Originally, we planned on staying in the hotel in Florence where the rest of our group stayed before we all met up in Barga. But, I decided to “call an audible” after I heard their stories about that particular hotel…
It was noisy. It wasn’t close to the “main attractions.” The rooms were small, cramped even. Those reviews were enough to make me second-guess our decision to stay there. It was the stories of a few ladies getting stuck in a small elevator during a power outage and of someone trying to enter a couple’s room in the middle of the night that finally convinced me to change our plans.
Since our reservation was made through Booking.com (not a sponsored post), I could still change it without having to pay a fee.
I couldn’t hop on my computer fast enough and find an alternative place to stay.
I’m sure that the original hotel would’ve been fine, but our trip had been amazing and I didn’t want it to end on a low note, because we stayed in a not-so-awesome hotel. Some people don’t care about the hotel. They just need a bed and a bathroom and that’s enough. I can do that if I have to, but if I’m on vacation or a special trip, I view the hotel room as a part of the experience. It’s my home while I’m traveling and it’s nice if that place feels comfortable and inviting and even luxurious.
As I was scrolling through hotels, this picture caught my attention…
It looked pretty luxurious to me, but I was sure it would be a budget buster. I prepared myself for a high price tag. The room was only €30 more a night. For one night, that was about a $35 total upgrade. Once split between me and my mom, that was just $17/night for a beautiful room just a five-minute walk from Ponte Vecchio and with a view of the Pitti Palace.
The hotel was the Piazza Pitti Palace.
Done and done.
When we arrived in Florence, I tried to not get my hopes up about our specific room. Hotels always show their best, most expensive rooms on their websites. I knew our room was large (900 sq feet), but big doesn’t necessarily mean nice.
We arrived at the hotel, which occupies part of two floors of a charming 15th-century building…
The door is gated, so only residents and guests can get in. Mom and I got out of the taxi and gather our bags. We approached the gate, looking for the buzzer, and a woman on her way out of the building paused to look at us and our luggage.
“Are you staying in the Piazza Pitti Palace?”
“May I see your reservation?”
I showed her the e-mail confirmation on my screen. She nodded.
“I will take your bags and show you in.”
I hesitated for a second. We didn’t hit the buzzer for the hotel and this woman didn’t have any identification. She just happened to be there when we arrived. After being warned of so many scams, I had a vision of her being a master pick-pocket who could steal my prized E Dehillerin copper pot out of my suitcase right under my nose. I realized I was being completely ridiculous. We followed her and let her help us through the gate with our bags.
She got into a small elevator with my mom and our luggage. I opted for the steps. After hoofing it up seven flights of steps while in Paris, ascending to the second floor on foot just wasn’t a big deal.
On the second floor, there was a small lobby for the hotel that opened up into a small, but beautifully decorated dining hall.
An inviting buffet of snacks and treats was arranged on one of the tables and a coffee/beverage bar was along one wall.
We had arrived early, about 11 am, so we didn’t have much hope that we could check into our room. We were hoping they would hold our luggage for us, though, so we wouldn’t have to haul it around Florence while sightseeing.
The woman who led us through the gate and up the elevator entered our reservation into the computer.
“Your room is not ready, yet, but we have another room that is ready if you would like to check in now. You may take a look at it and see if it’s okay.”
This was great news. We could get settled and figure out a game plan before we set out into the city. She showed us through some beautiful double-doors into a sitting room decked in blue and white striped wallpaper. It contained a sofa, a painted wardrobe, a vanity, and a coffee bar.
Through a pair of glass doors to the right, there was a gorgeous bathroom that was anything but basic.
Off the sitting room to the left was the bedroom. I was already oohing and aahing and giddy that this space was going to be ours for one night and the bedroom put it over the top…
The painted ceiling! The bed crown! The chandelier! The French desk in the corner! The drapes!
Everything was beyond amazing. I started laughing out of utter delight, like a child being pushed on a swing.
The host, who had been following us as we toured the space, asked tentatively, “So, is this room okay?”
That didn’t even seem like a real question. It’s like when someone asks you at the Target checkout if you found everything you needed.
“Yes, it’s more than okay.”
My mom, who was also touring the space, didn’t even realize at first that the sitting room and the bathroom were all a part of our suite.
We were over the moon. One of the best parts is that this room ended up being even cheaper than the cramped, sketchy hotel room we had originally booked.
The host handed me the room key – an old skeleton key on a braided cord, labeled with a brass tag.
She also brought us each a complimentary croissant and a bottle of water. We settled into the room, nibbling at our croissants, hardly believing that we would wake up to a view of a ceiling that was hand painted in the 19th century.
We were told this building was home to the Pitti Family prior to them moving into the Pitti Palace and the room that was featured in their ad was the King’s room. I looked it up to see if I could find more detailed history on the building, but I wasn’t able to locate anything.
The view out the windows was of a plaza that sloped up to the Pitti Palace. Whenever we were in the room, we would watch the people in the square. There was an old, but still functioning water fountain where people would stop to fill their water bottles. Street artists were painting scenes famous scenes of Florence and selling them from small carts. Couples would sit on the slope and hold hands…waiting, watching, having a gelato. Tourists lined up to enter the gardens. It wasn’t a lush, green view, but it was full of life.
There were also apartments in the building, so the hallways and entry felt more residential than like a commercial hotel. Mailboxes lined the wall and a parked bike waited.
I cannot say enough good things about the Piazza Pitti Palace. (Again, this is not sponsored.) It was comfortable in every way and the staff was helpful, welcoming, and gracious.
And there was a 19th-century hand painted ceiling.
Florence was beautiful and I will share more about it, but staying in this hotel was one of the highlights…