After a pleasant high-speed trip from Rome, the train stops, we walk a fairly short distance on Via de Cerretani street with wheeled suitcases in tow, and we are there--Hotel Perseo.
Hotel Perseo offers the convenience of not needing transportation as one can easily walk from the busy train station, to the Duomo, to all points of interests with great ease in this historic, ancient city. (Check it out on Google Earth and you'll see how close it is to everything.)
The carved stone hotel name is in good view above the entry and also on the right side of the hallway which helped us find the location easily. There are nice shops along the street level.
The hotel reception, not on the ground level, is up a (somewhat iffy) small rather antique elevator on Level 3 with Hotel Perseo rooms on both Level 3 and 4. The building seems to have a couple other hotels within the same building which is a bit strange for U.S. Americans, but this had no negative influence on our stay. (We also found this multi-hotel approach within a building in Rome.)
What great good fortune we had as our rather spacious (by European standards) room faced the church bells of Santa Maria Maggiore, the only bells rung by the church members as other churches use recordings and speakers. These lovely bells' delightful ringing woke the morning with their lovely chimes as the sun smiled on Florence.
It was nice to have two English speaking TV stations with CNN International and BBC. The safe within the closet was also useful. Along side the small sitting room near the reception is a computer with internet for checking emails, etc. if one chooses not to bring a computer or smart phone on this trip.
Owners (an Aussie and an Italian) are super helpful, friendly, intelligent, interesting individuals. Their ability to speak multiple languages was most helpful to us and other guests from other parts of the world. Their staff is well trained and efficient and very helpful to all guests regardless of requests. Their professionalism perhaps makes up for the hotel beginning to look a bit on the tired side in that an updated paint job could cheer things up a bit as could some new hallway flooring. Having said that, the rooms were in line with most functional European hotels. The furnishings and fittings worked out just fine and the bathroom was of adequate size and was kept clean, and the king bed was comfortable.
Walk out of the building's entry and you in a shopping mecca (the Fifth Avenue of Florence) where you can purchase the most elegant high-end designer shoes, clothing, etc. and dine in lovely restaurants and cafes. Learn more about history, art and culture by visiting the Duomo, Uffizi (originally "offices" of the ever-so wealthy and influential Medici family), the Accademia and on and on, all within easy walk from this well-situated hotel.
Similarly, expensive, high-end fine leather goods are available at the leather school, Scuola del Cuoio created after WW II in collaboration within the Monastery of Santa Croce. Beautiful, historic location (church and school) even if you don't purchase any leather goods. This area is an easy walk from the Hotel Perseo as are Via Ariento's Central Market for fruit, veggies, foods and the Ponte Vecchio bridge with numerous gold shops. Everything is close by and an easy walk.
Be prepared, of course, out front of the hotel for the (presumed gypsy) elder woman crunched into a ball in a parking space with her begging-cup on the sidewalk. She seems to work a shift of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. after which she apparently goes home to come back the next day. Down the street within the main square are typically several (presumed gypsy) women colorfully dressed in long-sleeved tops and floor-length skirts, black hair in simple braid, and cups in hand as they also beg during their later afternoon shifts. Of course, be aware in this city as you would in any large city and put your valuables into a small punch that goes under your cloths, tucked into your waist band and use the hotel safe. Further, also be aware at the train station and avoid those who walk up to you offering "to help" as you work to maneuver the train ticket purchases, schedules, etc. These (predominately men) are not with the train company.
The morning breakfast typically included some a simple fruit sliced, cereals, croissants, pastries/breads, cheese and some meat (for those who eat meat), coffee/espresso and cappuccino freshly made upon request. The lovely kitchen manager would prepare you a second cappuccino if you chose to stay a bit longer in the café setting. The owner/managers were also flexible enough to allow an extended family to use the café for an early dinner one evening as the family brought in on their own food. Many hotels would not be so flexible. A nice touch.
So, long story short, we would stay here again. It met our needs very well and the owners were wonderful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Completely renovated in 2006, Hotel Perseo offers large comfortable rooms full of natural light, many with spectacular views of classic Florentine landmarks. A superbly central location and friendly welcoming atmosphere combined with a stylish designer decor make Hotel Perseo a perfect place to stay when visiting Florence. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Il Perseo Hotel
- Il Perseo Florence