Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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Ad Astra Boutique Hotel In Florence

19.11.2015 6 Comments

Ad Astra Boutique Hotel In Florence

19.11.2015 6 Comments

‘Thus one journeys to the stars’ is the meaning behind the coolest new boutique hotel in Florence’s oltrarno quarter, an aptly named dream hotel for the well-heeled who appreciate contemporary personal touches mingled with vintage design pieces on the picturesque street of via del campuccio. Just peek inside the first floor of an ancestral family mansion that has been brought to life and you will fall in love immediately, the place has been renovated from disrepair and now offers guests a unique feel of staying in Florence, complete with a large 270 meter terrace overlooking the gardens.

I first heard about this hotel from Betty herself, owner, dreamer and calligraphy artist of And Company together with her partner Matteo Perduca – a distinguished lawyer and avid antique collector. It is one of my favorite shops in the city seeking curated gifts with Duomo motifs written out of calligraphy, a place that I never leave without buying something, they have done something that seems so effortless and cool, yet is born with hard work and passion. Because of freelance work writing hotel guides, I have seen a fair amount of places to sleep in the city and this is something special, if I’m honest, even more than many five-star locations in the city.

Standing in front of one of the two entrances to Ad Astra, a 'Harry Potter' door for the magical sort
Standing in front of one of the two entrances to Ad Astra, a ‘Harry Potter’ door for the magical sort
Pretty vintage yellow/green vespa on via romana, a nearby street that I adore
Pretty vintage yellow/green vespa on via romana, a nearby street that I adore

It is worth saying that Betty and her partners opened up just a year before the trendy SoprArno Suites across the street from her shop, with the brand-new Ad Astra being the newest sister property. It is located in Torrigiani Gardens, one of the largest privately owned green spaces in Europe, you enter the garden doors and walk up what is quite literally a red carpet, the aristocratic feeling of coming home for at least one special night (don’t worry there is an elevator too).

In my opinion everything Francesco Maestrelli, Marco and Matteo Perduca touch turns to gold, ‘reaching for the stars’ becomes a true possibility not because of luck or privilege, instead sacrifice, perseverance and experience. What is almost more remarkable is just how quick they were able to make this dream happen. In a country where red-tape halts even the simplest of processes, works started in June/July and the bed & breakfast is now open for business, the second week of November.

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Ad Astra from the outside

They modeled this property, which is a little different than SoprArno after the concept of the ‘hôtels particuliers’ a sort of urban mansion escape for aristocrats who craves their personal space on the weekends. Since the property at Torrigiani itself was exactly that, it made sense to keep that relaxed feel for this property. I visited the gardens last year and was taken with this amazing green oasis in the center of Florence which can only be visited by private appointments. I certainly never believed that there would ever be a bed & breakfast here, but if anyone could do it, it would be them.

The common room with gets natural light from the outside terrace, is where guests can have breakfast (on warmer months they can take it on the terrace). The space is decidedly suggestive and I wish I could move in but really, think plush couches and international newspapers. The breakfast bar, (vintage naturally) doubles as a happening spot for a campari aperitif from the honesty fridge. I worked a little using their WiFi (which works) and felt more relaxed than in my own home’s living room.

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The first seven rooms are located on the first floor with the breakfast and living room and attached to the terrace, while two others are tucked away in a suggestive ‘angiolino’ in the gardens, a few meters from the main villa. Each room has its own personality stemming from design pieces dating from the 50’s – 70’s with an anglo-pop flair but they don’t necessarily a theme. Walking down the hallway you run into retro purple carpet and neon signage and cool photos of some of the previous noble inhabitants. I also spotted Betty’s newest collaboration with artisan perfumery Aqua Flor, a home scent aptly called ‘Renaissance’ which is present in each room, a waft of classic Florence with every breeze. Every detail has a meaning, nothing is there by accident.

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It’s the sort of place that reflects the designers, their travels and books – a sort of medley of life that keeps a visitors always intrigued. A wall of framed copies of the New Yorker, or a shelf with plastic snow-globes, an action figure perched upon a freestanding white porcelain claw tub. I found myself looking at every single corner and shelf to see what sort of quirky collection they had displayed.

They also showcase pieces from artists and designers they love they meet from all over the world, like the books and clogs made with black puma paint on dutch wood, homage to Johan Cruyff. Or in the ‘art’ room (the only one centered around a theme) is actual crates turned wardrobes used to transport previous artworks, with large word stamps covering the wood to show which countries they passed through.

Nico and I stayed this past weekend for one night as a sort of ‘staycation’ along with Betty, Matteo, Marco and my friends Alexandra and Annie Just walking through the property, we all felt like they slam-dunked it yet again with Ad Astra, not many places like this exist in the oltrarno, and the neighborhood is one of the best. They left each of a little notebook on our beds to tell them any advice we may have and I actually chuckled, there was not one single thing I could think of that could be improved, if anything they should be giving me life advice.

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breakfast bar that also makes for a great cocktail spot later on

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As for the location, it is close to Palazzo Pitti and 10 minutes or so walking distance to Ponte Vecchio, this is an area peppered with artisan shops near santo spirito and one of my favorite squares. Piazza tasso is home to some really great restaurants and a fantastic gelateria with my favorite salted caramel. It also happens to be an area which few tourists visit. I always encourage people visiting to come over here for a walk, lunch or drink before dinner.

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Our room was trust #4, beautifully designed with the stand-out star being the floral bathroom that feels like a sort of French chateau turned asteroid viewing point. There was a kettle and coffee machine (hell yah!) with two beautiful cups from Betty’s Shop, and paper map cutouts on the top shelf along with more books. Also (and yes I am such a girl) I was so happy to see actual conditioner, albeit from an natural and homeopathic apothecary based in the USA in the bathroom.

Balsamo (Conditioner) is an amenity you often do not see in a bed & breakfast in Italy which is very annoying. Apparently they seem to think we only use shampoo and my hair appreciates this simple addition, I once put olive oil in my hair because I had no other way of curing the dryness from a few days without conditioner. And while I do travel with it, after a few broken bottles in my suitcase, it is always appreciated from a frequent traveler who doesn’t love ‘bed head’ in the morning.

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Vintage furniture that Matteo personally finds in various markets around Italy
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Natural bath products and a home fragrance from local artisan perfumery Aqua Flor
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Trust number 4, out blue room was as pretty as it was comfortable. I appreciated the numerous outlets for all of my annoying electronic devices

Room rates are a steal at the moment, I’m sure they will be booked out by next spring, but right now you can get a room for as little as 99 -129€ per night, which includes breakfast. In the area there are plenty of finds to love and discover, like contemporary jewelry co-working space Officina Nora and a typical Tuscan trattoria, Al Tranvai in piazza tasso. Ad Astra is definitely the sort of place for a discerning traveler who seeks something a little different and a bit more special. To book a visit of Torrigiani Gardens, you can find all of the info here.

Ad Astra Florence, Via del Campuccio 53, 50125 Firenze
Phone: (+39) 055 07 50 602
Email: info@adastraflorence.com
Web: www.adastraflorence.com, facebook, instagram

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GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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6 Comments

  • Avatar
    Michelle 22.11.2015 at 18:41

    Your blog is fabulous! I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award! To learn more, please see my post: http://inspiredbyvenice.org/2015/11/22/the-blogger-recognition-award/

    Best Wishes!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 20.01.2016 at 11:32

      Hey Michelle, I appreciate it immensely. I hope you get to check this place out!

  • Avatar
    Gonzalo 10.03.2016 at 6:51

    Hi, great blog, very informative and I feel like I want to make my stay at a boutique hotel. My fiancé and I are traveling to Italy in Sept for our wedding and then honeymoon. Would you recommend this place or Soprarno Suites as a place to stay for multiple nights?

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 15.03.2016 at 16:45

      Thanks Gonzalo! Both are fantastic locations, SoprArno is a bit close to the center while Ad Astra is a little more lusciously hidden. honestly you can’t go wrong..

  • Avatar
    Laura 16.01.2017 at 14:52

    Hi Georgette,

    I love your blog! I will be getting married in Florence this summer and have been eying the Ad Astra. I’m thinking of staying there a few nights before our guests arrive to relax. I was wondering if you think it’s worth upgrading to one of the rooms in the angiolino?

    Xx,
    Laura

  • Avatar
    Leigh 28.02.2018 at 0:30

    Just found your blog-. I’m a Canadian, but my husband and I are honorary Texans ( have a framed certificate on our wall) thanks to many friends in Houston and Austin that come stay with us. I am wondering if you know anything about” Ottantotto Firenze ” located on Via die Serragli 88? We are wondering how far Spirito Santo area is from everything- that said we have been to Florence before ( stayed at the Famously haunted Hotel Burchanti) and wanted to try a different part of the city. We have already done the big sights so won’t be standing in any lines for museums and have claimed the duomo. Looking for a cool area with shops and we love to eat and hang out. We plan and taking the bus out to the outlets one of our days there ( Aug 24-28) before we head on to the Tuscan county side. Any help you can offer would be great!

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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