The recent month had been busy for me, because, first I re-started taking Italian classes three times a week, and second the main reason was that I had been working on the renovation of my little apartment in Borgo San Frediano, and now it is finally ready!
I’ve been wanting to renovate the apartment since last year. And finally after hosting my parents, we kicked off the work in April. Now this rental apartment is refreshed and open for new guests again!
Actually this apartment had been listed on Airbnb for over a year before the renovation, so technically I am an “experienced” host already. But with the re-opening of my newly renovated rental apartment, I thought I would shout out some useful tips learned during the past-year hosting experience, as well as a local resident! Hopefully it will help those, who decide to rent an apartment during their stay in Florence over a hotel.
🏘️ Mind the color of the Florentine street number
If you pay close attentions to the street number in Florence, you will discovery that there are two categories of street number signs in town: the ones in Blue, and those in Red. This is a very typical Florentine thing.
The differences between the two kinds of signs are: Blue numbers are used to mark the doors/ entrance for residential places; while the Red are for commercial/ business spots (such as restaurants, artisan workshops, etc.). If a Florentine gives you an address, by default he refers to the Blue number. And if he means the Red number, he will put a “r” behind the number. For example:
“Borgo San Frediano 83”
“Borgo San Frediano 83r”
But this Florentine way of numbering the street confuses Google map. Many times I’ve found Google gave the default searching result to the Red numbers, which were controversial to the real case. When trying to locate the rental apartment in Florence, make sure you double check/ test in advance on Google Map before arriving to avoid getting lost. You don’t want to end up in front of a local grocery store with your heavy luggage while sweating like crazy, and ask for a check-in.
🏞️ Stay in the Oltrarno side
If you choose a rental over hotel, you probably look for that “live like a local” experience. As a Florentine resident living in the Oltrarno side, I would say: This is the right side!
One of the reasons is that comparing to the city center side, Oltrarno is less touristic. Of course “touristic” is unnecessarily bad, and if you really want to stay next to the Duomo, I am sure there are very nice places around. But if you prefer the “residential vibe”, and are curious to explore the city a little deeper, and would love to try some new restaurants or creative dishes, then come to the Oltrarno!
Starting from the Pitti Palace to Piazza della Passera, then to Piazza Santo Spirito. This area is my favorite on the Oltrarno. Tons of restaurants and bars are here. And many local people also come here for aperitivo and dinner. I like to take my kid to Santo Spirito to play, and we often find many other Moms with their kids there. It is a perfect place also for tourists to make some local friends, and have some conversations over a glass of bubbles.
Read the article A PERSONAL GUIDE TO THE SANTO SPIRITO NEIGHBORHOOD, to find more hidden gem in the Santo Spirito neighborhood
My rental apartment is in the neighborhood of San Frediano, which is only 850 meters from Santo Spirito. So close to the best part of Oltrarno, yet kinda far from the noisy center.
🚴 Use Foodora to get food delivered to the apartment
One of the best things about staying in a rental is that you can cook your own meals, and eat in your PJ any time you want. And for those who want to try some local restaurants but at the same time are too tired to go out, Foodora can be a good solution!
Foodora is a platform that provides food delivery services from local restaurants to the nearby residence. Customers can use their website or mobile app to browse menus, place orders, and pay. And Foodora will pick up the orders from the restaurants and deliver to the door “within 30 minutes”.
For guests staying in my apartment, simple set the address as “Borgo San Frediano 83”. You will find many choices under the radar!
🐌 Osterie d’Italia 2017 App: a reliable restaurant guide
Talking about EAT, I would highly recommend another app Osterie d’Italia 2017 (by Slow Food Editore) to those, who put the quality and authenticity at first when it comes to food, and are willing to drive a bit far away to a small village to taste their specialty.
Using this app, you can search the restaurants based on many criteria. For example, if you are planning to visit a small village in the countryside, you can search directly by the name of the place and book a restaurant. Or you can search by the kind of food you’d like to try (meat, vegan, etc). The fun way to use the app, and sometimes me and my husband do this when we just want to try some good food but have no idea where to go, is to use the Map in the app, zoom in and see what are the restaurants in certain area. Each restaurant on the Map is marked with a pin, by clicking on the pin, you can see the info about that restaurant.
It is a paid app (€8.99), and totally worth it.
Stazzu li Paladini, an agriturismo with a great restaurant offering local treats. They offer fixed menu, which contains 3 appetiters, 2 primi, 2 main course, desserts, plus wine.
💰 Pay your Occupancy Tax on check-in (€2.5 per person per night)
The occupancy tax (aka tourist tax) is to be paid by the guests, while the hosts are obligated to remit the collected taxes to the government. Read more here. Many hosts on Airbnb (including me) decide to collect the tax in cash on check-in.
To avoid any awkward, it is recommended to check with your host in advance, and to know if the occupancy tax (€2.5 per person per night) is included in the room fee, or not.
Check the detail of the apartment here
Hope you find the tips useful. Don’t forget to check out my rental in Florence, and book your stay!