Lea Gulmanelli and Johanan Vitta's by now well established 'mini-chain' of elegant yet reasonably priced guesthouses, including Antica Dimora Firenze, has enjoyed huge success in Florence since they opened their first place in 1994. The Antica Dimora is the newest and most up-market of the five, and is situated just north of the Duomo. The entrance to the elegant, second floor apartment is through an anonymous doorway and rather austere entrance hall, but, once inside, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Classical music plays softly in the background and a table is laid for guests to help themselves to coffee, tea or vin santo in the brightly lit breakfast/sitting room.
The six carefully furnished bedrooms are painted in pastel hues with pretty bathrooms to match. Beds have smart striped bedheads, and four-posters (of which there are several) are hung with linen or shot silk which matches the curtains. Bright oriental rugs sit on cotto floors, and botanical prints adorn the walls. Rooms at the back of the building are quieter: one has a private, flower-filled terrace. If there's no room at the Antica Dimora, you can always stay at the slightly cheaper (but no less charming) Residenza Johlea up the road, under the same management.