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“Marvelous experience---Jack & Pat”

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Residenza Il Carmine
Ranked #32 of 311 Speciality Lodging in Florence
Reviewed 19 March 2012

For 12 nights/days we had a wonderful home away from home staying first in Fillipi Lippi(2nights) then 10 nights in Domus. We were even able to make some meals in the well supplied kitchen, had great service from Caterina, Mirriam and Emilio and their superb cleaning lady. It is a beautful setting---the garden even in winter was nice to sit out and read.
Caterina even ordered our taxi for 4;30 am when we left for the airport---what service!!!
Staying in these apartments .sure beats hotels both for cost and comfort.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank pityann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 January 2012

Instead of staying in a soulless hotel, imagine coming home from a day's sightseeing or shopping to your own cool, private apartment and relaxing in the dappled shade of a spreading tree in a sleepy garden, sipping a glass of chianti and feeling the warm, scented breeze on your skin and hearing the songbirds and the church bells chiming melodiously all over Florence.......It is easy to wax lyrical about this place – it is not the last word in luxury but it is a charming and comfortable haven.

These apartments were recommended to me by a work colleague who had stayed here several times herself. I am so glad I took up her recommendation! I feel strangely reluctant to share this 'secret' for fear of not being able to get back in the next time I visit Florence! My friend and I had a week to spend in Florence and we wanted to be "in amongst" the Florentines. This Residenza was just perfect. It is safe, secure, clean, comfortable, economical, well situated and oh, so pretty. The owners/caretakers live on the premises and are so friendly, helpful and kind. The Residenza is within easy walking distance of just about everywhere in Florence you could wish to see (and all the walks are lovely anyway!).

The Residenza il Carmine is fronted by the original old Palazzo which contains 3 luxury apartments. Entry to the entire property is through a massive door on the Via d'Ardiglione, then a walk through the impressive hallway of the Palazzo and lastly through the Residenza's pretty garden. To the left are the 3 garden apartments which branch out back towards the Chiesa il Carmine (the beautiful Church decorated with magnificent Fillipo Lippi frescoes) and to the right of the garden is the owner's home. You have a key to the huge front door and also a door from the Palazzo hall before you can access the garden and its apartments, so it is ultra-secure.

We had the 'Mirra' apartment which is the closest one to the church - it practically backs on to it. The lovely Miriam met us on arrival and showed us around and how things worked. Our apartment was spotless, charmingly decorated, incredibly comfortable and freshly aired. Miriam left us a complimentary basket of breakfast goodies (crispbreads, sweet rolls, cheese and fruit, water etc.) to start our holiday off. The kitchen has gas hotplates, a microwave and little refridgerator. The shower was excellent (if you are searching for towels, you will find that they are the large linen squares under the bathroom sink - strange to me, but worked well!). The rooms are airy and deliciously cool after the hot sunshine outside.

Miriam, her husband, son and delightful daughter, Caterina, are very approachable and happy to help with directions, recommendations, wifi password, wrestling corks out of bottles (haha) and the ordering of taxis although they never impose or intrude.

Near to the residenza there are a number of bars, bakeries, delicatessans and excellent trattorias. There is also a laundrette and a well-stocked small supermarket very close by (you can also buy delicious local wines here!). Our favourite trattorias were the Cavolo Nero (just 2 doors along from the Residenza) - delicious meals and a pretty restaurant with an airy vine covered loggia at the the back and (our absolute favourite) the Trattoria Da Ginone on Via de Serragli - simply the best Tuscan food and service I have ever experienced. The most luscious scallopine limone in the world, a divine creme brulee and all with the friendliest service and genuine warmth around. Once we found this trattoria, we went back for dinner every night!
An easy (and lovely) 15 minute walk, crossing the Arno River by one of the beautiful bridges, will get you to the Ponte Vecchio. Outside the Residenza's front door, walk about 100 metres along Via d'Ardiglione, then turn right onto Via Serragli then left to go over the bridge. Once on the bridge you will have magnificent views up and down the Arno, with the amazing Ponte Vecchio to be seen (and photographed) on your right hand side. 10 - 15 minutes in the opposite direction will get you to the lavish and extensive Boboli Gardens (take water – drinks are hard to find here and it is a very large place!).
During our stay we also went on a “Tuscany in a day” tour – a fantastic and value packed capsule tour of the Tuscan countryside (lunch included) which included Siena, San Gimingano and stunning Pisa. I would not have missed these for the world – they are each so utterly beautiful. The tour conveniently started from the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence. It was a very long day – 12.5 hours all up, but well worth it.
There is so much to see and do in Florence and you can get to just about everywhere by foot. The city is eminantly walkable. As well as the usuals (Duomo, Uffizi etc., each astonishing and glorious), try not to miss the Lippi frescoes in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi (right near the fabulous San Lorenzo market) and don't forget to check out the beautiful little church right behind your apartment! I absolutely cannot wait to go back and would not hesitate to recommend the Residenza il Carmine to anyone wanting comfort, convenience, value and a really special experience of Firenze.
2 little tips:
1. We couldn't get our laptop to connect to wifi inside the apartment but if you sit in the doorway or at one of the tables in the garden, it works just fine
2. If you intend to post any packages home from Florence - take your passport with you!! We found out (the hard way) that your passport is required in order to do so.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank MissJaneM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2011

I stayed at 'Residenza il Carmine' in the Domus apartment in June of 2011. I found it to be safe, clean, spacious, and conveniently located in Firenze. The apartment and the wonderful walled-in garden were beautiful places to relax and enjoy the ambience of Italian city life. The owners are on-site and very hospitable. Marg, Ottawa, ON, Canada

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Iamas2947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2011

You walk through a door off a side street and you are in an oasis. We and our friends had the Oro and Incenso apartments for 5 nights in October. Awesome is the only word to describe the apartments, garden, amenities and the owners.
Caterina met us on arrival and showed us around as well as giving us a map with restaurants, bars for coffee, bakery, fruit store etc. Caterina is very nice and took care of letting the local police know when we had driven into the city to drop off our bags so that we would not get ticketed. She let us use the apt. wifi with our phone and that was very helpful as well as making a reservation for us to see the "David". She is most accommodating.
The apartments are spotless and decorated nicely. There is cheese, yogurt, rolls, coffee etc. to make breakfast. One night we shoped all the local stores for bread, wine, meats and cheese and had supper in our apartment. Everything you could need in a neighborhood is very accessible.
It is about a 15 minute walk to the other side of the Arno where the Palazzo Vecchio, the markets, and the "David", among other things, are located. It is an easy walk and colorful.
We ate at Casalingua, Osteria Santo Spiritu and Gusta Osteria twice. We enjoyed drinks at Volume and some antipasti they serve when you order drinks. These restaurants are in the vicinity of the Residenza.
I could go on and on but would stay here again in a heartbeat!! Thank you Caterina for everything!

Room Tip: I saw 2 of the apartments and liked each equally well. I think regardless which one you stay in, yo...
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank WesternPAAndiamo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2011

Of course, there are many gorgeous and wonderful places to stay in Florence. The Four Seasons and the Westin and the Hotel Lungarno come to mind. But if you would prefer to spend your money on outstanding dinners out or shopping along Via Tornabuoni instead of on a fancy hotel room, please consider Residenza il Carmine. We have been loathe to share our secret with the world, but here it is: the Residenza is the best place to stay for the money in Florence. We have stayed in all the apartments that look out on the garden and in the two that don't. The smaller ones are perfect for one or two guests. The largest one is terrific for a family. Our experiences are based on two or three trips a year over the last 10+ years. The garden is one of the Residenza's biggest pluses. After a full day of visiting museums (or riding bicycles out in the Tuscan countryside), a late afternoon spent in the beautiful garden with a glass of wine and a good book will rejuvenate you. It's also a great place for kids to stretch their legs, plus there are two excellent public playgrounds within easy walks of the Residenza. And if you need more space the Boboli Gardens are five minutes away. Come the evening, you'll be ready to walk to any of the outstanding restaurants in the Oltrarno for dinner. Or add a few minutes to your stroll and you are in the Centro. And four of the six best gelaterie in Florence are within easy walks of the Residenza. Our Italian has improved over the years, but the English of the owners - Miriam, Emilio and Caterina - puts us to shame. They can help you with taxis or reservations or whatever you may need. There are Internet cafes nearby, but a polite word to Emilio or Caterina will win you the password to their own WiFi access and you can use your own laptop in your room.The apartments are spotless and casually elegant. There are no laundry facilities in the rooms, but there are two clean and accessible laundromats three minutes' walk from the Residenza, and a brand new one a 30-second walk away. There is a small market diagonally across the street from the nearest laundromat, and several fruit/vegetable markets and a butcher nearby, if you want to cook at "home". An excellent larger "supermarket" is steps from the Ponte Vecchio, and it's less than 10 minutes on foot from the Residenza. You can choose to have breakfast in your own rooms, or at several of the excellent "bars" nearby, or pick up pastries at one of the outstanding bakeries a block or two away. Of course the Centro - the Duomo, the Uffizi and all the other star attractions of Florence - is an easy walk from the Residenza. Maybe 15 minutes. For a longer stay, please consider the Apartment Ramaglianti. It is a lovely large one-bedroom apartment literally steps from the Ponte Vecchio. We stayed there for two months this past year and it was perfect. And there is a washer/dryer in the apartment. With all the money that you save by staying at the Residenza or at the apartment Ramaglianti, you can splurge for drinks at the Hotel Lungarno, feeling very smug that you are sleeping somewhere equally elegant and costing you so little!

Room Tip: For one person or a couple, choose one of the three "garden apartments". We don't have...
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Emily C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2011

My husband, teenage daughter, and I stayed in the Domus apartment during our visit to Florence. We were very comfortable; in addition to the bedroom, there is a living room with sleep sofa and daybed. As you can see from the hotel website pictures, the Domus contains a very nice dining area next to the kitchen. and the 1.5 bath arrangement was perfect for the three of us.
We found ourselves in the garden after a day of sightseeing, and that is what made this hotel so special. Everything you need is fairly convenient. We purchased bread from the bakery around the corner and fruit from the market square down the street. There is also a small "supermarket" that is two blocks away where you can buy groceries till fairly late at night. One of the bakeries actually makes sandwiches . Caterina is a very pleasant and helpful owner, and she will make good solid recommendations for dinner. While we loved Casalinga and Quattro Lioni, I (and my wallet) appreciated the simple fare at "Il Gatto and la Volpe" , the Cat and the Fox, on the corner of Via Ghibellini and Giraldi. I had the Braciole salad and we shared the Salad Caprese.(They should warn you that the Salad Caprese means the biggest slice of mozzarella you have even seen on a plate surrounded by bright red tomatoes. ) They also offer a 10% discount for "international students" .

Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
4  Thank Beckysmom31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2011

My wife and I were on a 30th wedding anniversary trip around Italy (May 2011) starting in Venice we travelled to Florence by train. We used the high speed La Frecce train which was good value and fast in comparison to UK trains and very comfortable too.
We stayed on a self catering basis at the Residenza Il Carmine (via D'Ardiglione) Santo Spirito, Oltrarno, for 89 Euros a night. This was by far the best accommodation we had on our trip to Italy because of the quality of the apartment and for the view and access to garden. There appeared to be 3 apartments on one side of the garden with the owners apartments on the other. There was some intermitent work being carried out to the adjacent church of Santa Maria del Carmine, which backed on to the property, and apart from the bells the only other sounds were of the birds singing. The apartments are basically in the garden of an ancient building and as soon as as you enter through two outer doors a gorgeous waft of jasmine hits you.
We stayed in the "Incenzo" apartment and possibly had the best view of the garden. We would stay here again without question. After wandering the hot streets of Florence it was good to return at anytime and either relax in the cool apartment or in the shade of the garden. The peal of bells of Santa Maria del Carmine at 8.30 am in particular and other times too, is an enduring sound something, I really enjoyed listening to.
We didn't encounter any mosquitoes but the windows had in insect proof mesh infront of them enabling them to be opened fairly safely.

The owner Emilio his wife (and daughter i presume) were very polite and couldn't have been more helpful. It really was a pleasure to stay here as you may guess by now.

The Santo Spirito area of Florence is full of family run small grocery shops/ wine bars/gelateria and restaurants and without the crowds. The Pontevecchio bridge takes about 10-15 mins to reach on foot. The station is 10 mins in a taxi if the traffic is light and is walkable with wheeled cases in about 25 mins.

Although self catering we ate out for the five nights we stayed. We ate 3 times in Trattoria Casalinga (via del Michelozzi) 5 mins walk or so away close to Santo Spirito church. This restaurant was always busy and we queued twice for a table, but not for very long. The food apart from a very chewy was very good plentiful - 2/3 courses + wine costing between 24 and 45 euros for two.
We ate at Ai Tranvai (Piazza Torquato Tasso) a very small looking restuarant full of locals with room for about 20 people, but another room poss upstairs. The food here was very good and served by the chef although i cannot recall what we had . A help urself carafe of red wine was on every table and a couple brought their 2 dogs in with them too!

We took a Taxi uphill to the church San Miniato Al Monte to visit the spectacular church and take in the far reaching city views. We made a point of being there for the 5.30 vespers in the crypt and were openly invited to listen to the Monks. Quite a moving experience. You can walk down to the Pizzale Michangelo for more widespread city views and another 20-30 min walk will see you at the Ponte Vecchio.

Climbing to the top of the Duomo for 8 euros is well worth the effort. We went at 10 am and was reasonably empty and could take our time. The last 20-40 foot of the climb would I think be a little awkward for any elderly person - but not impossible.

Room Tip: All the apartments looked good but I would pick the Incenso appt again if visiting.
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Touring_cricket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Residenza Il Carmine

Address: Via d'Ardiglione 28, 50124, Florence, Italy
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence > Santo Spirito / San Frediano
Amenities:
Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 311 Speciality Lodging in Florence
Price Range: £52 - £106 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Residenza il Carmine is the ideal alternative to a standard hotel.We are located in the Oltrarno ( meaning "Beyond the river Arno ),in Santo Spirito area,just few steps from Ponte Vecchio,Pitti Palace and Uffizi Gallery.One of the most fascinating parts of the city,where the narrow streets,little squares,old trattorias,markets and craftsmen'sworkshops,still breathe the spirit of old Florence.Our apartments,well furnished and particulary warm,are located in our beautiful garden and in the historical 17th century Palace.Residenza il Carmine è la perfetta alternativa ad un hotel.Ci troviamo nell'Oltrarno,nella zona di Santo Spirito,proprio a pochi passi dal Ponte Vecchio,Palazzo Pitti e la Galleria degli Uffizi.Questo è uno dei luoghi più pittoreschi e affascinanti della città,dove le stradine, le piazzette, le vecchie trattorie e i mercati ci fanno ancora respirare il legame con la Firenze antica.I nostri appartamenti,totalmente e finemente arredati,si trovano nel giardino della Residenza e nel Palazzo storico del 1600. ... more   less 
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