Sunday, January 18, 2015

Florence: a quiet convent instead of a hotel

A massive stone building with a gated entry on a quiet street
I have written about Monasterystays    http://www.monasterystays.com/ being my booking source for convents throughout Italy. 
On my last trip I stayed for the first time at Instituto Santa Elizabetta TOF 117 ref number with Monasterystays.com

This residential area is farther out than I usually stay but I found later in the week that there were short cuts via the central part of the city, that could shorten the trip.  And there is bus service but pay attention to the schedule, some of the buses do not run later in the evening.

I was greeted by one of the sisters and shown to my room on the second floor.   I love old palaces and was very curious how this very large building was used.   The main floor had a chapel, a reading room with a computer for guests use*, a TV room (I only found Italian TV stations in my room), the dining room had table set for 4 or more and you were assigned to the same table each day for breakfast.  

Only on one day just as I was finishing, another guest sat down.   It takes me a week or more when I go home to Italy to speak on the level of a 3 year old so beyond good morning, we were both at a loss.

I am not sure there were any other Americans at the convent although I met a older woman who was touring with her granddaughter.  The both spoke several languages and I would have enjoyed a chat with this perhaps 80+ traveler who walked both ways to town (about 1+ mile each way) and organized each day based on a theme of what they would see:  Paintings, sculpture or particular churches.    This made my plan of walking a section of the city and discovering what I could, to be a very thin way to be a tourist, but then I am a traveler.

One of 3 sisters I saw during my stay.
 I believe they did most of the work but I hope they have some help with the daily cleaning.


Two of the sisters spoke perhaps German as a native language.   I had to laugh because the first 'English' phrase was I don't speak English.   I promised on my next visit we would learn some English together.
Spacious room compared to the 3star hotels I stay in and it had a view!

Full Private Bath

 
The garden view from my window


Extras:
For a modest fee one of the sisters will load your wash and you can use the outdoor lines to dry your clothing.   If you are on a long trip you will appreciate a location where you can wash/dry heavier items.

The computer for guests has an Italian keyboard.   There were no instructions on how to 'turn on' the power.   Note:   you have to turn the power on at the 'tower'.      To conserve electricity, lights are turned off as you leave a room,  a good idea.


There is a closing time each night.   One of the sisters waits for the guests to return.   I had a business meeting during my stay and asked if arrangements could be made for me if I was later than 'curfew', they were very kind to accommodate me.


I try to stay in different convents during my months Home to Italy each year.  This allows me to have an alternative for my next stay if a property is full.

Why I would return to this property:

Clean, Clean, Clean as are all the properties I have stayed in with Monasterystays.com in the past 7 or 8 years.
Quiet, well appointed room with lots of space.
And I must mention the consistent smiling Sister Elisa........who was kind to speak with me in my substandard Italian while I did laundry!

* the sisters did not charge me to print out a reservation on their printer but the DID APPRECIATE the euro I contributed since they still use color ink and I know it is expensive in Italy.

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