Certaldo Alta is a short train ride from Florence. The new part is less interesting, apart from a twice weekly market so head for the old part, Certaldo Alta either on foot or using the cable car from the square. Here you will find a lovely Tuscan hill town with few tourists, some interesting history and quiet bars and restaurants. In the summer there is a music and arts festival so you can listen to jazz in part of an old church surrounded by ancient frescoes. Even better, stay for the night in the nearby Fattoria Basseto, a former Benedictine convent, that is now a budget hotel and hostel. In one of the rooms there is a black and white photograph of the family who still own it, taken in the 1950's by Cecil Beaton.The owners are lovely, you will want to stay, arrange a cooking class at a nearby farm, and not return to Florence!
Via delle Città, 50052 Certaldo FI, Italy
+39 348 4370285
Google map: bit.ly/11ucXCG
A secret hideaway! Found this place through a recommendation and went with the family. A few holiday apartments on a beautiful estate surrounded by vineyards, with a pool. We found the owners, who live there too, went out of their way to make us welcome and to give great tips on where to go to eat and how to avoid the tourist hoards! Local vineyard "Isole & Olena" visit was amazing! Also very close to Castellina in Chianti (great local market on a Saturday) and with views to San Gimingnano. We went last summer and are going back in August. The kids loved it as there were other kids there when we went and they made great friends. We easily visited Florence (hot!), Volterra (very winding roads) and Siena where Simon told us where to park and when to watch the horses training for the Palio (free and amazing!) Also they gave us directions to a free beach 'The White Sands' where we had a day trip which was brilliant. Ask Verity for some of her fresh eggs and Simon for some great wine! Roll on Summer! PS Hubby wants me to add - sunsets like I have never seen before - sat on terrace with wine and/or beer every night before going for dinner!
A clean and friendly hotel in a residential area. Area around hotel seemed to be very safe and was very busy with diners on a Saturday night.
We paid about £60 per night for two nights in this hotel using a well known hotel website.
It was about a 10 - 15 min walk into the the centre. One of the ways into the centre was to walk along the Arno river.
Basic breakfast provided. Hotel had free wi-fi as well as free use of a computer in bar/eating area.
One tip is to try to avoid rooms ending in '9' as these tend to be right next to the old lift.
Shower/bathroom was relatively small but still good value for Florence.
Try this self catering house and apartment on a organic olive farm on the hills outside Florence. It's not just the views, the peaceful countryside, the organic produce, the barional rooms, cosy kitchen or the refreshing pool that make this place special. Nor is it even the location which is excellent for touring Tuscany, or trips to the highlights of Florence (just a bus ride away), Pisa, and Siena. It is the warmth and welcome of the family who run the farm and live on site. Nothing is too much trouble! We sailed past all the queues at the Uffitzi museum and places of interest due to their prior telephone bookings, making the holiday with children stress free. Magical memories!
I“Wonderful hotel, wonderful staff, wonderful location in a beautiful city.”
Hotel Il Perseo
I have been staying at this hotel since early 1998 and have returned in every year except one, since. The building has changed a great deal since those early days and is now modern and has every facility.
I am now 69 and would be perfectly happy to stay here alone. The staff are fantastically helpful and have a vast knowledge of their city. Louise (New zealander/Italian), and Laura (Italian) are exceptionally helpful and will book museums, restaurants etc willingly. They will tell you the italian for something you might want to buy in case the shop does not speak other languages. Wonderful!!
The rooms are comfortable, very clean and bright, with ensuites and TV. Some have outstanding views over the city. Breakfast is a good, varied buffet with loads of tea, coffee, juice etc.
It takes less than two minutes to walk to the duomo and five to Mercato Centrale (a must for food lovers). All major places of interest are within easy walking distance.
I have stayed in hotels of all star ratings from no star to five-star, huts in the african bush, YHA's etc but this is one place I return to again and again where the staff feel like old friends and the welcome is superb. GO THERE!!
The value for money is unquestionable.
Via Cerretani 1R, Florence. 055 212649
200m from SMN station and Bus Station, take Via Panzani which leads to Cerretani.
It is a B&B run by two women from Firenze for women travellers. It is in the heart of Firenze - and from my room I could see the Duomo and a little garden. It is small, cosy, extremely clean and you meet interesting women there. They were kind enough to put me up for free for a night as I was on a tight budget as I was travelling from India. Extremely warm and hospitable women offering a great service to women travellers. They also welcome pets.
B and B for women only
Borgo Pinti 31, 50121 Florence, Italy
Tel : 0044 203 027 7155
Santa Maria Novella station
Google map: tinyurl.com/ydmodtb
If you want a good value three-star hotel near the station in Florence and a couple of minutes from Il Duomo, I can highly recommend Hotel San Giorgio. It costs about €30 ppp night, the breakfast was excellent and the staff and manager Piero are mines of information on good value local bars and trattorias.
For one thing this close to the Duomo, it's just in the perfect spot and I was so glad to be here. Walking is important to us, and the next thing I like is that they accepted dogs because many places we tried to book did not. And of course he got to walk with us! The staff were friendly and the hotel itself is just absolutely beautiful; we couldn't have asked for better.
Continuing on my recent trip, after Forte Dei Marmi I went to grand old Florence itself and enjoyed a stellar stay at Palazzo Vecchieti. Old time deluxe service with a butler no less was perfectly coupled with modern comforts and attention to style and design. Decor may not be the selling point in many accommodations, but here it really pops out and grabs you. The cool chic modern vibe is in perfect contrast to the area itself and really enticing to those with an eye for design. Enough about aesthetics, the idea of having butler service is just so unique that it's almost worth experiencing for its own sake. Aside from that the location in the Signoria Square is absolutely ideal and is perfect for anyone making their way about on foot... or anyone who wants to save time on buses and money on taxis. Definitely a great find.
A link with pics and the address, booked through the same trustworthy company that got me great digs at Forte dei Marmi.
Moving on to the rest of my trip! Firenze is always a joy to come back to, and I managed to find a really nice B&B for not too much money in comparison to normal Florentine prices. Casa Del Garbo is really different, and quite lovely. It was actually my first stay in a "luxury B&B" and luxurious it was! And it didn't have the cold feel one sometimes gets in a 5-star hotel.
The people who run it (I think they're a family) are incredibly warm and helpful, and much better with customer service than at many places I've seen. They honestly did everything they could to make me feel like a member of the family, and it worked!
An added plus was the spectacular view from my room, so inspiring! As if Firenze isn't always enough of a draw in and of itself, this little place was a real gem and I think others will find it that way too.
Piazza della Signoria 8
I booked here again as well, very smoothly: www.italiancollection.com/en/la-casa-del-garbo.html
Friendly people, cheap prices and nice Florentine furniture. It's an eco-friendly hotel, too.
This hostel isn't in the center of Florence - it's on the outskirts, but there's a free bus shuttle service into the center, and during the hot summer months, the pool and quieter location is a welcome respite from the summer crowds.
The location means you get cheaper room rates and heaps of extras - we loved the swimming pool, restaurant, bar and pretty surrounding olive groves.
We hired bikes and explored other parts of Tuscany - and the hostel organize tours to Pisa, Lucca and San Gimingnano.
Beautiful location, views of Tuscany countryside, great free breakfast, totally relaxing, and it was easy to pop into Florence, despite being in another town!
A beautiful place to stay about 20 minutes away from Florence. The rooms are brightly coloured grungy chic, and the views over Tuscan countryside are truly lovely.
The owners were unobtrusively helpful, and laid on scrumptious breakfasts. Full board was beyond our budget, but on the couple of nights we had dinner there it was stunning - and veggie-friendly. We went away laden with soap made locally from produce grown in the gardens, and a decent bottle of the house wine.
Il Ghiro is a wonderful little guesthouse situated very centrally, near the main train station in Florence. It is absolutely fantastic. Reasonably priced, clean, great staff, free web access (and that is a real gift here in Italy) and lots of help available finding anything you want to see, great places to eat etc. Run by Francesco and Paula; we have only met Francesco but he is fantastic (and so is Paula, if the recommendations on the wall are anything to go by). Best place yet. Stay here!
Via Faenza 63, 5013 FIRENZE
Ciao Bambino is an online guide to family-friendly vacation properties with many accommodations in Italy. I used them to research a family reunion trip for 17 people. It's easy to use and has age appropriate ratings - this is great if you have toddlers/small children and need things like highchairs, cribs, etc. Many of their properties are apartments with hotel amenities which is a great combo.
Ostello Gallo D'Oro is a central, pleasant and extremely clean hostel in Florence, owned by the most remarkable couple: Massimo and Silvia.
They drive every aspect of this lovely Florence hostel, and are constantly on hand to make sure that their guests (and you really do feel like a guest rather than a customer!) have everything they could possibly need.
I didn't stay long enough to take advantage of the offer, but long-term guests are invited out to their Tuscan farmhouse for the night.
It was a real wrench to tear myself away.
No. 104 Via Cavour, Florence
A combination of the Italian words agriculture and tourism, these farmhouse accommodations are ideal for families of all sizes. And don’t worry about staying on a typical farm, these locales often feature extensive amenities more along the lines of a high-class resort and are an ideal choice for families with children of any age.
The setting is rural, with all the picturesque features you might expect from staying under the Tuscan sun. The condo-style living arrangements come well equipped, with kitchens and living rooms that give families a spacious home base.
Most have swimming pools and you can also find full resort amenities with an onsite restaurant, tennis courts, a fitness centre and myriad other features.
There are more perks that come along with Italian farmhouse living. The owner or manager of the property may live onsite and serve as a point of contact to help your family with anything you need - from planning activities to offering general guidance about the region. Most are conveniently located so your family can sightsee for part of the day, touring neighboring towns and experiencing the local culture and history of Tuscany, and then relax at the pool for the afternoon.
Some Agriturismi offer structured onsite activities such as Italian cooking classes, horseback riding, and wine and/or olive oil tasting. Many properties serve their very own farm-harvested food in an onsite restaurant, so you won’t need to worry about cooking up meals - unless you’d like to showcase your new Italian cooking skills. Some accommodations even offer daily housekeeping, so you’ll be able to focus on the fun stuff.
Unlike the isolation you could expect if your family rented an independent villa, Agriturismi provide a wonderful balance of services and privacy. Well-located throughout Tuscany, it is easy to explore the surrounding areas. Most options are small with family-focused services including babysitting and equipment rental, making it easy to relax and experience the best Tuscany has to offer, both onsite and off.
When I've visited Florence before, I've stayed in cheap places with sagging mattresses and thin walls. This time since I was travelling alone from the States and wanted somewhere to recover peacefully and safely after my sightseeing, I decided to shell out a few more Euros and stayed in this hotel. I found the staff to be courteous, helpful and very accommodating, Andrea (one of the family that own the place) was really welcoming and arranged museum and restaurant reservations for me and also gave me good tips to move around.
The place (built in 1500) was very central and the neighbourhood was safe, I could walk to all the main tourist sights. Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery are about 2 blocks away. At the end I had a discount for paying cash without asking for one, the cost of my single was originally €88.00 but they gave it to me for €80.00 per night. A bargain!
The hotel also offers a left luggage facility which is handy if you have a late flight/train. I will definitely return for a longer stay in the future.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org