largest, with 10 rooms). Bedrooms, although large, are less swish and often have small shower rooms, though three have tiny balconies. Firenze is the pretty, romantic one - two rooms have balconies. Johlea is the most quirky, and with that stunning roof terrace.

Executive rooms offer more space - ours had a mezzanine level with sofa - and can take extra beds. Rear- or courtyard-facing rooms are the quietest, but even street-facing rooms aren’t noisy.

Old Florentine etchings, botanical prints and watercolours dot the walls. Thoughtful touches include quirky painted clocks and coffee machines (though not the latter in Johanna). Floors are polished-tile or parquet. Bathrooms (mainly shower-only) are traditional yet spotless if a squeeze.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi


The breakfast buffets aren’t huge but they’re perfectly adequate, nicely laid out and include fresh fruit, yogurt, a small selection of meats and cheeses, plus croissants, pastries and hard-boiled eggs. Coffee and tea are plentiful. Guests eat around a shared table in Firenze, separate tables in the other residenze. In Johlea, there’s the option of taking your breakfast to the roof terrace.

No other meals are served but coffee, tea, biscuits and cakes are freely available throughout the day. There are honesty bars for beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks at reasonable prices.

For evening meals, staff have lots of suggestions for local restaurants. All are tried and tested, such as lively Da Tito in Via San Gallo or, slightly more refined Trattoria Tiberio in Via delle Ruote; both are around a 5-minute walk.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Firenze


  • Explore the heart of historic Florence on foot: the cathedral, the Uffizi gallery, the Bargello museum, the Arno riverside, the Ponte Vecchio ...
  • Indulge in some retail therapy - outstanding fashion shops and exquisite bars, not to mention ice cream parlours with hundreds of flavours!
  • Get some fresh air in the Boboli or Bardini gardens, across the river
  • In summer, take a respite from the heat and noise of the city and take a bus up to the little hillside town of Fiesole, overlooking Florence. Nestled amongst pines and olives, this Roman settlement with well-preserved theatre is only 8km away
  • At Johlea, you can sit on the roof terrace sipping a glass of chilled wine, watching the sun set over the Florence roofscape (a typically Italian mix of domes, pantiles and TV aerials)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets


Children are welcome. free baby cots are available. The Executive rooms have space for extra beds (additional cost).

Kid Friendly:


The three residences are in the north-centre of Florence, Italy. The map below shows the approximate position of Johlea and Firenze (they are neighbouring buildings) on Via San Gallo. It also shows Johanna, which lies a few minutes’ walk north west, on Via Bonifacio Lupi.

Google map showing all locations (new window)

By Air
Fly in to Florence-Peretola airport (5km) or Pisa Galileo (80km). For more options, Rome and Milan are about 3 hours from Florence.

From the Airport
From Florence airport, you can take a taxi (approx. journey time 40 minutes depending on traffic) or a shuttle bus.

By Car
If this is just a city break, you won't need a car. If you're visiting as part of a wider region tour, you may want to see our car rental recommendations. Bringing a car into Florence is not for the faint-hearted. Brave drivers can use metered parking approx. 5 minutes' walk away on Viale Lavagnini.

Detailed directions will be sent when you confirm your booking.

More on getting to Italy and getting around


  • Florence-Peretola 5.0 km FLR
  • Pisa Galileo 80.0 km PSA


  • Beach 70.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests


At Antica Dimora Johlea residence we were very pleasantly surprised by the amazing atmosphere and super friendly staff. The residence is on the top floor of a charming old florentine building in a quiet less touristy bit of the city while the walk to the city center is only 15 minutes. The staff were very accommodating throughout our stay and even helped, advised and called ahead for our next stop in Italy. And while we were in the taxi we realised to our horror that we didn't even tip... the experience was so smooth.


Lovely characterful bed and breakfast style accommodation very close to the centre of Florence. We loved the style of the decor and the good sized rooms, as well as the lovely bathroom and extra services (such as the smart phone you can take with you from the hotel and early breakfast put on for us when we needed it). The building is beautiful (we were in the Johlea apartments with the roof terrace) and an easy 10 minute walk to the centre. There are many nice restaurants and cafes around - we loved Simbiosi on Via de Ginori 58R and of course the food market at San Lorenzo. The hotel is always accessible even though the reception is not 24 hours but sometimes the main door can be difficult to open. The staff were very friendly, welcoming and helpful giving us a lot of great tips on places to eat and go in Florence. Overall a beautiful and convenient place to stay in Florence and great value for money.


A perfect place to stay for those wishing to explore Florence. The reception staff were so helpful; they helped us book and print museum tickets and really make sure you have a great time in Florence. The staff add at least 2* extra to this place. We stayed in the Johlea residence - the roof terrace is probably one of the best places in all of Florence (not an exaggeration) as it has the best view, but is peacefully set in the roof tops of the city. The roof terrace is worth 5* by itself. The apartment was large, with a lovely mezzanine level, coffee machine and kettle. Breakfast was perfectly good enough for us.
The apartment was around a 20 minute walk from the centre of the city for us (i.e. the Uffizi Gallery), and really close to some lively and trendy Tuscan restaurants. It is also close to good and cheap(ish) parking for those who are driving to the city. A really great and surprisingly luxurious place to stay for a weekend in Florence.


Excellent location midway between Ponte Vecchio and Duomo; all sights within reasonable walking distances. Close to station for train to Pisa. Room is old fashioned, reflecting style of building, yet all services are excellent. Breakfast in small shared room, good quality. Good selection of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Car parking within 10 minutes in secure multi storey car park.
Recommend pre booking online if you want to visit the most popular sights.


Beautiful quirky B&B in a perfect position so close to walk into the centre, but yet just far enough away to be quiet and authentic. Would definitely recommend and would not hesitate to stay here again


The staff were outstanding, very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately my single room was very small, as was the bathrooms. The central heating in the building could not be turned down, therefore the room was boiling hot.


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Rates for Johlea & Johanna Residences

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