Casa Rovai Guest House
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Historical Traveler Reviews Casa Rovai Guest House Florence
Cool little guest house
Casa Rovai is a special place to stay in Florence. It is a six-room guest house in a great location, and the owners are wonderful. My sister and I stayed there for two nights, and I would highly recommend this place if you're visiting Florence.
I looked after the booking with Arianna via e-mail, and she was very helpful. I had never stayed at a guest house before, so I was a bit worried about the fact that they wanted us to call ahead to let them know what time we'd be checking in. However, once we arrived, I realized it is because someone needed to be there to welcome us and look after our check in. Once we had our keys, everything was fine. Also, the owners live in the building and could be easily reached in an emergency.
Anna, one of the owners, was exceptionally helpful. She and her husband both speak perfect English, as does Arianna, so there were no communication problems. Anna spent a lot of time with us recommending restaurants around Florence. We managed to go to one of them, Caffe Italiano, which was excellent. She also mentioned a little place around the corner called Caffe Daria, where I ate lunch three days in a row and quickly grew to love. There is a lovely woman there named Sherie, who quite rightly insisted I come back for the lasagna, and who was a pleasure to chat with each day.
Staying at a guest house is different from staying at a large hotel, and guests should be prepared for that before they come to Casa Rovai. For example, you can't show up at midnight and expect there to be someone on the desk, or call reception every time you need something. In fact, after we checked in, we never saw the owners again. Arianna was at the desk during the day, but if you wanted more towels in the middle of the night you'd have a problem. The trade off is that you almost feel like you are staying in someone's home, and there is more charm and authenticity to the place than you'd ever find in a large hotel. At the same time, the rooms and premises were spotlessly clean, and there is breakfast available every morning. You can completely keep to yourself if you want, unlike at some B&Bs where you might feel like you have to make small talk with the owners or the other guests. There is no minibar, but there is a cold water cooler in the entranceway that was much appreciated after walking all over Florence in the heat. Also, there are two computers with free Internet access available to the guests, and since there are only six rooms one is always available. This is very convenient.
The only caveat I would make about Casa Rovai is that the rooms are not very sound proof. I would imagine that this usually isn't a problem, because it was pretty quiet most of the time, and the other guests seemed to respect this. I also think it was more of an issue for my room (the Lira) than for some of the others, because of how it was situated. My first night I had a couple next to me whose entire conversation I could hear well past midnight, and who then rudely shushed me through the wall the second night because I was talking on the phone at eleven. On the other side I had a couple with a young child and an infant who, despite being well behaved, still made a lot of young child and infant noises. As an uptight WASPy North American, I couldn't help but think that the place wasn't really suitable for young children, but that's just me. In the end, none of these things disturbed my stay enough for me to change my mind that it was a really cool place to stay.
Helpful staff, but noisy rooms
If you are going to the Casa Rovai, I recommend a short stay. The location is excellent for sight-seeing, the staff are beyond reproach and are more than happy to help you plan your visit to the city. The rooms are clean and well equipped and the guest house is nicely decorated. However (you knew there was a 'however'), my main memory of our stay at the Casa Rovai was the amount of noise that leaked in and out of the room. Some of the rooms are directly connected to the reception area, so you get to hear absolutely everything that happens there, and our room was connected to another room with a thin door between us. I not only had to put up with the sounds of my husband snoring, but another person's husband's snoring! There was also the constant fluttering of pigeons outside the room - obviously this is not Casa Rovai's fault, but it was still very annoying. My advice: bring ear-plugs.
My boyfriend and I stayed 4 nights in Casa Rovai and had the best time! the room and the entire place was spotless.. it was so clean and organized and it made us feel right at home.
Arianna, who works at the reception was charming and helped us with everything we needed in the most gracious and kind way.
this place has style and a homey feeling to it..
plus, it has a very good location and it's quite..
we strongly recommend it! :)
Would have liked if it had felt more personal
Casa Rovai has a beautiful website. Based on that site and very prompt and helpful email during the reservation process, our expectations were set higher than the B&B lived up to during our 3 night stay in May 07.
Florence is beautiful and relatively small but heavily touristed--and in our opinion is harder to feel a more "residential" experience than other major Italian cities. B&Bs are often a way to break through that barrier, and unfortunately for us, Casa Rovai didn't help us achieve that experience as well as other places at which we stayed during our 2.5 week Italian holiday. While we found Arianna, the person who manages the six bedroom flat, friendly, she was not always available, including the days we arrived and departed. (Though she had emailed us while we were in Rome to tell us she would not be there when we arrived.)
The flat does have a certain charm, but it was hard to see it upon our arrival. The building stairwell was eclipsed in darkness and was very smelly. We were greeted by Anna the housekeeper who showed us to our room, the "La Passione" room that was in a bit of disrepair: the door is cracked, it smelled of smoke from the previous residents, the TV and room safe didn't function, nor did the wardrobe securely close, the toilet seat was wobbly, and the throw rugs are slippery (so exercise caution). However the room aired out and was generally quaint with its antique frescoed ceiling, good natural light filtered through lace-adorned windows, reasonably comfortable bed, adequate bathroom, and modestly erotic Kama Sutra prints on the wall. (All of the rooms are named and I guess this is our room's namesake *wink wink*.)
The walk from S.M.N station took us a while, but if you know the way you can easily arrive to Casa Rovai in 20 minutes. The flat is situated not far from the Verdi Theatre, Santa Croce church, and the Michaelangelo Buonarotti house--though being in the center of Florence is not far from any of the major sites.
Our first morning we were greeted with a breakfast of substance that didn't live up to the image we perceive Casa Rovai sells. Instead of the "breakfast which is various, abundant and all prepared with organic ingredients" it was quite average with few choices. While the daily torte or cake was a nice touch, the general fresh fruit, cereal, bread and juice were all very ordinary--and the coffee and tea was worse. Arianna cheerfully confirmed our museum reservations and gave us many suggestions for where to eat and shop. Many of the helpful suggestions, however, seemed more drawn from general tourist suggestions than her personal experience--and rarely felt like suggestions tailored for us. This was not the experience we had in other B&Bs, and underscored our general impression of Casa Rovai, and indeed much of the core of Florence: Florentines are friendly and likeable but are jaded to tourism more so than other major Italian destinations.
One recommended eatery (Cantina Barbagianni) that we tried, however, had delicious, very well prepared, elegant and seasonal food choices, though we skipped the spartan "Casa Rovai" fixed price menu and ordered per the recommendations of the helpful owner and wait staff. Casa Rovai's two, conveniently-located PCs, however, helped us to search out other interesting places to eat, and stay in touch with friends. The cold, fizzy water dispenser is a nice, refreshing touch. Would be better to have a easy-to-use common area telephone for local calls. No blow dryers and 3-pin Italian converters in room, but were available on request. The rooms all appear to be sheltered from street noise. The breakfast (and PC) room is a little dim and impersonal but there is a very small outdoor area in which to enjoy breakfast if one chooses.
All in all we found Casa Rovai adequately run, fairly well priced, safe (if you don't need a safe) and close to sites, if more impersonal, somewhat smelly, and much less endearing than other B&Bs at which we stayed (and with whom we are comparing this B&B). On our day of checkout Arianna had promised breakfast would be ready before we had to catch our morning train. But on that day she was out of town and Anna had nothing ready yet. We weren't too surprised because it doesn't seem to be the business plan of Rovai to give that extra touch of personal service. Rovai is not a terrible choice for a place to stay by any means, and we would have been less bothered with the little faults if only our experience had felt more personal like other places. Our advice is to ignore their website's nice image and seek out a different B&B if you can. (We'd give it a rating of 2.5 out of 5.)
Une maison d'hôte
Hotel très sympathique et convivial; je voulais que ma fille de 15 ans ait un souvenir plein de charme loin de ses copines.
Cette maison d'hôte nous a permis de passer un séjour très agréable;
J'ai pu organiser mon voyage de France grâce à eux : des réservations de musées, et aussi une balade à cheval dans la montagne aux alentours.
Et de retour à la casa, le repos et le calme assuré tout en restant au contact des amis par Internet.
Voilà un endroit plein de charme que je recommande, au centre de la ville.
Great Buy in the heart of Florence
We stayed in Casa Rovai Guest House over Easter week-end. It is a beautifully renovated apartment on a side street in the historic center, about a 5 minute walk from the Duomo. The ceilings of the rooms are decorated in original frescoes, painted in the 16th century. The beds are comfortable and well appointed. Arianna, who welcomed us, is most helpful and friendly and found us parking, an excellent restaurant and directions without fail. Breakfast and coffee is available every morning as well as internet service. The rooms are immaculate. It is a guest house where you can maintain privacy if preferred or you can feel right at home. I would highly recommend this B&B.
Great stay in Florence. Close to all the sites. Warm welcome - even letting us in early straight off the night train
The Genuine Florence
My husband's and my (3) night stay at Casa Rovai was an unique and memorable experience for us. This being our first experience staying in a guest house, orginally a palace, gave us a flavor of life in the "geniune Florence". Our accommodations were both comfortable and clean. The owner and staff were pleasant and accommodating. Located in the Santa de Croce area of the city, it proved very convenient to all of the wonderful historic sites, restaurants and shopping Florence has to offer. The (2) computers with internet access made keeping in touch with our offices in the USA possible. I would recommend Casa Rovai to family and friends!
We arrived later than we thought/hoped due to unclear directions given by the hotel/guest house. This was later looked on as being very unsatisfactory. The place was not at all as it was expected it was empty almost seemed deserted, no staff present for long period. The hotel was cold and old lacked any welcoming atmosphere. Not very pleasant to spend your time here. Definitely not value for money, there are way better places to be found in Florence.
Casa Rovai was great
My wife and I and two children stayed at the Casa Rovai Guest House last weekend and we really enjoyed it. The accomodations were just as advertised and very well done (recently renovated in 2005). There are six guest rooms with a variety of configurations and the location is great -- two blocks from the Duomo and very quiet. This was our first stay at a guest house. It is not exactly like a full service hotel -- not 24 hour manned desk for instance, but they had everything we needed, breakfast was included, computer w/internet plus room access for your portable, clean, and it was very easy to come and go while feeling safe and very comfortable. I would definitely stay there again and recommend it to others.
TripAdvisor Reviews Casa Rovai Guest House Florence
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