American in Italy, hotels, italy, tips, travel, tuscany, Uncategorized

Palazzo Belfiore – Oltrarno At Your Doorstep

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I often get emails from people traveling to Italy advising me on where to to stay when discovering Florence. Of course I try and do my best to give suggestions on what I would choose, but as I live here – it can be touch giving recommendations on where to stay. Personally one of my favorite ways to explore a city is by staying in an apartment, this way you can make your own ‘home away from home’, find a wine opener ;-), and feel whats its like to be a ‘local’ if even for a short time.

Life on the Oltrarno ‘Other Side Of The River’ is always better

I first heard about Palazzo Belfiore from my friend Molly, a local tour guide in Florence with whom I discovered Medieval food on a super cool tour not that long ago. She insisted that we visit and the best part was, it’s a hop, skip and a jump away from my apartment in the oltrarno in the most artistic area in town, on a street close to my beloved Piazza della Passera {the perfect date-night-location}. Palazzo Belfiore was once the prestigious home of an ancient Fourteenth century Florentine family {naturally} and only 3 minutes from the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge on  Via de’ Velluti, 8.

The bet part of town to stay in without a doubt, I obviously am completely biased but honestly this is where the real life Florentine area where artisans still work and you can see a dog  with a Gucci collar. Charming restaurants are at every corner and you are so close to all of the main attractions, the Uffizi gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Piazza del Duomo. Crossing the bridge to this side always feels like you can take your first real breath of less-touristy air from the stuffy crowds on via calzaiuoli. We take our dog Ginger on walks to the Piazza Pitti nearby and it always feels like a beautiful soundtrack, music wafting into the air and people clinking glasses of wine together before dinner, I love it and encourage people to stay over here when possible.

An Apartment Stay That Takes You Back in Time

Each of the seven apartments at Palazzo Belfiore are named after famous Florentine figures, from “Lorenzo Il Magnifico” (one of the most famous Medici family members) to “Clarice”, a Roman noblewoman from the Rossini family, the bride of Lorenzo il Magnifico. Clarice is what Molly really wanted to show me because of an absolutely amazing fresco covering most of the main room from the 15th century, very reminiscent of the one we had seen at the house museum Palazzo Davanzati. They are in the process of getting a student from a local university to research and discover more details about this cool fresco, in the meantime, I will just gaze in wonder at its stunning beauty.

Can you imagine staying in a room like this on your next trip to Florence, heck I feel a ‘staycation’ coming up! 
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Federico likes to leave presents apparently, in that case my address is via dello….

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Federico, the man who does it all here is friendly and affable, you can tell this is someone who is proud to work here and it shows, messages left on the communal guest book often thank him personally and his smile brightens up your mood even after a 10 hour flight. He leaves notes for guests and will arrange any sort of special touch for those staying for a special occasion, a bottle of wine, fresh flowers – this is what REAL service is like (and yes it exists without paying tooth and nail, all of the apartments here range from around 115 – 220 euros per night. A big plus is that they leave information on the latest events in Florence along with a copy of The Florentine.

DSCF1786Also doing what I do best, peering out of windows to find that special view, here I spotted life in the oltrarno with picturesque scenes on the streets below. Plus from some of the places you can see the top of Palazzo Pitti or the Basilica of Santo Spirito.

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I wish I would have known about this place a lot sooner when family and friends were coming, while Airbnb can be great at least it’s an actual business as opposed to someone’s rented second home. I asked Federico if they offer any tips for activities and luckily they seem to have an array of options for those seeking a little help planning their Florence vacation. Arte Al Sole, is one of them, a summer day camp focusing on art, food, culture and nature with week-long sessions for kids 6-12. I took a gander at some of the programs for kids and they include sketching in the city, making fresh pasta. Adults have options too, I love that they included some old ‘botteghe’ or artisan workshops located on their very same street where you can see centuries of handicrafts take place. I may meg Federico and Molly to give me a tour one of these days. They also recently created this super cute video featuring ‘Elly’ featuring one girl’s story of her stay in Florence, it makes me think a little bit about the stereotype of Italian men constantly hitting on American women but hey who doesn’t like to fantasize?!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUY6nlZO1fY]

 

If you want to experience Florence like a local, I highly recommend staying at Palazzo Belfiore, you literally can’t help but feel the history in these apartments and its close enough to all of the major sites which means you won’t need to take public transportation.

 

*Ps. contact them directly to book to save a little money, I asked Federico if they offer better rates for direct bookings (email address is below) and he assured me they do unless it happens to be high season or New Year’s Eve.

Palazzo Belfiore, Via dei Velluti, 8, Firenze
+39 055 264415, Email: info@residencebelfiore.it. website

This article was sponsored by Palazzo Belfiore but all thoughts and opinions about this cool place are my own, these apartments are great! 

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0 Comment

  1. susanvanallen
    09.07.2014 at 18:55

    Great post! Thank you for the tip on Palazzo Belfiore!

    1. GirlinFlorence
      09.07.2014 at 18:56

      Hey Susan, no problem! It’s a recent discovery for me and now I am going to make anyone coming to visit me stay here because its so cool! “_

  2. bobblesse
    10.07.2014 at 1:33

    Thanks, Georgette! We will certainly keep Palazzo Belfiore in mind when we have friends and family come visit. Vicki and I really wanted to find an apartment in the Oltrarno, but we had such a short time and trying to book a place without seeing it was challenging. Fortunately we have a great estate agent, Diane Venturini, and her husband, Andrea, who helped us find our apartment of Via del Consolo. We’ll still spend lots of time in the Oltrarno, though!

  3. ytaba36
    10.07.2014 at 5:35

    Maybe I’ll win a lottery prize … What a stunning place! I’m staying in the Torre dei Ramaglianti next spring; nice but not quite like this palazzo.

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