Our first view of Florence was in a downpour. Although we brought umbrellas, the wind made them almost worthless and the water in the streets was over our shoes. I chose our hotel, Mia Cara, because it was reasonably priced, well reviewed, provided breakfast, and was located near the historic center and Santa Maria Novella train station where the bus from the airport delivered us. We couldn’t find our small, poorly marked hotel on Via Faenza, however, because the rain destroyed our map and the numbering system in Florence is extremely confusing. Residences are numbered in black or blue and businesses are numbered in red followed by an r. Not all buildings have numbers displayed and the numbers don’t necessarily run consecutively so 90r, the address we sought, was among residences with blue numbers in the teens. After passing the hotel several times, we finally spotted the small sign on the door and entered, feeling bedraggled and tired after a transatlantic journey totaling 22 hours.
Our lightweight rolling backpacks have one fault that came to light when we opened them. They are not waterproof. Everything was soaked so our first job was to drape everything around the room to dry. Although we pack light, we had more items than hangers and soon every surface was covered with pants, shirts, socks, and underwear.
Our room was comfortable and clean, typical of a 3 star Italian hotel, with a window on the street side. At 90 euro ($125) per night including a scrumptious, ample breakfast, I think I may have found the best deal in Florence.
Although we didn’t use the outdoor courtyard because we were on the go all day and it was chilly outdoors by the time we returned in the evening, it looked like a charming space.
The hotel’s sister property next door is a hostel and each morning, they provided a free walking tour of Florence. There were two different tours on alternate days and we enjoyed both.
These tours oriented us to the city and provided us with plenty of historical detail. Here our guide is telling us about the small wine door through which wealthy families sold wine they produced in the countryside without allowing the buyer into their home.
Next: Our favorite affordable restaurants in Florence