It’s been a week since we “moved out” of our Florence apartment and we still miss it so much. Maybe because it’s the longest we ever rented one HomeAway vacation rental, but it really started to feel like home! It was one of the best rental experiences we’ve ever had and I would highly recommend this family vacation rental in Florence. Also, the owner has 4 spots in one building, so great to visit with friends or family. Here’s why we loved it:
Family Friendly Vacation Rental in Florence
1. Location: Click here for a direct link to the rental
I should note, that I lived in Florence for a semester in college. I also have been back several times since. So going into this trip, I knew the city pretty well and knew where I wanted to stay for ease of getting around with the kids. So I didn’t really “stumble” upon a rental in the perfect location… it was more months of scouring the internet for an apartment in the exact area we wanted. My extended family jokes that there’s one hotel in Florence and one hotel only that each and every one of us has stayed in and recommends. It’s just in such a great location that we can’t imagine staying anywhere else… I found an apartment around the corner from that hotel.
If you have never been to Florence, you could rent this apartment, venture out every day and never get lost finding the apartment, because the street runs right behind the Palazzo Vecchio. This giant tower with a giant clock is a main site in a main square in Florence. It’s impossible to lose sight of it and easy to ask directions back to. About 3 minutes walk past the Palazzo Vecchio is Santa Maria Novella, better known as “The Duomo”. The apartment is also less than a 5 min walk to Santa Croce (and near there our favorite playground in Florence). From the apartment, you can also walk to the Arno River in about 2 minutes. If you go out the apartment and make a right and another right, you’ll be at a bridge over the Arno that looks at the Ponte Vecchio. This was our favorite spot at sunset. Walk down a bridge and you’re ON the Ponte Vecchio! We rented this apartment for 18 days and only took a cab if we were carting luggage to catch a train. Otherwise, you can walk to everything. Oh… and I almost forgot, you can see Fort Belvedere from the apartment balcony!
2. The Street:
This goes along with location… but the street the apartment is on: starts right behind Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery. Then on the street you have: one of the most famous gelato shops, the most famous sandwich shop, a grocery store, the best breakfast/coffee AND one of the most hip new spots for lunch and dinner. So, you can spend a few days just walking up and down the street with the kids and still have an awesome trip! Here’s what you have right on your street:
I’ll get into all the family friendly things to do at the Palazzo Vecchio in another post, but here’s the FOOD:
Gelato dei Neri: This is a popular spot for gelato but if there’s a line, remember you are lucky enough to be staying next door, so just come back in a little while! We thought it was the best gelato and also cheaper than most places. They also have a strawberry fruit flavor infused with wine for the grownups (my personal favorite). We may have been known to make 2 stops in one day at this gelato shop!
All’Antico Vinaio: for sandwiches. It’s a famous spot and there will be lines and crowds! Again, you live on the street, so stop by when you don’t see a line. The lines go fast because there are now 2 shops (same owners, same exact menu) right across from each other. They serve giant sandwiches for 5 euro… so big Tom & I split one and still couldn’t finish it!
Ditta Artigianale: This is a great spot for coffee and breakfast or brunch. One of the few spots we found with a breakfast menu (besides bread). They have a “baby menu” for the kids that includes pancakes, a grilled cheese and fruit. Oh.. and it’s the only spot in Italy I found avaocado toast! You can also get great coffee to go if you are off on an adventure!
These next two are technically on the next street, but really you just walk to the right, out the apartment door, stay on the same street and there they are…
Foody Farm: This is a newer, pretty popular place. We went for lunch. It’s a great spot to “switch it up” after days of pasta because you can get Italian food and also great burgers, fries and chicken fingers.
Conad Grocery Store: this Italian chain grocery store has everything you could need to stock your apartment fridge. We bought lots of groceries here and had many meals in the apartment. We also stocked up on bottled water and snacks to bring with us on day trips. Also, this store has everything you could need for toiletries so you can skip packing those. You will be pleasantly surprised at how cheap the groceries are too! I found most things to be less than half the cost they are at a grocery store at home.
And SO many more places to eat on this street. I could go on & on!
3. The Space:
This apartment had a great layout for a family. There was a clean, fully stocked kitchen. We had many meals in the apartment and I loved cooking in the kitchen. There was even a high chair. There was a large bedroom that had 3 twin beds (and he can add a 4th if needed). Then there’s a large, open living room with tv. The tv was a smart tv so we could watch Netflix and Amazon when we wanted (or the kids wanted!). The living room had two big, comfortable couches and one pulled out into a bed. Then the master bedroom had a bed plus plenty of room for the crib. The master also had a lovely balcony with views of Fort Belvedere. The bathroom was very new, clean and had a much better shower than you’ll typically find in Italy. The apartment has air conditioning and wifi and my favorite part: tons of light!
4. The Owner:
We have stayed in a number of vacation rentals and this was the most welcomed we have ever felt by an owner. Leading up to the trip he was sure to ask how he could prepare for the stay, including what the best setup would be for the bedrooms. We requested 3 twin beds in one room for the kids and a crib in our room and he set it up exactly like that! When we arrived, he met us at the door and helped us with our luggage. He showed us around the apartment and then, he made me a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table with a map to tell me all about the area. He helped us call and book taxis for the airport, gave us restaurant suggestions and gave me tons of ideas of things to do with the kids (he has children too). Last, he showed me that he stocked the fridge with milk, juice and yogurt, had more coffee for us to make during the stay and gotten cookies for the kids. Throughout the stay he was easy to reach and eager to help.
5. The Building:
I mentioned this above, but the owner has 4 apartments in this same building. We were on the 3rd floor and there’s another rental on that same floor. There are only 2 apartments on the 3rd floor, so if you needed more space, you could rent them both and have the floor to yourselves. There are also 2 rentals on the 1st floor. These are large apartments and have super high ceilings. The day we checked out, the owner showed me the first floor apartments. They are beautiful! This building would be so much fun to stay in if you were traveling to Italy with extended family or friends. You could be in the same building but have your own apartments. The building has a wonderful history too and have been in the owners family for almost 100 years. The family takes great pride in the building and it shows.
We found this apartment on HomeAway.com. I honestly love and trust HomeAway for our vacations. Also, using the app when traveling to find the rentals, communicate with the owners, etc was so helpful. For more about why we use HomeAway, click here and visit this post or this post.
After a month in Italy, I have lots to share: photos, restaurants, things to do. I got so many questions while we were there and since we have returned and I’m trying to organize blog posts based on what would be most helpful for other families traveling to Italy. I’m also trying to find time to share everything… ha. So over the next few months, I’ll share and organize and eventually link them all together, so it will be easy to read through in some sort of order. Please let me know if there’s info that would be helpful and I will add it to the posts!
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