We really had a fantastic time. The apartment in Florence, Ciompi, is an excellent location and the staff quite helpful. They are not closed from 1-2 so you may want to update your records. They also charged us a 1euro tax per person per night that we were not aware of. Not sure if that was included in the other places we stayed, but it was not mentioned elsewhere and we were at 3 other locations. (note from In Italy Online: the 1 Euro tax was the City Accommodation Tax which was established after these travelers reserved their stay. It now exists in almost every town or city in Europe and must be collected only by the hotel staff in Italy).
Thank you for the information on the Vatican private tour. Gregory was wonderful! Well worth the money as he was able to highlight the important parts of the museum and the Church. He is a gem!
We had a fantastic time thanks to all of the efforts of the staff at In Italy Online.
The accommodations at Florence Ciompi, while spartan, were adequate and very centrally located. Walking to everywhere we wanted to go was always a pleasure. Our tour with Elisabetta was quite informative and she even asked our favorite Uffizi guitarist to play at her wedding.
The Lerici Seaside Hotel was great. Fourth floor views to the water and just far enough on the edge of town to make for a beautiful evening stroll to town for dinner. The hotel was clean and well maintained and everyone was very helpful. The fact that it is family owned and operated certainly helps. We took a day trip to Carrara to visit the marble mines where Leonardo selected his piece for David. Quite a process.
Palazzo Bandino in Tuscany was centrally located for day trips to all of the sites. We did take a trip to Deruta for majolica pottery. Watching the hand throwing and hand painting gave us a better appreciation for the pieces we purchased.
Campo de' Fiori in Rome was again right in the center of ancient Rome. Easy walking to everything and we visited many of the sights several times. We had plenty of time to sit, relax, and enjoy the scenes around us. Hassan, who oriented us at the apartment, left no stone unturned in describing everything about the apartment and the surrounding area. He was quite helpful, although we noticed there was no soap or paper towels after he left. Massimo gave us the Vatican tour with early entry to the Sistine Chapel. He was very knowledgeable and went into great detail. The early entry is the way to go as there were 500 people there when we passed through later on our way to St. Peter's. Eva, an archeology graduate, did a good job with the Colisseum and Forum tour.
The car rental, garmin rental, and phone rental went off without a hitch.
In the end, we had another wonderful trip to Italy. Friends can't believe that everything could be done online without talking to a single person. Modern technology, isn't it great. Now if someone can just do something about that long plane ride. Thanks again for the help. I will recommend you to anyone planning a trip to Italy.
Hi In Italy Team,
Thank you so much for all your help in planning our trip to Italy. It truly was a fantastic experience! I would definitely recommend your services and that of your tour guides to anyone who asks. Since our return all our family friends keep asking, "What was the favorite part of the trip? Which city did we like best?" This question brings the answer, "We can't possible nail it down, each place we went was fantastic, each city was unique and brought on a new "taste" of Italy, each apartment was great and the tours and guides were exactly what we had hoped."
Rome: Awesome! We especially liked the two-floor set up. The terrace was a huge hit with our family. Every night before heading out to dinner we had wine and cheese while listening to the chimes of the clock and the city noise below. The location was awesome, close to everything. We literally could and did walk to all major landmarks. The nightlife was perfect for us, the local craziness and partying of Piazza Campo dei Fiori (it was world cup soccer time and Italy was still playing!) to the more reserved, tourist type Piazza Navona.
Florence Ciompi:Fantastic! We missed our terrace from Rome. Oh well, we got over that easy enough as this place was huge as well. Space is important, gave our family room to spread out and take much needed recharge breaks before heading out for the evening. We liked that this place had more of a European feel than Rome's did. But that by no means takes anything away from Rome as an A+ accommodation. Again, the Florence location was perfect. We really liked being in the neighborhoods vs. on or in the tourist block of town.
Venice Ca' D'Oro: The hotel was good. Typical European style room – small. Coming from the spacious apartments it was a bit of an adjustment. However, we still enjoyed our stay. The staff actually reserved a big round table every morning for us during the breakfast hour. The roof top terrace was a great place to relax and enjoy some wine and cheese before heading out for the night. Our rooms were clean, modern and comfortable. We liked that the hotel was small.
Tours: All guides were excellent they gave our family their undivided attention. Clearly enjoyed their job, were organized, easy to understand, knew their stuff inside and out as it relates to not only the tour we were on but the ‘tangential" information as well. They answered questions from local current trends to ancient history. While all tours went extremely well we especially liked the full day Catacombs, Coliseum and Forum tour with Eva, the Capri full day tour with Francesca and without a doubt the full day Chianti tour with Maurizio. Eva had a great personality and really connected with all of us. Her humor was fun and light. As far as spending an entire day with someone you didn't know, it was great. We found each stop of the tour to be very interesting, however, the Catacombs were certainly very unique and we felt as if it was something that not everyone got a chance to do. The same goes for Francesca, great personality and really connected with us. She knew everyone on Capri, it was fun. She'd walk down the street and the storekeepers to boat skippers would yell, Hello to Francesca! It is clear to me without her as guide we would never have been able to get all the things we wanted to get done in Capri. She took care of all the logistics down to the details and minute, her insiders' knowledge made it all happen, she even called ahead and held back a blue grotto boat full of people so they would wait for us to get there. Sure enough the bus came down the hill dropped us off at the dock, we boarded a fully loaded boat that had been waiting for us then we embarked. She even arranged for us to pay after the trip. Then at the Grotto she organized our family to go first and in one boat. It was excellent! The full day Chianti tour with Maurizio! He was so entertaining – the stops plus his commentary made the day without a doubt a highlight of the trip. We especially loved the winery, the food, the family etc.
Across all Tours and all cities: We really felt as if the private tours were the way to go from the start and booked them this way, without a doubt I am glad we did. I highly recommend this approach to others. We especially liked that the tour guides were not over powering - i.e. they let us eat lunch as family vs. joining us. We also liked that they listened to our requests on when it was time to move on, stay longer, or skip one area so that we could add another. This goes for all tour guides across all tours. Their knowledge was amazing.
· Not sure how many people do this but I Google earthed the locations. I was a bit concerned to see all the graffiti on the Rome and Florence locations – kind of made me wonder what type of neighborhood the apartments were in. But realizing they were in the city I kind of let it go. I'm glad I did, as all locations were in safe, nice neighborhoods. I think had we known that nearly the entire country would have a graffiti issue I would have never thought twice about it. So my concern on location was gone once we arrived and saw where the apartments were.
Tip – luggage storage at Rome Termini. Worked great. Had we not figured this one out – with your help – we would have never gone back to Rome and spent the day. Having someplace to drop the luggage really changed the entire day for us, as the original plan of just going to the hotel out by the airport was "canned" and we ended up spending our last day Roaming around Rome reminiscing the trip, eating lunch at our favorite spot, followed by dinner at our favorite spot!
· Coordinating with the In Italy team while we were in Italy. I didn't expect that I would need to do this, but as you know we did and it worked great. Thanks for the quick response and follow-up during the trip. Even though we were in an apartment without a concierge to call, we always felt like if we did need help the In Italy team was available. The time difference clearly worked in our favor as well.
We had a really lovely time in Florence. My daughter and I have been several times to Florence and indeed to other places in Italy but think Florence is most interesting as the whole of the city is one huge medieval museum! There are no new buildings to spoil the view, all the streets are cobbled and old and all the buildings just beautiful pieces of the past. The apartment was perfect, clean and fully equipped and we enjoyed our stay there. Perfectly located as you come out of the door and are "in town" (we had always stayed out of town previously but now with the baby we thought it better not to have to journey in and out each day!) We were disappointed that Florence was so full even at this time of year, but we haven't been for many years now and I guess with travel becoming ever cheaper and easier it will get fuller and fuller. The wine bar and bistro in the entrance to the apartments was really nice and we enjoyed a glass of wine in the evenings while we sat and watched the people go by. We could buy our morning rolls from the bakers just next to the apartment and the local supermarket was very good. If we ever plan to go to Florence again it will be to Ciompi!! Thanks for your support and help.
Our trip was fascinating, relaxing and exciting. It was molto terrific due in no small part to our apartment in Florence that we booked through you. What a great place. We were there for 2 weeks and it made all the difference having our own apartment instead of a hotel room. We wouldn't hesitate in returning to the Florence Ciompi Apartments. The staff were friendly and very helpful. And overall Italy is the very best.
Hi there Kirill,
Well we certainly did have a wonderful time and the two places that we stayed in fulfilled our expectations. The accommodations were very comfortable and clean and well fitted out and our host Kate was very helpful with everything we requested. The views were magnificent and we have one on our computer as a screen saver. The directions and map which you gave us could be improved by adding distances between points. Being first time in the area we were very unsure as to how far we were to travel to arrive at our destination. During our stay we travelled the short distance by car to Bellagio from where we took the ferry to a number of other delightful towns across the lake The only difficulty that we had there was the access to the property as it is very windy and steep and the entrance to the property is almost impossible to get into when the car is fully loaded with baggage as there is a hump in the road just before the gate. As we said, once in, the place is a dream.
The Ciompi apartment building in Florence is very well situated being in the middle of the city close to shopping markets and major tourist attractions. Being able to park on the site was a real advantage and we didn't need the car at all except for one days travelling in Tuscany and Siena. The Vespucci apartment was very comfortable, however the bedroom wardrobes and the TV set should be updated. As you know from previous correspondence while staying there, one en suite bathroom had a unsealed shower recess with broken floor tiles which in itself was dangerous and caused flooding of the bedroom. This I am sure you will agree should have been fixed before it was let to tenants.
Thanking you for all your help. Hope our remarks were helpful.
Graham and Eve N.
I would recommend Florence Ciompi apartments - the location was within a 5-10 minute walk of most Florence's museums, etc. The apartment itself was spacious, and the property very clean. The young woman who manages the property is obviously doing a great job. She was most gracious as well in assisting with internet access, which is available at the apartment.
This said the service was prompt, and the manager (Marco) followed up to ensure we were comfortable, and that issues with the washer and refrigerator were resolved. We had many memorable meals in Italy - but would recommend Il Latini in Florence, and Sora Lella in Rome. Great service and good value.
We were traveling with teenagers, and gelato (in a very hot July) was a hit. We would recommend Cafeteria Della Palma in Rome - they have more than 100 flavors, and appeal to grown ups and kids alike. We will return.
Our trip went very smoothly. Museum reservations were very helpful, as cutting the long lines made everything much easier. Our trips to Siena and San Gimignano were wonderful experiences. We probably would never have been able to see such places if not for your suggestions. The Ciompi Apartments were very accommodating and the apartment was much larger than we had anticipated. We have recommended your website to a multitude of friends and family. Thank you very much for your continued help and all of your recommendations.
Dear friends at In Italy Online,
Our stay at the Ciompi apartments was fabulous. Karima who manages the complex was extremely helpful and became a friend by the time we had to leave. The apartment was clean, comfortable and well equipped. We especially enjoyed the huge terrace in the morning and in the evening because the heat was too intense during the day. It was a big advantage to have an elevator in the building and also a laundry room on the 2nd floor. We discovered a delightful restaurant on a side street walking towards the Duomo called ZIO GIGI where you could have a delicious 2-course lunch for 8 euros. The service was gracious and the menu well planned. Naturally it was popular with locals and lucky tourists who discovered it as we did. The Standa supermaraket a short distance from the apartment was so convenient and had everthing you might need for a meal prepared at home.
Thanks for your help. We highly recommend the Florence Ciompi Apartments.
Betty and John L.
Our trip to Italy was wonderful!! The Ciompi Apt. was great. The property manager was very well informed of tourist needs and very friendly. Thanks Kristin for all of your help. The only problem we had was a rental car from Hertz that started smoking!! We did return it for a different car.
Dear Gang at Italy Online:
You asked for my comments - to sum it up - a BIG GIANT THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Generally, thanks to your frequent recommendations and trading of emails back and forth our trip was fantastic and the logistics an accommodations were superb. I never could have planned this myself, and I never believed each place I stayed in could be almost exactly what I what I expected and wanted. Also, the instruction documents you included with each location we stayed at was EXTREMELY helpful and on the mark. It gave us great instructions on how to get to each location from the airport or train station, and the contact numbers included were helpful- and the contact ALWAYS answered immediately.
Florence - Ciompi Apartments. An upscale apartment not in the noise and crowds of the tourist area, yet a 5-10 minute walk to the Duomo, maybe 15 minutes to the Accademia or Ponte Vecchio. These apartments were very nice, all had beautifully tiled floors, very large modern rooms, kitchen, wireless internet etc etc etc. I would not hesitate a bit to stay there again. A major point I would like to make is that you are in a local neighborhood setting, not in a hotel in the middle of the city. You can go to local bars, markets, piazzas etc, and be among the locals if you want. I found a wonderful bar a block away from the apartment, and from there I got suggestions of local restaurants to try. As a matter of fact, at this bar I was talking with a guy who walked in about a specific restaurant that was recommended in a guide book and very expensive. Turns out he was the cook at a local place, and many of the people there recommended it. So I cancelled my reservations at the expensive restaurant and went to Semolina (sorry I didn't write down the address but it is a 5 minute walk from the Ciompi apartments). We had a tremendous Bistecca Fiorentina. Excellent pizza, and the local wine was great. We also ended up buying shots of grappa for the owners, and vice versa.
We went to Tata's one night- and that was a letdown, a tourist trap we fell into. I would never go there again.
We also booked a private tour of the Accademia and the Uffizi through your site. Now THAT was money WELL SPENT. To be honest, one of main reasons I booked the tour was to avoid waiting in the lines for tickets. Cristina was our guide's name, and boy was she a professional. She took us to the Uffizi first. Now if we were there without a guide we would have quickly walked through the thousands of art works there, I am not sure what we would have gotten out of it. While Cristina knew the history of almost every piece there (I asked her that question), her tour concentrated on the key works, and how their styles transitioned and progressed throughout the Renaissance. We would skip many pieces, but sometimes spend 15 minutes on a particularly important work. I would highly recommend booking this tour.
One tip I can give if you are Catholic- Instead of waiting in long lines to get into the Duomo, go to mass on Saturday afternoon or Sunday. You gain immediate entrance and can look around the church all you want after mass.
Other Observations- you were right- I never needed a car, and having one would have been a complete hassle.
Again please feel free to use any or none of my comments to assist you and others in planning their trip. To any future users of In Italy - trust these guys, they know exactly what they are doing. Not only did they help pick the right places to stay, but how many days to stay in each city, the order of cities to travel to, etc.
We had such a great time, and we really appreciated doing business with you. I was especially impressed that when we left credit cards and money in the room, it was reported, and we are expecting them in the mail. Thank you so much! Car rental was arranged through you, and they were very nice and helpful. Our apartment in Florence was great, beautiful, clean and roomy. It was like home to us. I will definitely pass your name along and tell others to do business with you!
The apartment was really lovely. We felt the atmosphere when we opened up the shutters on the square to the music playing and the flower cart setting up for the day. It felt really special having the frescoes on the ceiling. The apartment functioned well for the limited cooking that we did. The front rooms were a little noisy, but that was not unexpected from the previous comments. The inside bedroom was quiet. Karima was very helpful and she made us feel at home when we arrived tired and jet lagged from the USA.
We would gladly return and will definitely recommend the apartments to our friends.
It was very helpful to have advance tickets to the Uffizi and the Accademia as recommended. I also appreciated the help navigating Trenitalia. They should take lessons from you on customer service!
Thanks for helping to make it a special vacation,
Wow! Our second trip to Florence was wonderful.
We showed up at SEATAC with our bags and passports ready to go and the airline official said "oh we are sorry your last leg from Amsterdam to Florence quit flying on Sundays, you'll have to wait at the Amsterdam airport for 12 hours until it's Monday to catch your flight." Well of course that was not a good plan. So we flew from Amsterdam to Rome, which meant we had to switch our pick-up point for the car you reserved for us from Florence to Rome. A 10-minute phone call and it was easily changed by your representatives in LA. The car was clean and ready in Rome - brand new only 26 km on it. Turn in was smooth at Florence a week later.
Our apartment at Ciompi was AWESOME. The check in was quick, smooth and wonderful. The apartment was large, with a real kitchen so we could cook, which we did.
It had a wonderful view of Ciompi square, lots going on, gypsies playing music, people coming and going.
Okay it is noisy (it's a city, after all) so if you want quiet, don't stay in the city; but if you want to feel like you live in Florence, this is the place. We shopped for groceries in the local grocery down the street, bought breakfast pastries across the street. One of the hidden gems is the central market, meat and cheese downstairs and vegetables upstairs.
Thank you In Italy, you made our trip a wonderful event.
Dave & Bridget N.
We just wanted to thank you for the reservations at Palazzo Ciompi. We got back last week but haven't had a chance to write. The apartment (Michelangelo) was beautiful and the view, which was never commented on, was amazing. The market in front of the building was great and the excellent windows kept the apartment perfectly quiet. Our only problem with the apartment was that, in spite of our assurances to the contrary, the WiFi still does not work.
All in all, we can't wait to get back and we will definitely book with you on our next trip to Italy - we're already planning for next winter. Thanks again.
Thank you, yes, we did very much enjoy our Italy trip. Regarding our apartment in Florence, we appreciated that they accommodated our relatively late arrival due to the flight time. The location was good - out of the busy section of town with lots of tourists, but close for easy walking, a neighborhood feel, supermarket and cappuccino spot close by, helpful person in the office, comfortable, roomy apartment. It was noisy, though, with our door being right on the street. Earplugs helped, and I realized that it's going to be noisy in the city.
We also used your website for the Cellular Abroad cell phone - worked out very well.
I would like to share my experience with our Florence Ciompi Apartment. We truly could not have stayed in a more wonderful place. The ladies that run the office were wonderful, kind, and informative. We arrived too early to check in but were able to leave our baggage in the office and do a little sightseeing. When we were able to check in, our room was shockingly beautiful and VERY large. The ceilings were painted with frescos, yes, I said frescos!!!! We loved our room so much that we decided to do some shopping at the Super Marche` just down the street and stay in for the evening with some local food and the first bottle of many great cheap wines.
The neighborhood could not have been more wonderful. You could open your windows and listen to all the locals speaking in their poetic tongue and be satisfied for the day. Or you could walk to any of the popular tourist sites in minutes. We particularly loved that we were not in a touristed area of the city. We were able to get a glimpse of Florence life right out of our windows. The area is also very popular with International students so there is nightlife if you want it. In fact, we had some sort of traveling bar in the loggia across the street for the first three nights of our stay. It was filled with all ages, races, and creative types taking to the microphone with their talents - including a belly dancer. Ear plugs did come in handy those nights, but it really was no bother at all. It just enhanced our experience.
The ladies in the office recommend the restaurant just downstairs and so do we. We had a lovely, gastronomical experience there. The ambiance could have been romantic if we weren't four women traveling together. But some of our best meals were ones we ate at our own dining table after shopping the local market. Not only did this save money but it was a huge part of experiencing the Italian lifestyle and their food.
I truly could not recommend this Apartment more highly. We stayed in the Giotto apartment and it could have accommodated 6 people very comfortably. The room was clean and the kitchen had everything we needed. In fact, of all the places we stayed in the 3 weeks of traveling Italy and France, this was our favorite. We will stay there again in a heartbeat. Just give me two minutes to get ready.
Thanks for all the assistance you provided. I'd have to say my very favorite "thing" was all the warm, friendly earthy Italian people. We totally enjoyed every encounter we had from espresso stops to taxi drivers. One of my hidden treasures was the amphitheatre Caesar used to deliver his dialog at while in Florence. It's not on any guidebook, and almost across from the Santa Croce Piazza, but, because the amphitheatre walls were "converted" into the outer walls of living quarters, the entire circumference is intact and you can walk the distance easily, finding the old arched entryways that are now bricked in. If you look at any map of Florence, find Santa Croce, you'll see a "circle" set within all the vertical streets.
Our rental accommodations were spacious, and while the gas stove was a mystery unto itself, we learned to cook poached eggs in the microwave, and enjoy the numerous outdoor marketplaces of fresh foods.
I would STRONGLY encourage all travelers to take along their favorite "anti-bug" spray. The misquotes were numerous and if you visit parts of the countryside, there are something called chiggers that love to hitchhike back to your room with you. The Pharmacia's were very helpful with providing anti-itch ointment, but I'd recommend taking a citronella candle along to provide some protection against those winged critters.
So much to do, so little time to do it all. We'll be back!
We will remember our wonderful weeks in Italy for some time and want you to know we found the hotels booked through In Italy to be grand. In Florence the Florence Ciompi Apartments were perfect for our large group of family and friends. The apartment we had (Michelangelo) was spacious, clean (recently renovated) and had a great view of Santa Croce and Piazzale Michelangelo across the river. Large windows afforded a wonderful view of this part of the city. What a great place to be as the Italians won the World Cup! We are already planning our next trip and will visit your site again when we are ready to go!
The Florence Ciompi apartments were our favorite, and we traveled for three weeks and stayed in many different hotels and apartments. It was clean and Carima was very helpful and attentive to our requests. The view from Donatello apartment was lovely, the apartment was spacious and clean and well-equipped, and the proximity to the sights was also ideal.
Thank you for a lovely stay. We will recommend this accommodation and your services to our friends, and use you again in the future.
Florence Ciompi was a great place. We had problems with hot water, but otherwise it was great. We ate at ZAZA's in florence and it was wonderful.
We had a great trip! Only thing we did not like was the fact the apartment we stayed at did not provide fresh towels. We were there for 10 days and only had one set of towels when we arrived. However, we would stay at the Piazza de Ciompi again.
Robert A. C.
Thanks for your help - the apt in Florence (Florence Ciompi Apts) was wonderful - the location was perfect for kids with the small park nearby and a relatively low tourist zone. At that point in our trip, it was great to have the full kitchen and be able to cook some eggs for breakfast - that was the most difficult adjustment for our boys! The accommodations were spacious, clean and beautiful!! As always, In Italy shines with its recommendations!! we really appreciated the list of nearby restaurants -Baldovino was delicious! ------on another note - we stayed at Villa Belvedere Campoli in Tuscany following Florence. We had used In Italy in the past to book, but as you no longer represent them, we booked directly with the property ---- now we know why you do not represent them...... Their gem of a host, Francesco, is not there as frequently as before with his expert inside guidance and his replacements are not nearly as personable nor knowledgeable in our opinion.... this trip we were in an apt. in an adjacent building to the main house, this was spacious and as clean as allowable, but the furnishings were in deplorable condition with filthy upholstery, quite unusable. .... we love the location and feel of this property, but would be reluctant to return based on this trip..... GOOD CALL to drop them ----- we'll contact you again for our next trip to Italy - your service and properties are the BEST!
Lisa and Jeff S.
We enjoyed our trip to Rome and Florence very much overall. We were extremely pleased with the apartments we booked through In Italy.
We took the Eurostar train to Florence, which was very reasonable in price, short (1.5 hours), and quite easy and comfy. We stayed in the Lorenzo apartment of the Florence Ciompi Apartments. This apartment was relatively recently refurbished and very nice - it even had a dishwasher! (this is almost unheard of in Italy - our villa in Sicily doesn't have a dishwasher). The apartment is split level with 2 BR's, the upper BR has spectacular views in every direction. We will stay in this apartment again when we go back to Florence.
We booked the overnight train for our trip back home (from Florence back to Catania). A couple of words to the wise for those of you planning to travel by train: first, make sure you note which train station you are departing from. We arrived from Roma into Santa Maria Novella but we departed from Stazione Campo di Marte. Second, if you book a sleeping compartment make sure you know what you are getting. We had a private 2 person compartment, which would have been fine except we had our toddler with us and 2 large suitcases. There is virtually no space for luggage, so be prepared (we'll travel a lot lighter next time).
All in all, we had a wonderful trip and In Italy was very helpful in planning for it. This trip was the first time we had booked apartments to stay in and it worked out beautifully. I will definitely continue to use In Italy for trip planning.
Carl and Renee B.
We had a fabulous trip in Italy and loved Florence. The Ciompi apartments were very nice and just as pictured on your web site. (I often found that Italian lodgings were not even close to the web site pictures in many other places). My one complaint however, was the smell. When you walked into the main floor lobby/landing you were immediately aware of a sewage/ sulfur smell. Also, our Vespucci apartment had the same smell. It really was bothersome. When we had been out all day and came back, we would have to open up all the windows to air out the apartment. The final day I called the manager and she said she was aware of it and looking into it. She said our particular apartment had the worst problem with the smell. Anyway, like I say, the apartment itself was great--but hard to recommend with the smell. Thought you would want to know.
I was just preparing a few notes to let you know how fabulous our trip actually was. I don't think there was anything we found that would be negative as we always found people and the actual friendliness of the Italians that made every moment enjoyable. The weather was extremely cooperative and we had the most beautiful days...
Florence was exceptional and our Giotti apartment in the Ciompi apartments was an exceptional pick and a perfect location to walk and see that beautiful city. While there, we were able to experience shopping at the super market and using a laundromat. I could probably write a book on that as everything is in Italian and trying to maneuver on your own was a hoot.
Our guide in Florence was Elisabetta who again is one of the most knowledgeable people you could want to have in Florence. She was very wonderful and friendly and helped us learn a lot about the many sites there in Florence. Her years in the study of Art History and researching it was a big plus in the explanation of our tour through Florence. The day our tour started out was warm but got a bit cold as we went about and I think we hurried her a bit. She did take us for a breather at a wonderful coffee bar where we experienced the thick hot chocolate that is so tasty. After warming up, Elisabetta took us by a friend's shop where he makes leather boxes and explained the art which he has carried over from generations. We all enjoyed that, as well as the numerous art treasures found around Florence.
Elisabetta suggested we take the Eurostar to Venice and I am so glad as this was a magnificent trip. We met the most wonderful people and got to see another part of the Italian countryside as well.
In Florence, one of our party has two brothers who hosted us for dinner and also one night we ate at a beautiful restaurant up near Michaelangelo Square. Seeing all the beautiful sites from on that hill in the late evening was a special treat as well. Gaith Jeyusi works in a special shop next door to Santa Croce where there was some of the most unusual Mosaic and Murano glass pieces. Some of these mosaic pieces take years to make and use various precious stones from all over to create the most beautiful art work. It is expensive but if you know someone who is into mosaic, I would suggest seeing the works in his shop. Also, his brother Zaid has a leather shop next door with the most beautiful leather coats and purses that one could ever want to own. Needless to say, my wife Gwen did buy coats for her and all our children, as the prices were excellent and the products beautiful.
A special jewel in addition to the art, getting to know the people and seeing the beautiful countryside, was learning a bit about the food and some of the ingredients such as rucola. This is a special green that has a spicy flavor which makes a great addition to salad or adds to a great sandwich. Also there was another green used in salad, Valeriana (which is supposed to comfort you). Tomatoes like the variety DA Bruschetta were especially good and I had to buy some seeds of all these to transport home.
I think you can tell that our experiences were wonderful everywhere we went and our accommodations selected on the In Italy site were exceptional. I want to personally thank you for your assistance and help in planning this whole trip. The In Italy site is the best and I would recommend it to anyone. All of the tours, pick-ups at the airport were there on time and there wasn't any glitch on the whole trip. This will be a trip that the four of us will have memories for the rest of our lives. Jessica I want to thank you and the others helping on the In Italy site for making it all possible.
We've been to Europe 14 times and this trip ranks among the best--it was great and our apartment, Ciompi/Giotto was wonderful.
The large living room with frescoed ceiling was a delight. Looking out the window, just below, was Vasari's 16-century Loggia with an adjoining market place. Florence, of course, is a Renaissance fan's delight.
Very minor apartment problems. Several light bulbs were out and an 18" panel in the surround shower stall that wouldn't stay in place; however, the manager and other personnel were very friendly and quick to respond to complaints. They sent help immediately but only half the light bulbs were replaced, the others were unreachable, because of the wonderful 16'-18' ceilings.
The shower wasn't immediately repairable but I jerry-rigged it and it was fine.
It was just under a half-mile to the Duomo so walked every day to wherever we were going. In fact we walked five to 10 miles a day which kept us in shape for all the pizza and gelato we consumed. We were lucky to immediately find La Ghiotta, a small family-owned restaurant, just a half-block down the street. Food was excellent, big quantities, not served as a meal like we do, but when ready. So any cooked dish, like pizza, was served piping hot. We loved it, ordering way too much the first time. Even then, the bill was only 32 euros ($38USD), for four adults. Even though they didn't speak English and we little Italian, there was no communication problem. We usually arrived between 7:00 pm and 7.30 pm and the place was empty. By 8:00 pm it was packed, standing room only. Obviously locally popular (no tourists). We ate there 7 of the next 8 nights. We had a kitchen in the apartment but I decided to give the girls a real vacation, no cooking except breakfast.
We highly recommend Florence and the Ciompi Apartments.
My husband and I had a truly enjoyable and memorable trip to Italy. We approached each new accommodation not knowing quite what to expect, but each time we were pleasantly surprised. Every one of our stays exceeded our expectations. The Florence Ciompi Apartments were great because of the setting, which gave a great feel of a neighborhood, and the spaciousness of the apartment itself. I loved coming back to the apartment in the evening and opening the huge windows which overlooked the street and listening to the hum of conversations below. When the windows were closed, it was a very quiet place for sleeping. There was a wonderful coffee shop/patisserie within a block, as well as a well stocked grocery store, and every place we went in Florence was within easy walking distance.
It was great to use your website links for train and museum reservations. That helped to structure our trip and avoid long lines at popular museums. When it came to the taking the train to return to Milan from Florence, we had expected to be able to go to the club car to eat lunch. We didn't know that reservations were required ahead of time, so we had to settle for some mediocre food from the bar car. Meanwhile, we witnessed six German men who came on the train and began opening up packages, serving themselves bread, sausage, cheese, and wine. They even had their own wine glasses! And they were laughing a lot! A lesson learned.
I feel very fortunate to have come across your website in the early planning stages of our trip. Your site provides an immense amount of useful information, and as I said before, we were extremely pleased with our accommodations. Thank you for providing such a quality service. We had a wonderful time!
We found the Machiavelli apartment immaculately presented and very comfortable during our stay. In particular we found the kitchen to be excellently furnished and we enjoyed making use of it.
The solitary complaint - the dishwasher was not working (ie. was tripping the circuit breaker to the rest of the apartment when turned on).
All in all we enjoyed our stay and found it to be a welcome break during our lengthy visit to have a comfortable, temporary 'home' instead of just another hotel room.
We were very happy with all of the arrangements we made through InItaly.com. Thanks for all of your help.
The airport shuttle worked very well. Someone who spoke English met us as planned. I thought the fee was all-inclusive, so I didn't tip the driver. Same with the tours. The were all very expensive and done by professionals, so a small tip would have been insulting, so I didn't tip, thinking that 500 euros was enough....
Florence Ciompi Apartments were very nice - LOTS of room. Full kitchen which we didn't use. It is really in the area were many Italians live, rather than the tourist section, but not a far walk to Duomo, the river, etc. This should also be on that page for traveling with 5 (or 6). Only downside was tiny shower with broken door and no shower in 2nd bedroom. Still it was far better than a cramped hotel room.
Tours were excellent, expensive, but worth it.
Vatican tour - couldn't have gotten the kids through it without a guide, saved a lot of time waiting in line. Our guide was a Polish professor who was 1/2 Italian and spoke 7 languages. We went fast, but he explained all of the most important things to us. Really helped the kids understand importance of Sistine Chapel, Pieta, School of Athens....
Michael gave us an excellent tour of Rome - hitting some unusual spots that we would never have found on our own. Great for the kids because we would ride, then walk, then ride, then walk... He also is a professor (of medieval history, I think) and explained things very well to us and our children, while our Italian driver kept his eyes on the road - worked great. I have to say I was very disappointed in the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps which we did on our own - just a bunch of tourists and vendors standing around, packed -- Michael's tour really gave us a sense of what Rome is about.
We did ancient Rome on our own - it was neat, but I wish I had arranged a walking tour of that area as well.
The best restaurant for the money is Zio Ciro Mangianapoli Via Della Propaganda, 22 Tel: 06-6786093. We really needed our Italian there, but the food was great and the prices very reasonable.
We liked Ristorante S. Eustachio a lot - hard to find the Piazza dei Caprettari, though.
The highlight of the whole trip for me was Sylvia's walking tour of Florence. She has a PhD (or close) in Art History, and really made Florence come alive. I took a course on the Renaissance and Reformation in college, but this is the first time in my life that I finally have understood the transition from the Roman Empire to the dark ages to the Renaissance, and now I want to know even more. What happened it Florence is very fundamental to our modern civilization, so I highly recommend this tour. Thanks Sylvia!
The tour of Uffizi gallery was also very good. I taxed my children but it helped to have the paintings explained by a PhD in art history. My 14-year-old paid attention the whole time.
We took the EuroStar train from Rome to Florence, bought tickets online - worked great. Beautiful ride.
In Tuscany, I recommend a little town of Pienza. Great to walk around for 1/2 day. Beautiful view. Restaurants very quaint and prices better than Rome and Florence. Check out Zazzeri - a wine and cheese shop run by Livio Zazzeri - really nice guy who speaks a little English and seems to enjoy tourists - we shipped some cheese and wine home and it worked well, although in the middle of the summer the cheese melted some.....
I highly recommend initaly.com for anyone travelling to Italy for the 1st time.
We had a wonderful time, and I am recommending your web site to everyone! Both locations were excellent. I wish we had explored the Monti neighborhood more, only on our way to the train did we see the other side of the square. The Florence apartment was almost above a bakery that equalled those of Paris, and a deli across the street. The only annoying thing about the apartment was that there were no full length mirrors. Great big new bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, full kitchen with dishwasher, but no mirror, an easy fix. I can not wait to go again and stay longer. If you have a mailing list and any specials ever, please keep me posted.
Thanks - we loved this apartment! Terrific location - near so much, an easy walk to everything, but far enough away from the crowds. The apartment was very clean and you had wonderful people at the reception - I forgot her name - Carmela? She was terrific - called us cabs, etc. The rooms were spacious and the kitchen well stocked - 2 bathrooms for 2 bedrooms was a real plus. Maybe a little more street noise than we expected, but we WERE on the 1st floor, and for a major city it was not too bad. We would surely recommend this to our friends.
Thanks for your help!
Andrew and Katie
PS Don't let people miss the Bargello! I know this is a major museum, but too many American tourists pass it up in favor of Uffizi and Accademia. It was so terrific - small, no crowds, and you can get so close to these masterpieces of sculpture - plus an interesting building. We also loved the restaurant Le Mossacce - looks like a hole in the wall, and so packed, but worth the wait!
We thoroughly enjoyed the apartment. It was HUGE by any standards, and incredibly reasonably priced. The area a few blocks walking toward the Duomo has some incredible Trattoria's. Not touristy at all. Phenomenal food.
The only thing that I would definitely have changed is the LOCK system. We nicknamed the apartments Fort Knox. It's great to have wonderful security, etc. however, these are the hardest locks to get into I have ever encountered on the actual apartment doors. We were told they were difficult, however, that was an understatement. It would be nice if the reception area would show you exactly how to turn it. We were not alone in this. We had two people come assist us who were staying there also, and said it took them 20 minutes to figure theirs out. She was able to help me after I had spent 20 unsuccessful minutes.
Thank you for you inquiry.
The Michelangelo apartment was almost everything we could have wished for. Being on the top floor gave us a view across Florence I will never forget. The location of the Ciompi Apartment was very convenient and the presentation and furnishing was first class.
Just one thing to mention is the fact that the apartment does not really offer 3 separate bedrooms as described on the website. I think this should be made clear so that one knows what one is booking.
One of the bedrooms is on a mezzanine floor accessed through an existing bedroom. We were told, when we arrived, that this upper room is too hot for comfort and indeed had no air conditioning; this meant that two of our party had to sleep in the living room with little privacy.
The two members of our party were OK with the changed sleeping arrangements but as the organiser I was disappointed for them and it could have put a blot on the holiday.
This apart we had a memorable holiday - we took up some of the restaurant recommendations and were not disappointed.
To close I would certainly book with you again and thank you for the smoothness of all the arrangements.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Ciompi Apts even more charming, comfortable and well situated than the internet description and photos suggested. I would rebook in an instant. the map makes the Apt look far from the center of the major sites but it is a ten minute delightful walk from the doumo and another tem minutes of walking to the Ponte Vecchio. The AC worked well for the hot June days and the kitchenette was well stocked. In short a great place. Staff was pleasant and helpful. Additional benefit was 2 vegetarian restaurants within 2 blocks.
We had a wonderful stay at Florence Ciompi Apartments. The Michaelangelo apartment was everything that we expected, very clean and comfortable. The only problems we experienced were with the dishwasher in the apartment - we never were able to get it to run through a complete cycle, and apparently the last tenant had experienced the same problem. The washer and dryer on the 4th floor was a plus - we used it several times. We were disappointed with the flea market across the street - really junky. We loved the nearby restaurants though, they were excellent. The apartments were in a great location, with a small supermarket right down the street.
We were there when the Calcio Storico games were beginning in Piazza Santa Croce, and were lucky enough to watch an amazing fireworks show the night after the first game - our 3rd floor windows were an absolutely perfect place to watch the fireworks, and were some of the best we've ever seen (my daughters really enjoyed that)
Carima was helpful and friendly - we really enjoyed our stay and will look forward to returning soon. Our experience with booking through In Italy was great - thanks for your help.
When I found the Florence Ciompi Apartments on your site, it looked too good to be true. The photos suggested really nice apartments and the rates were great. But it was everything I hoped it would be. We stayed in Lorenzo Il Magnifico which is located on the top floor. It appeared to be a little more rustic than some of the other apartments but that was what I wanted. Our views out the windows on the top floor were fabulous. The kitchen was well equipped and even had a dishwasher. The only thing missing was a microwave oven. I would absolutely stay here again. The building is immaculate and so are the apartments, which for the most part are really large. We spoke to others staying there and they also mentioned how clean their apartments were. We peeked into a few and they all looked great.
Having booked this through In Italy made it a breeze. We turned in our paperwork and we were all set. We found the on-site manager very helpful. If you have a car, the parking for the building is secure and convenient. It was worth the 15 Euros per day.
Florence Ciompi was a great location too. The daily Farmers Market is only blocks away and has the best produce, meats and cheese available. There are great restaurants in the neighborhood and it is walking distance to many of the major attractions in the city.
Hidden find: Our daughter is a vegetarian so we did some checking online before our trip. We found a GREAT place with good vegetarian selections as well as excellent Tuscan meat specialties in the area of the San Lorenzo market. It is called La Congrega. We had such a great meal there that we went back a second time and it was just as good. The address is: Via Panicale 43R. I recommend reservations as it is small. We also went to Il Latini again and as always it was a great experience. The place is classic. The food was great and the bill was reasonable. Thanks In Italy, I send people to your site all the time.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the "Machiavelli" apartment and can recommend it to others with confidence. The woman in charge of the property was most cooperative in letting us check in early after our long, trans-Atlantic flight, and she continued to be gracious and helpful throughout our stay.
The apartment itself was spacious, well-appointed, nicely furnished, and quite comfortable. The apartment was effectively cooled by two large air conditioning units: one in the living room and one in the bedroom. The air conditioning was needed and appreciated because the week we were in Florence, the temperatures hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
The renovation included modern plumbing in both the kitchen and bath. In fact, the kitchen was equipped with a dishwasher, which we hadn't expected. (Perhaps we should have expected it, but neither of us recalled it being in the apartment description.) Even though we had only one flight of steps to climb, the elevator was useful transporting our luggage up and down and when we were especially exhausted because of the heat.
We particularly liked the location. While the apartment still is in the historic district, its location northeast of Santa Croce simply isn't as congested or filled with tourists as many other parts of the city. We felt we were living in a real neighborhood, alongside real Italians living their lives. Proximity to every convenience made the experience much more pleasant. For example, the Standa supermarket is on Via Pietrapiana less than two blocks away. The Sant'Ambrogio farmer's market is similarly two blocks away in the opposite direction. In close proximity to the farmer's market, we patronized the Girasole dry cleaner, a bakery, and salumeria. Le Chat Internet cafe on Via Ghibellina and Vestri chocolateria/gelateria on Borgo degli Albizi were two more factors in our positive attitude about the location. (Vivoli and Neri rounded out the list of top-notch gelaterias that were only a little bit farther afield from our apartment.)
There was an excellent variety of restaurants within a 5-10 minute walk from the apartment. Particularly noteworthy were Dino's, Leo in Santa Croce, and Osteria De Benci. Even the walk to our favorite restaurants across the Arno -- Quattro Leoni and Mama Gina's -- were easy strolls from this location.
Except for taking a cab to and from the apartment with our luggage, we were able to and did walk everywhere, and loved it!
If we were to decide to stay in Florence again for a week, we would probably head straight to Florence Ciompi apartments.
Philip & Karen S.
Dear Kristin and Jessica:
Got back just about a week ago and wanted to send you feedback while it is fresh in my mind. First of all thank you for all your help our trip was fabulous!
We loved the Boccaccio, what a jewel! What a great location, we walked everywhere! The Boccaccio Apartment is very spacious, we had a balcony (no outdoor furniture yet, but we dragged our dining room chairs out!) The apartment was extremely clean and tidy. The beds were quite comfortable and the bathrooms very spacious. A++++++. Karima at the front desk was very helpful and friendly. If we were (or when we) to return to Florence we would go back there. The neighborhood is great, everything is convenient: grocery store, pastry/cafe, a wonderful restaurant, ATM, etc. Great, great, great!
I wish the apartment had had a binder with local information: where to eat, find a grocery store, drug store, etc. Also information about what to do with the trash and recycling, where in the apartment to find a hair dryer, iron, etc. Would save some time.
Thank you and once again we had quite a memorable trip.
Crissy T. P.
Home again after a wonderful trip! All went like clockwork and we have you and your site to thank for that, so thanks to you all.
I know that you are an American company with most of your clients originating from the other side of the pond. Our friends were quite surprised when they heard I was using a.com and not a.co.uk but we couldn't be happier with the results as Scotland now has, for the first time, direct flights to Pisa, Milan and Rome. We hope that our satisfaction will increase your client base.
What can be said about Lorenzo II but totally MAGNIFICO! The Florence Ciompi Apartments were fabulous and our 'penthouse' bedroom was indeed the Florentine Room with a View. You mention 3 windows. Wrong! Leave the ensuite door open and window 4 is there. 360degrees of Florence all to ourselves.
Early one morning, with a day of rain looming, I caught the picture from the window up towards the Piazza Michelangelo that made me understand the incredible dawn lighting and dark clouds so often seen in many of the famous Italian paintings and not experienced in the UK.
The situation of the apartments is perfect as a right turn takes you to the local market and the trattorias full of atmosphere and NO tourists. In these we had some great times, always welcomed and looked after by the locals. A left turn and minutes take you to the Duomo and the shops!! Our daughter enjoyed spending a few months salary in the Via Tornabuoni, especially Gucci. Straight ahead and you're at Santa Croce and the Arno. If sore feet make the trip back somewhat daunting then the electric buses A and B, which do circular trips so it doesn't matter which way they are going, bring you right back outside the door and give some extra sightseeing on the way.
The only down side was Florence itself. Very, very busy and full of traffic. Well that was only to be expected but I would recommend staying in Lucca and day tripping to Florence. However that is a MAJOR problem as the experience of our stay in Lorenzo II Magnifico would be lost and that is something we would never give up. A wonderful memory to be cherished forever.
Fiona, Rod and M.
I would be glad to provide you with some feedback about Florence Ciompi Apartments. The accommodations were definitely beyond expectations. We booked a "double" suite which usually barely promises enough room for one person, let alone two. However, the Brunelleschi suite was extremely spacious and immaculately clean. The fixtures were all top quality and the place was obviously maintained very well. The room was very quiet and still provided a skyline view over a small street. We traveled to three cities in Italy during this trip, and really had good accommodations in all cities. But Florence Ciompi is our favorite by far, as well as the most affordable. We will definitely be back, and intend to stay at Florence Ciompi again.
Thanks so much for the help during our trip! We had a wonderful time and beautiful weather. The Florence Ciompi Apartment was a nice change of pace; it was great to be able to spread out. I wish the second bedroom would have a bed bigger than a single but the pull out couch was fine. It was nice to be in a neighborhood while still being close to the tourist attractions. We went to one of the restaurants you suggested: Il Giova. The food was amazing, the atmosphere quiet and romantic and the proprietor a doll! They had their own wine which was very nice, too. The market across the street had some great finds and the pastry shop 2 or 3 doors down had tasty treats.
We had a wonderful time at the Florence Ciompi Apts - It looked exactly like the website showed - and then some!!! We couldn't get over the ease of booking this unit thru you - much more simple than any other hotel that we stayed in on our two week visit to Italy - we are so sorry we didn't use your help with our stays in Rome and Positano - but we will be using you again - planning on Positano area for two weeks next year and you on the top of my list for rentals!!!!! Our apartment was in the most amazing area in Florence - we only needed to walk out the door to walk to any restaurant or bar in the area - the area was very quaint and truly gave us the feel of being part of the normal day to day of living in Florence - Again - the apartment was wonderful - it was so clean - linens, towels ( all of great quality) This is definitely the way to go for anyone staying longer than three days - we had soooo much room !!! I have recommended you to everyone I talk to - you are the best of the best!!!!! Thanks again for making our trip spectacular!!!!!
Your excellent service gave us the confidence to take an apartment for several days instead of a hotel. It was a great decision. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience of living like a Florentine in our Ciompi apartment.
First there was the excellent service of the building staff who stayed through lunch to check us in and see that we were comfortable. Then we found the apartment to be of first quality all the way with an excellent kitchen and bathrooms and very clean bedrooms. It was a joy. Our friends (we had convinced them that this was going to be great) were very impressed.
We then made ourselves at home with a trip to the nearby supermarket that had everything we could want for a snack or a whole meal.
The building is lovely, secure, and well maintained. It was very enjoyable to stay in and the location was perfect for our needs. It was also quite convenient to other spots in the city which were easy to walk to.
Thank you very much for making Italy and Florence readily accessible to people who want a different experience from the standard hotel. It is also helpful to Jewish people who want to be in walking distance of the Synagogue with kitchen possibilities.
Please contact me if you would like more specific recommendations.
Thanks for the note. We did, indeed, have a marvelous trip to Florence. Many thanks to you and to Fabio, whose advice about choosing apartments and sights to see was invaluable.
The Florence Ciompi is in a wonderful location: Even though everything in the city is within walking distance (and the views of the Duomo from our Lorenzo bedroom were astonishing), the neighborhood itself is very "Italian," filled with "real" residents who shop and eat and walk there. I absolutely adored it!
Karima is too good to be true. She was unfailingly lovely to us, finding hair dryers and airport taxis for us -- and helping other residents who were frustrated by the very European laundry room! Please, do whatever you need to keep her on board: She provides a wonderful "face" to the city.
I also was very happy with the apartment itself. The views from the upper bedroom of the Lorenzo were unbelievable. Unfortunately, something about the building's acoustics transmit sound between Lorenzo's downstairs bedroom and the apartment next door (the Cellini, I believe). The friend with whom I traveled -- and who had the downstairs bedroom -- was unable to sleep three of the nights we were there, and was thus not as enchanted as I by the living arrangements. Although the apartment building's owner was sympathetic (and refunded us part of one day's rent), the problem needs to be resolved. Perhaps tapestry wall hangings?
Again, thanks for all your help. I hope to return to Italy someday – and will certainly contact you all if I do.
We did have a marvelous vacation thanks in large part to you. Florence Ciompi: WOW! This was an incredible palace apartment located very centrally in Florence. My three sisters and I loved being able to bring home food for dinner and breakfast. It was nice having our own rooms and bathrooms and yet having a central place to be together. Karima, at the front desk, and Max, the owner, were both extremely friendly and helpful and both spoke English well. I would highly recommend this apartment.
Thank you so much for your help with our trip, Jessica. We had a lovely time and will highly recommend In Italy to anyone we know.