Forget about A Room with a View. Try waking instead to the sight of a gloriously frescoed ceiling in one of the gorgeously appointed chambers of a 16th-century Florentine palazzo. One of the Soprarno Suites, in other words. Soprarno Suites is a new guesthouse with 10 rooms and a great deal of attitude, occupying the first and second floors of one of many lovely old buildings in Via Maggio. The setting is historic, the hospitality utterly contemporary. Interiors are fashioned lavishly using antique and vintage pieces – as they were or reworked ad hoc – and original artworks, in ample spaces with warm wood or terracotta flooring. All mod cons are present and correct. It boasts a library, and breakfast is served in a kitchen available for guests’ own use too.
So impressive are the Soprarno Suites that I wasn’t surprised to find out who’s behind the project: a charming and talented graphic designer by the name of Betty Soldi, who I met while filming in Florence last year (she has a shop in the same street). Or, at least, Betty is one of the team that saw the premises beautifully renovated and conceived the design B&B. The others are a lawyer with a passion for art (Betty’s partner Matteo Perduca), an architect and a carpenter, and together they refer to themselves as … In Via Maggio, we’re in Florence’s rive gauche again, the artisan neighbourhood south of the river. Palazzo Pitti is just around one corner, the Basilica di Santo Spirito around another. Five minutes’ stroll takes you to the Ponte Vecchio. Who needs a view of the Arno anyway?
…travellers who settled to accomodate other travellers, as a labour of love.