In a very ‘Florentine’ neighbourhood about 10 minutes' walk north of the central market and the Duomo, Via San Gallo is a bustling street where private town-houses alternate with small shops, cafés and restaurants; it's livened up by students from the nearby university. A great location if you want to stay away from the worst of the tourist hoards.
The bedrooms all have four-poster beds (even the cosy single) and are done out in a riot of strong colours with bright Indian cotton bedspreads, kilim rugs, swaths of raw Thai silk and bright art on the walls. They are all charming but 6 is the largest while 4 and 5 have a small sitting area on an upper level. All have tea and coffee making facilities (unusual for Italy), flatscreen TVs, DVDs and digital radios; not bad for the price.
There’s a breakfast room and really welcoming sitting area at the top of the house equipped with comfortable sofas, books and magazines and a Nespresso machine. From here, steps lead up to a fabulous little roof terrace from where you get 360° views of the city.
Eating and drinking
Breakfast includes fresh pastries and cakes and fresh fruit. There’s an honesty bar and Nespresso machine in the sitting room and Johlea guests are offered a special rate at Da Tito, a local traditional restaurant.
The management prides itself on going the extra mile for its guests and all the staff that I’ve met at the various b&bs have been super-friendly and helpful with restaurant and shopping suggestions and so on. The room price includes WiFi, use of a laptop, DVD hire and baby cots.
Who stays there
The Johlea and the other b&bs in the group have a very loyal fanbase of guests from all over who have been coming here since the first opening in 1994. There’s a real mix of nationalities and age groups, business and leisure.
There's a difference of only €30 between low and high season rates here, but whatever the time of year, you're getting lots of thoughtful extras for your bucks: tea and coffee in the rooms, CD/DVD players, free WiFi and a good breakfast. An extra bed costs just 15-25 euros.
- Mature travellers
- Seasoned travellers
- Escaping the crowds
Pros & Cons
- Roof terrace
- Exceptional services for the price
- 10-minute walk from city centre