Sketical Analysis does another service review. I do these from time to time. This blog is not only politics, religion and cutting edge science.
The trip was drawing nigh, and it seemed sensible to make some hotel reservations. Barbara Jean got onto the computer, and within a few hours she had lined up something for each place we scheduled a stay. This is about Florence.
The first and only other time we ever stayed in Florence our accommodations were catch as catch can. We took the train in from Venice and hustled our bags to the front entrance of the station. We stood on the steps facing the street and looked across. Where to stay in Florence?
Barbara pointed across the street. “There.”
I left the bags with Barbara and went over. We needed three nights. They only had two. I came back. “How about over there?” She pointed further right. I went over. It was a pensionare. It was cheap in the strictest sense, and we were sheltered safely for three nights.
This time around, using the Internet, Barbara couldn’t find anything across the street from the station. But she did find one, a “townhouse” (?) rental, La Corte dei Principi, just a few blocks from the station and 134 Euros per night. That would do. We could walk.
Came time for our trip, and off we went. Our first stay was in Cortona, and we sometimes had Internet. Barbara read her mail. Surprise surprise!
The townhouse rental informed Barbara the room was no longer available. It was being rennovated. Bummer! But wait. They had a deal for us. They had another and (they said) a better place. Santa Rosa Townhouse, four nights, just as before, same price. Would we like to go there instead?
Yes we would. We had no choice. They had already charged our credit card. Only this was not near the station. In fact it was across the river. Barbara responded yes and also mentioned that now we would no longer be able to walk but would need to get a cab to get over there.
The manager, presumably Francesco, said no problem. Somebody would meet us at the train station and would transport us for free to the new location. That seemed acceptable. Once we had figured out which train we would be taking to Florence we sent an email to Francesco, and he responded that somebody would meet us at the head of the train platform with a sign.
Sunday morning we took a taxi down to the station in Siena to wait for our train. There was one going an hour earlier than we had scheculed, so we took that. We would use the extra hour to head over to the ticket office in Florence to book rerservations for the remaining high speed trains we needed.
Bad idea. We were not able to accomplish this in the available hour. Ticket management at these big stations is a farce. Giuseppe Verdi should have written an opera.
Came the hour, and came our advertised train, and no sign of the person holding the sign. I bade Barbara stand in place by the platform while I went searching. Immediately I spotted two Italian gentlemen standing back by the wall, one holding a sign. I spoke no Italian, but I motioned them to stay put while I fetched Barbara.
The two Italians happened to be (it seemed to us) partners in the rental business, and we were being given four days at the townhouse of one of them, Francesco. They piled our luggage into one of those tiny Italian cars, which they had left standing on the median in front of the station, and they drove us to the Santa Rosa Townhouse at 42 Via Pisana. Not much to look at on the outside.
Inside was something else. There was a spacious bedroom, an additional living area with a dining table, a small kitchen and a stunning bathroom. The dining table was pre-stocked with stuff to eat, and in the kitchen was a supply of bottled water for our use, plus packaged muffins to last us for four days.
About the only drawback was the one-flight stair climb. Since we were not going in and out all day long that was never a problem.
The first night there we found that under certain operating conditions the water heater reset itself to 23 C, about room temperature. I fixed that by cycling power on the control panel, and there was hot water for Barbara’s shower. Francesco sent somebody around to reconfigure the hot water heater, apparently accomplished by setting the water temperature to about 35 C. We did not mess with the controls and had hot water for the remainder of our stay. A water leak in the bathroom never got fixed, and we made a habit of leaving a towel on the floor to keep the leakage from spreading.
WiFi came with the rental, but it had limited range. The access point was located on a table in the living room, but when I wanted to read my email in the bathroom there was no connection. We set the computer on the kitchen table and had excellent service.
We had paid everything in advance, including 24 Euros cash for the city tax, and checkout on Sunday was just a matter of leaving the key at the top of the stairs and letting ourselves out. We trundled our carry-on bags to the station. Took about 15 minutes, leaving us an hour and a half to twiddle our thumbs waiting for our train to Venice.
Recommendation: Go with these two guys from Italy if you’re staying in Florence. You can contact Francesco at firstname.lastname@example.org.