Florentine Charm in Oltrarno
A love affair with La Loggia, one of the most beautiful terraces in the cradle of the Renaissance, leads you to discover “una chicca” in the Oltrarno neighborhood, some say the coolest part of town. Oltrarno is filled with artisans who originally relocated here to work on the majestic Palazzo Pitti at the end of the 15th century. A little less touristy than the right bank of the city but as rich in history, trattorias and experiences.
This restored palazzo rests in one of Florence’s most beautiful, buzzing and hip squares, Piazza Santo Spirito. A place with over five centuries of history, and many secrets of war, it was built in 1505 and home to numerous personalities who added layers to the palazzo’s unique character throughout the years.
Palazzo Guadagni transformed from a private home to a home-for-many when the Bandini sisters started their guest-house on the upper-floor in 1912. By then La Loggia was already a popular gathering spot for influential writers and artists who poured in from the German Institute of Art history just one floor below. A few decades after hosting their first guests, legend has it that many German and Austrian intellectuals fled WWII Germany and hid at the Bandini guest-house — secretly stowed away by the Bandini sisters in the palace attics, saving many from deportation, or worse.
It was just recently in 2007, when Pensione Bandini closed, that Ferdinando and his wife Laura took on the challenge of reviving the guest-house, restoring the frescoes and re-arranging the rooms. At Palazzo Guadagni the unique rooms with a view hold the love and creativity of the family who manage the property. You will find it in the furniture relocated from their other homes, or pieces uncovered at local vintage markets; little by little they turned Palazzo Guadagni into what it is today, a family run boutique hotel.
The whole Budini Gattai family has a special bond with this place; Ferdinando is there every day greeting guests, personally and meticulously taking care of every corner. While Laura oversees every detail including flowers from her garden and the linen bed sheets — with the same care and love she puts in her own home, and that’s exactly the secret and the reason why guest will keep coming back every year some for over than 14 years.
The Loggia roof bar is impressive to say the least, with views of the Tuscan countryside and Florentine red rooftops, its terracotta color that becomes one with the sunset and with your spritz warms the city and your soul. The Loggia is one of the Florentine’s favorite spots in town and easy to understand why. Authentic and with a feel of other times just like the property rooms…hard to pick one! They all differ from each other with original antiques, furniture, and altogether offer a 360° view on the city: you can take a shower while admiring the Duomo in room 8, open your curtains on Pitti Palace in room 7, fall asleep to fresco ceilings in room 1 and brush your teeth in camera 11 looking at the neo-gothic Torrigiani tower. Pretty unique right?
Perfection is not what we look for or better, our idea of perfection lies in simplicity, in properties with a soul, of families that care for their cities as much as they care for their own home. Places with values that represent a city and have a piece of our heart waiting for us at their door.
A few segreti (secrets) from the Budini Gattai Family:
S. Forno —a hip bakery for a great snack or local produce to bring
Trattoria Cammillo — a Florentine staple
Museo San Marco — an art museum housed in the monumental section of the medieval Dominican friary dedicated to St Mark
Corridoio Vasariano — an elevated enclosed passageway that connects the Uffizi to the Boboli Garden
Cappella Brancacci —located inside the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, it represents one of the highest examples of Renaissance painting
Giardino Bardini — historic Florentine garden
Take a walk in via San Leonardo to get to Pian dei giullari