Getting into Florence fairly late at night I decided to book a hotel within walking distance of the rail station. In the past we have stayed near the Uffizi Museum or the Duomo. To save money and avoid crowds we have even opted to stay outside of Old Florence before so a new area is always fun to experience. Will the Hotel Sempione meet our expectations? Will this be a good property to recommend near the rail station?
Checking online to see what was available for our dates there were only a few hotels that had space to book a room. One was in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, I’ve stayed at the Hotel Roma before and loving the location, thought this little hotel may work out. After a little more research we decided that would have been disastrous. There was one room left at the Hotel Sempione a couple blocks away on Via Nazionale. The photo’s looked good and reviews were decent so we plopped our credit card down and booked the room. To be honest I didn’t even notice what kind of room other than it had a large bed and private bathroom.
When the hotel said they were just a few minutes walk from the rail station they weren’t kidding. Once we crossed the street and turned down Via Nazionale we were there in about 2 minutes. It was a little crowded but easy to find.
Walking through the front door the reception was just to the right and a small bar with a few bar chairs with guests to the right. Straight ahead was a small comfortable waiting room with couches and chairs and a table with two computers that included free use.
Arriving into the Hotel Sempione
The man who checked us gave us one of the friendliest receptions we’ve experienced in Italy. Jovial, helpful and just plain fun. After a few laughs we got our key and he took us up to our room. Along the way he showed us where breakfast would be served in the morning.
Opening the door to our room was a short terra cotta hallway with the bathroom halfway down. The blue and white tiled floors were shiny and clean with a toilet and bidet for a traditional european feel. The shower wasn’t large but it was fine for us. Around the corner was the large bed and just behind it was the best part of all, a private patio! That sealed the deal, we were in love with our room.
The bed itself was not your typical hard uncomfortable hotel mattress it was fairly soft. A small television sat on top of the desk a few feet away. There was plenty of room to move around the bed area but I can’t say the same for the bathroom. Although I loved the look of the bathroom it was hard to close the door as the sink was in the way. It wasn’t a big deal to me personally but other guests should be aware of that before booking a room. Other than that the room was perfect.
We are early risers so we were the first inside to take advantage of free breakfast. The first room was where you chose you food, the second where you eat. There was a nice view of a courtyard down below if you can get the table next to the window. Choices were good with pastries, yogurt, fruits, cheeses, some breakfast meats, juices and coffee.
Fun sights close by
Perfection was also the location of the Hotel Sempione. You already know its close to the rail station, but also Santa Maria Novella Church is only a couple minutes away. It has the traditional Florence exterior of green and white marble and high arched ceiling. The garden there is nice too.
Nearby is the Academia where you can see first hand a few finished and unfinished pieces by Michelangelo. Then get ready to be wow’ed by the statue of David, which I feel is the most impressive sculpture by the artist.
Also nearby is a busy covered market that’s perfect to pick up your snacks and even breakfast or lunch. Small stalls are filled with fruits and vegetables, local meats, vibrant flowers and local wines and brews. There is also a shop that has many varieties of Limoncello a lemony Italian liqueur that is a perfect after dinner delight.
There are restaurants that line the Via Nazionale but many other good ones on the way to the Florence Duomo about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
When asked by a friend recently if I would stay at this hotel again and did it meet our expectations and would we consider staying there again? My answer came quickly, yes, in a heartbeat!
One more quick note, when booking check to see if the balcony room is available it is worth the few extra Euro’s to make your stay more memorable.