Florence Apartment

Dec 29th, 2015, 06:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,740
Florence Apartment

Hello dear Fodor Friends..

I am so burned out looking at Florence apartments. Any input welcome.

I've looked at VRBO, RentalinRome(RentalnFlorence), AirBNB, TripAdvisor, etc...

Many have fine apartments... if it was just vacation. My problem is that of the 10 days/nights I will be in Florence this May, five of those I will need to "work". That means I need a apartment with reliable, dedicated high-speed internet.

Alas, most apartment owners only list "wifi" or "high speed wifi", but neither of those truly tells me I'm going to get what I need. I don't know what is considered "high speed" in Italy. Surely, it could be the same as here. But when I start asking about speed, I'm wondering if I'm going to get an honest answer or something they think I want to hear. Additionally, I see apartments that are all in one building and suspect that (like my last apartment in Rome), the "internet connection" was shared by several people in the building- it was not dedicated to that one apartment.

If anyone has any ideas on how to find what I need, I would appreciate it. I am really not that picky about the actual apartment. I need something quiet (as I'll be working 4-11:30pm Italy time on those work days); one bedroom; kitchen; a/c; I like something with good light; and a lift if it is higher than the Italy 1st floor. Non-smoking is a must.

Since 3 of the other 10 days are planned day trips, if I had a choice, I'd find something within 10-15 minutes walk of SMNovella.

Anyway, that's it. Any input appreciated.

thanks! Happy New Year to everyone, but especially my old friends here on Fodors. And you know who you are!
sarge56 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 01:03 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Hi Sarge 56. You could take a look at this one.

I had originally rented it and the one next to it for 20 days around Easter. Three weeks ago the agency manager called to tell me the owner of the apartments had rented one of them out long-term, so only half my rental was available. He was as apologetic and eager to help me as I could have wanted, and I wound up with a nice, less expensive 2 bed 2 bath place-- on Pza San Lorenzo, which I expect will be noisy.

So this beautiful one bedroom in San Frediano may be free for your dates. Elevator, balcony, easy walk to the train station.

As for the wifi, I feel your pain. I've had the experience of having the wifi turned off when business hours are over... You could ask.

Good luck.
colonna is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 01:07 AM
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The effectiveness of wi-fi in Italy often depends on where the router is located and the thickness of the walls of the building, plus how many are sharing the line, as you found out in Rome. Forgetting about honesty or intent to mislead, Italians may judge the speed of their wi-fi to be adequate or even fast compared to other wi-fi they have experienced in Italy.

I think it is not a good idea to rent any apartment that has no reviews for your to read. To find what you need, you should limit yourself to considering places where you can read multiple reviews that talk about the wi-fi connection. Airbnb, booking.com and sometimes Flipkey offer that. Or you might get lucky and have somebody here give you a personal recommendation.

Also post on Slow Travel and Slow Europe (where you'll be told to look at their archives, but you still might luck out with a poster who stayed in an apartment like you are looking for).

But I would backstop any recommendation from social media by looking up more reviews. People on social media often are too enthusiastic about their one experience, or feel friendship or obligation toward a nice landlord, and just want you to stay where they stayed.
sandralist is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 03:02 AM
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I often work when we go away for the winter and have had varying experiences with wi-fi in Italy.

You might want to consider a "belt and suspenders" approach. Last time I was there I bought a TIM SIM that came with 1GB of data. When necessary I tethered my iPhone to my laptop and it worked well. (I topped up the data a couple of times - 5E each time).

Or you could purchase a wifi dongle (or Mi-FI) and take it with you to plug into your laptop (with a TIM SIM).
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 04:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,458
Italy is way behind many European countries in terms of speed although efforts are being made to catch up.

Fastweb and TIM do offer fibre connections directly to the house/apartment in many cities - Florence included. Advertised top speeds are 100Mbs. Fibre is preferable to ADSL (advertised top speeds according to contract of 20Mbs) because there are fewer users so the compression ratio is far less. Anyone who uses ADSL in Italy knows that there is a huge drop in speed after about 13.30 (when many students return home) as well as after 21.00 in the evening.

Before booking somewhere why don't you ask whether they have fibre rather than ADSL. Any serious individual will not have issue in disclosing the type of connection they have.

Regarding using a sim card, the Wind and 3 networks offer better data packages than TIM - perhaps 1GB is not sufficient for your requirements. Generally TIM offers better coverage if travelling but in a city such as Florence all offer good coverage.
nochblad is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 04:12 AM
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Elizabeth beat me to the punch. As she notes, there are several ways (and I am an expert in none of them) to bring your own wifi connection to supplement the one onsite.

Also, on site like VRBO, take a look at the reviews and see if any mention the quality of the wifi connection.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2015, 08:23 PM
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Thank you all so much for your answers. I'd already taken into account some of these ideas, but seriously never considered getting a remote connect with TIM. I'm afraid I'm a newby to that... however, I've got a bit of time to learn.

I do remember seeing one apartment that was advertised as having fiber optic connection. I suspect I may want to go back and find that one... no matter what the other objections were (price or no lift or.. ).

I so appreciate all of the responses. All food for thought!

sarge56 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 03:41 AM
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I just remembered I bookmarked this apartment that DebitNM stayed in and recommends. Perhaps she'll chime in about the internet speed.

Elizabeth_S is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 821
We rented an apt in Florence for a month, some observations:

balcony: sure it had a balcony. they kept the mops and brooms there as it overlooked center shaft, was about 5 feet by 2 feet, so no use whatsoever.

bedroom window: due to the quirkiness of these old buildings and current building configuration, our bedroom window was level with the floor of their patio which was off of their kitchen. Our early bedtime did not mesh with their late dinner cooking-very noisy.

living room wall: was next to some sort of air shaft from yet another apt and so heard those folks very clearly through the wall.

wifi; yes we had it but only when the next door neighbor was on his. I thought this was very deceptive of our homeowner.
jan47ete is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 01:02 PM
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Elizabeth- thanks for the link for Debit's apt. But it's a bit out of my budget. Open to more suggestions!

jan47ete, I'm really sorry you had that experience. It is why I tend to shy away from VRBO and go with an agency that has some "buy in" to how good or bad your experience is.

However, I've found apartments in Rome and Venice that I would go back to (and, indeed, I'm renting the same apartment in Rome I did two years ago), but I've never stayed in Florence long enough to do an apartment vs. hotel. (As it is, it will be very difficult to give up this trip the hotel I so love there. But 10 days is way too long in a hotel for me.)

I hope you reviewed that apartment you stayed in so that others are warned off it. If it was through an agency, I hope you also complained to them.

Finally, I hope you will not let this one bad experience dissuade you from booking other apartments!

Happy New Year!
sarge56 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 01:27 PM
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PS first reply from apt owner: "I've checked with Vodafone and I have "wifi last generation with max velocity".

see? hahahah
sarge56 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 04:58 AM
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'See' what? His apartment has the latest gear available from Vodaphone. If that's not fast enough for you, bring something from outside Italy or try to find an apartment with fiber optics.

No one is going to give you a time estimate of how long it will take you to access your e-mail, send pictures, use booking websites or download movies inside their apartment 24/7.

Have you looked at reviews of this apartment?
sandralist is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 05:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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PS: DId you ask him in Italian?
sandralist is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2016, 12:26 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,740

My point was that when I requested information on "guaranteed speed" (a very common selling point here in the US), I received a reply that in no way indicates the speed. It is all "latin" to me, because neither "last generation" nor "max velocity" indicate the connection speed.

Here in the US, "Max" speed guarantee is based on the plan type. And each provider's is different. So they spell out.. guaranteed 30mbps or 50mbps, etc. on plan type. "Max Velocity" here could mean anything from 20 to 100 mbps.

(And, incidentally, one Italian apartment owner DID reply with the rate of speed for both sending and receiving, per my request.)

I hope that clears things up.
sarge56 is offline  
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