Directly across the street from the famed Boboli Gardens, the Annalena is a famous hotel named after a widowed Medici that has been in operation since 1919 and has 600-years of history. The building has been home to royalty, a convent for nuns, a brothel and gambling den, and has hosted artists, writers, and even safeguarded refugees during WWII. Today, the magnificent building gives way to simple and understated rooms and a charming and friendly staff who can regale you with things to do in the city as well as the storied history of the hotel.
Standard rooms are decked out with terracotta floors, high ceilings, antique furniture and sparsely hung art on the walls. If you have a choice, opt for a balcony or terrace room.
If you reserve directly on their site and pay in cash on arrival you will get a 5% discount on the room.
Smallish bathrooms have tiled floors and a mix of shower/tub combos or single showers. The rooms are equipped with Dolce Vita bath products.
Walking up three flights of stairs (there’s no elevator), you find yourself in a gallery space with a mix of modern art and Renaissance sculptures. When you arrive at the hotel, you’re met at a check-in desk where behind is a green sofa, large area rug, polished brick floors, and carved marble statues. Antique furnishings are strewn throughout and a divider hides a breakfast area and bar.
A small sitting area in the lobby offers up free breakfast with pastries and coffee from 7:30-10 am every morning.
There’s a bar next to the breakfast area, but it’s not exactly a bar scene. If you need a drink, just ask whoever is manning the front desk to pour you something.
Everything is walkable in Florence and the hotel is close by some major attractions, great restaurants, fun bars, and posh shopping. The location is south of the river, but it’s a short walk to the water.
Cheap, easy, and delizioso, pizza lovers can’t go wrong with Gusto (5-minute walk). A great rustic and authentic trattoria with mouthwatering pastas is at Trattoria La Casalinga (5-minute walk).
Cocktail lovers with a flair for secrecy should check out Rasputin (5-minute walk) a hidden speakeasy with signature sips. Another classic cocktail spot that services drinks with only Italian ingredients is across the river at Manifattura Tabacchi (13-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Steeped in history and dripping with authentic charm, this small hotel is a classic and conveniently located spot that will bring you back to the time of the Medici’s. Rooms are spacious with high ceilings (opt for the balcony or terrace) and the service is friendly and helpful. Though it can feel a bit dated – and there’s no elevator – the 600-year history will help make any shortcomings an oversight.