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CHRISTMAS IN FLORENCE: THINGS TO DO AND SEE!

Christmas Market Santa Croce

Christmas Market Santa Croce

The Christmas atmosphere in Florence, as probably in most Italian cities, began to spread in early December. Starting from the beginning of the month, the municipality begins to mount the streets traditional lighting and shops fit out their windows, more or less creative, to the theme of Christmas.

CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND SHOPPING

In Florence and its surroundings, in the weeks before Christmas, the Christmas markets are set up, more or less typical, where you can find small gifts of various kinds, from exclusive crafts to wine, or typical food. The largest Christmas market is in Piazza Santa Croce and is open from December 2nd to 20th. It is inspired by the traditional German markets, with traditional wooden houses. It offers different types of products: from crafts to food, home furnishings and beautiful decorations. There are vendors Germans and Northern Europe, as well as Italian.

All those who love shopping will find florentine shops open every day until Christmas in the historic center, but also in the outskirts. During Christmas time, florentine shops in Florence are at their best, with windows sumptuously decorated with exclusive items.

To those who come to Florence with the kids, we suggest to visit ‘The village of Santa Claus’, located in Piazza del Carmine, Oltrarno area. It is daily open and has a calendar full of activities.

From December 18th to 20th will be held at Palazzo Corsini ‘NataleperFile’ a fundraising appointment, a social aggregation that combine the value of solidarity to the occasion for making a special gift to loved ones. Numerous exhibitors, from big brands to artisans of the area, which will donate part of their proceeds to the Association.

WINTER SPORTS IN FLORENCE

Florence Winter Park

Florence Winter Park

December and January are the coldest months of the year in Florence, for that reason are set up areas for winter sports. Parterre (near Freedom Square) for several years opens an ice rink with skate rental. Obihall, opens its doors on Tuscany Winter Park: an ice skating rink, but also suitable for a downhill snow tubing.

Since many years in Florence, the New Year is celebrated in the main squares of the old town, where there are various kind of concerts, from pop music (usually in Piazza Stazione) classical music (Piazza della Signoria), Gospel (Piazza Santissima Annunziata), dance music and dJ sets (Largo Annigoni).

EPIPHANY

La Cavalcata dei Magi

La Cavalcata dei Magi

The day of the Epiphany, Jan. 6, the Catholic Church celebrates the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem and the delivery of their gifts to the Christ Child and is officially the last day of the Christmas holidays (coincides with the end of school holidays) .

Every year on January 6th, Florence commemorates the journey of the Magi and the delivery of the gifts in the “Cavalcata dei Magi”, which takes place in the historical center of the city. The commemoration, in costume, involves numerous people from across Italy and is a traditional event that’s definitely worth attending if you are in town.

Benozzo Gozzoli

Benozzo Gozzoli

In the traditional theme Christmas, we recommend a visit to the Chapel of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli, at Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It is a small and precious frescoed chapel that traces its history of the Three Kings. It is open all year round, but in this time of the year is a wonderful occasion to see it!

Tuscan Feeling suggests you the following Apartments for Christmas:

Apt. COSTA CRUZ – 50 m2 – 4th floor (without elevator) – for 2 persons

Apt. Costa Cruz

Apt. Costa Cruz

Apt. OBLATE – 40 m2 – 1st floor (with elevator) – for 2 persons

Apt. Oblate

Apt. Oblate

A ROOM WITH A VIEW. TRAVELING IN TUSCANY THROUGH FILMS

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

Everybody knows Florence, from the magic film A Room with a View. It was 1985, when the director James Ivory chose Florence as unforgettable location for setting one of his most famous movie. The screenplay was taken from the Edward Morgan Foster’s book starring a couple of young actors as Helena Bonam Carter and Julian Sands. It was a worldwide success, which made clear that Tuscany was the ideal setting for films.

Many international directors have chosen Tuscany to shoot their films and each one was really impressed from the ancient beauty of Tuscany’s lands and the architectural charm of its picturesque towns.

Florence is top of the list, of course. In the Duomo Square, for example, in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore it was instead set one of the most evocative scenes of the film Portrait of a Lady by Jane Campion (from the book by Henry James), when John Malcovich seduces Nicole Kidman.

In Florence was also shot Hannibal in 2001, directed by Ridley Scott, which belongs to the saga of The Silence of the Lambs, from the novels of Thomas Harris, starring Anthony Hopkins in the disturbing role of the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. In 1996, at the Galleria degli Uffizi they were shot many scenes of the famous The Stendhal Syndrome of the horror master Dario Argento, starring his beautiful daughter Asia Argento. Some scenes of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou were shot in 2004 in Florence too.

One of the most distinctive and important movie, filmed in and around Florence, was Much Ado About Nothing, based on the notorious William Shakespeare’s play. Filmed in 1993 directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh joined by Emma Thompson, Michael Keaton, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Robert Sean Leonard, Imelda Staunton, Richard Briers and a very young Kate Beckinsale.

Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing

Roberto Benigni, one of Tuscany’s most famous actors and directors (winner of three Academy Awards in 1997), chose to set the film Life is beautiful in Arezzo, where the Piazza Grande, where the Cathedral Square and the nearby characterize the film’s plot.

Pienza, near Siena, was the location of one of the most honored movie in the film’s history: The English Patient by Anthony Minghella, who was the winner of nine Academy Awards and a couple of Golden Globe. We all remember the screenplay: an historical fresco of World War II and a poignant love story between a soldier (Ralph Fiennes) and a beautiful nurse (Juliette Binoche).

The charm Siena’s hills was also the set of Stealing Beauty, of the famous Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci. The movie was filmed at the Castle of Brolio, in Giaiole in Chianti near Florence, and at Villa Geggiano. The film is based on the story of a nineteen year old American girl (a beautiful Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven). The girl met his first love, finds her family affections and embarks on an initiation journey to the adult age. Always staying in Siena, it is impossible not to mention Quantum of Solace (2008) by Marc Forster. It is the twenty-second installment of the legendary James Bond series. The famous British MI6 spy was played by Daniel Craig.

Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace

Who loves the cinema’s masters will identify the magical scenery of San Galgano’s Abbey in the Sienese hills, with the wonderful Andrej Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia, shot in 1983. The famous Russian director lived for many years in Florence. He had an apartment in S. Niccolò street, right near of many Tuscan Feeling’s apartments.

Nostalghia

Nostalghia

Younger people and those who love vampire’s charm, they can not forget that Volterra and Montepulciano, were the set for New Moon, taken from the famous Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Visiting Tuscany is like living in a movie! If you want to live in a real movie, we suggest you to choice one of Tuscan Feeling‘ beloved apartments or villas to rent:

Apt. TORRE GALLO – 300sqm – Ground Floor, 1 and 2 Floor – for 6 people (in Florence)

Torre Gallo

Torre Gallo

VILLA LA CIVETTA – 350+80sqm – Ground and 1 floor – for 12 persons (near Siena)

Villa La Civetta

Villa La Civetta

VILLA BELSOLE – 600sqm – for 18 persons (near Certaldo)

Villa Belsole

Villa Belsole

Wine & Oil in Florence…

Wine in Florence

Wine in Florence

Ok, I’m in Tuscany! Where can I go to buy directly from a manufacturer of oil and wine of excellent quality? The answer is: almost anywhere!
This is a question that many of you will be made, who spent a short holiday in the Tuscan countryside.
And if you’re in Florence? You know where to find a good wine and a good olive oil?
It’s easy, in the Tuscan countryside, find oil and wine directly from the producers, or on am ‘agriturismo’ or in the local markets. In Florence – as in all the towns – it is more complicated, but not impossible!

A typical fiasco...

A typical fiasco…

If you are in Piazza del Duomo you have few time and want to play it safe, there is only one place to go: Pegna (Via dello Studio 26/r). Here you can find a wide selection of fine Tuscan wines, quality olive oil and delicacies. It is an historic mini market in the heart of the city. Fine wines and quality spirits, as well as chocolate and biscuits, can be bought at Enoteca Alessi. (Via delle Oche 27/r), 5 minutes walk from the House of Dante’s Museum.

Another great wine retailer is Zanobini (Via Sant’Antonino, 47), where you live the typical atmosphere of the past. The store is active since 1944. Zanobini is one of the historical shops of Florence. It is located in San Lorenzo’s area (near the Basilica of San Lorenzo and the famous Medici Chapels). Procacci (Via Tornabuoni, 64r) is another good place too. Here you can take a break from shopping, enjoy a glass of wine and decide whether to buy black or white truffles or other delicacies to take away.

Tuscan Olive Oil

Tuscan Olive Oil

If you are looking for oil, you should visit the Bottega dell’Olio, which has a wide selection of extra virgin Tuscan olive oil and flavored with spices (Piazza del Limbo 2/r, behind Via de ‘Tornabuoni).
A good place to buy olive oil in the center of Florence is the Mercato Centrale. These days, the famous Fattoria di Maiano has decided to start a collaboration and make known its own oil to market goers. It is organic olive oil, produced in the hills near Fiesole, beloved by florentines.

Those looking for olive oil and organic wine should visit the small markets that are set up during the weekend in the streets of Florence. It’s numerous exhibitors – all strictly organic and verified – who joined in a sort of association called The Fierucola. The calendar can be downloaded from their website.

If you are looking for an apartment in Florence. Tuscan Feeling (http://www.tuscanfeeling.com/) Real Estate, specialist in short & long term rentals, suggests:

Apt. CUPOLONE – 28sqm – 2 floor (without elevator) – for 2 persons

Apt. Cupolone in Piazza Duomo.

Apt. Cupolone in Piazza Duomo.

Apt. SAN LORENZO TURCHI – 150 m2 – 3rd floor (without elevator) – for 8 persons

Apt. San Lorenzo Turchi in Florence

Apt. San Lorenzo Turchi in Florence

Apt. LOUISE - 110 m2 – 1+ 2 piano floor (without elevator) – for 4 persons

Apt. Louise near Santa Croce

Apt. Louise near Santa Croce

Books & Coffee…in Florence!

Book & Coffee

A cup of coffee and opened book in Florence.

Reading is relax, not a luxury.
An exciting novel, a complicated historical essay, a tour guide or an art catalog, we all know that it’s nice to sit and read, maybe drinking a coffee. When is the right time, we also appreciate the opportunity to have breakfast, do a brunch, lunch or dinner, or having an ‘aperitivo’.

In Florence, since a few years, many new book shops are open, offering the opportunity to eat, drink, read or get lost in rare editions, books curious and alternative press.

If you are in Florence to study, travel, or you has decided to become a full-fledged expat, book shops (with books in Italian, English and many other languages), are the right place to meet new people, relax yourself, follow cultural events and become part of city life.

Nothing better than having an apartment in Florence, in walking distance from one of these book shops! They could become your favourite living room or your office!

Here, you find 5 nice book shop of Florence where you can read a book, have a drink or eating.

Caffetteria delle Oblate

Via dell’Oriuolo, 24.

Nothing can beat the Caffeteria of the Oblate! It is on the second floor of the Library of the Oblate. From its large windows and from the gazebo, it offers a splendid view of the dome and the Cathedral. The café is a cultural meeting point in the city. In the library they are held presentations of books, concerts, cocktails and tematic dinners. You can meet everyone here, sooner or later! The prices are great and the atmosphere is very relaxing, especially during spring.

Black Spring Bookshop
via Camaldoli,10

Black Spring Bookshop is in Oltrarno. Between a slice of cake and a coffee, in an environment that looks like a living room, you can find books and magazines that do not arrive in the traditional distribution channels. It is a truly rare find, where to buy rare editions, alternative press and curious books. The decor of Black Spring is really charming and cozy. Here you can eat delicious cakes, fine tea and many other treats. The monthly program of this library provides numerous events, ranging from presentations to concerts.

Todo Modo
Via dei Fossi, 3

Inspired, by the name, to the famous Armando Sciascia’s novel, Todo Modo is located in the Borgo Ognissanti and It is a modern open space. The peculiarity of this book shop is to match books with wine tasting, with a very good cellar and a briliant sommelier. Approximately, Todo Modo has 15,000 books, new and used, as well as e-books, and a large reading room that is also a place for meetings, performances, screenings, concerts, workshops, seminars, and a bar where you can eat and drink Italian and French wines. At visitor’s disposal there are daily newspapers and magazines of all kinds.

Cuculia
Via dei Serragli, 3

It is a library with an interesting selection of culinary books, as well as two dining rooms where you can dine or simply enjoy a cake or an herbal tea. The menu is varied, with new interpretations of Tuscan cuisine, including some vegetarian dishes.

Red Feltrinelli
Piazza della Repubblica, 26

Acronym for: Read Eat Dream, Red Feltrinelli is in Piazza della Repubblica, one of the most popular tourist spots in Florence. It is a chain of books with national circulation, which offers a restaurant serving fine cuisine and Italian culinary excellence. There are numerous book presentations and a wide choice of editions. The environment can be crowdy and noisy, but certainly enjoyable. The food is excellent.

Do you need an apartment near one of these Book Shops? Tuscan Feeling suggests you the following locations:

Apt. CAMALDOLI
35 m2 – 4th floor (without elevator) – for 1 persons

Apt. Camaldoli

Apt. Camaldoli

Apt. TECNO
70 m2 – Ground Floor (without elevator) – for 2 persons

Apt. Tecno

Apt. Tecno

August in Florence? All closed for holidays? Stay calm and enjoy the city!

Tuscan Feeling

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Are you in Florence, in August, and think you have the wrong month for your vacation? You are wrong! There are many good reasons to spend the summer in the city, starting with the possibility to park easily and move around with your car with no traffic.
Florentines loves August holidays, so the city is free from the crowds and the lines for the museums are short or non-existent. Shopping malls never close, as well as downtown shops an boutiques. This year, more then 60% of food stores will remain open and all local markets will remain in operation.
To escape from the big the heat and lack of tan you can always make use of the communal swimming pools. You can choose from the swimming pool the Pavoniere, in the heart of the Cascine Park, the crowded pool Costoli (reduced price for those arriving after lunch), and the less crowded pool Bellariva.
Pavoniere are in the Cascine Park, they were fully renovated in 2012. The pool is connected to a nice restaurant and a cocktail bar, in an elegant and refined atmosphere. The place is also ideal for a nice ‘aperitivo’.
If you are looking just for tan catching, a real good place is the Arno Beach, near S. Niccolò. A nice beach, well maintained, with a cocktail bar: a true guarantee place for relaxing after a sunny day in Florence.
Only in August, you can visit every day, the Torre di Arnolfo and Torre di San Niccolò, a great occasion to admire the city from a breathtaking perspective. Tuscan Feeling has many apartments in the area, and is an opportunity not to be missed.
During the month of August, Tuscan Feeling suggest you try the experience of renting an apartment in San Frediano or near S. Croce, in the deep heart of Florence.

Apt. LA TIPOGRAFIA – 100 m2 – 1st floor (without elevator) – for 4 persons

http://www.tuscanfeeling.com/details.php?n=la+tipografia&submit=Invia&l=IN

La Tipografia

Tuscan Feeling

Apt. AUREA – 140 m2 – 2nd floor (without elevator) – for 6 persons

http://www.tuscanfeeling.com/details.php?n=aurea&submit=Invia

Aurea

Tuscan Feeling

Have you ever been in the oldest European Pharmacy? Visit the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Florence!

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The Wonderful Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Via della Scala, in Florence Italy.

Cosmetics, body care products, perfumes, soaps and creams, extracts and essences are your thing? You have to visit the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, during your stay in Florence.

The famous Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, o Antica Spezieria di Santa Maria Novella is in Via della Scala, 16 in Florence in a part of an ancient convent. It is considered the oldest historic pharmacy across Europe. It is active since almost 4 centuries, and it is one of the oldest businesses of the town of Florence.

Ancient chronicles Florentine tell us that already in 1300 the Dominicans of Santa Maria Novella started selling the famous rose water as a disinfectant, used especially during epidemics of plague. The ‘acqua di rose’ is still sold by the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, and is one of the most popular fragrances choosed by many women: simple and natural, with a gentle tone.

The monks still today cultivate medicinal plants (so-called ‘semplici’, hence the name ‘Giardino dei Semplici’) in an adjoining garden, they distille herbs and flowers, do essences, elixirs, salves and balms.

Entering the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is like jumping back in time. The frescoed walls and decorations make the place truly magic. You will walk through large rooms, strung like a maze of art and details. You will see the fascinating ‘Sala di Vendita’, the prestigious ‘Sala Verde’ and the mysterious ‘Sala della spezieria’, in addition to the beautiful ‘Sagrestia’ and the interesting Museum. The museum, develops in those rooms who were once the production workshops. A path through the machines once used for processing, glasses, ancient pottery and vessels of brass and bronze.

Are you undecided about what you want to buy, or you just want to know more about the place and objects? No problems!
All necessary information to curious customers can be found in one of the great interactive digital display, or, remaining tied to tradition, are available in many languages of the beautiful parchments containing the history of the laboratory, but also an endless list of cosmetic products.

Of course, the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella is not only a museum, but above all it is a place to buy unique products of great quality. Such as natural and hypoallergenic fragrances, ranging from colognes, essences, triple extracts. The sweetest scents such as iris, rose, gardenia, those cooler as verbena, vetiver or the particular water of Sicily are what Tuscan Feeling suggest you to try and buy.

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Santa Maria Novella essences…

The same essences are used in the soaps’ production, which are left to mature in special ventilated cabinets. You will definitely kidnapped by the packages’ refined beauty and by the exclusive potpourri’s aroma: a Tuscan hills’ blend of herbs and flowers, macerated in terracotta jars coming from the small village of Impruneta.

The ancient Pharmacy is near the Santa Maria Novella church, situated just across from the main railway station which shares its name. It is the first great basilica in Florence and the city’s main Dominican church. It was built in 1360. Leon Battista Alberti designed the upper part in 1420. In 1567 the architect Giorgio Vasari did the first remodeling of the church. Inside you will find works by Giambologna, Filippino Lippi, Filippo Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Ghirlandaio and many many others.

The area, near the Stazione Centrale di Santa Maria Novella, It is very old and is in the heart of the historical center of Florence. An area of great impact on tourism, but it has the merit of having kept its charm and retained many small shops.

In this area you can find many Tuscan Feeling‘s apartments. We could suggest you, for having an idea, a couple of different location to rent with us:

Apt. LECCIO: 45 m2 – 4th floor (without elevator) – for 2 persons

Long $ Short Term Rentals Florence

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Among the antique shops and small libraries in the area, you will find this lovely apartment with tasteful décor and functional, designed for those who want to experience Florence with all the comfort. This loft is located at 4 Floor of an ancient tower-house (62 steps) and consists of a large room comprising entrance hall, the dining area, a fully equipped kitchen corner with 4 burner stove, oven, fridge, microwave, washer-dryer and dishwasher, toaster, american coffee machine and lounge with TV. Bathroom with shower and separate small compartment with the toilet (size 1.5 mx 0.55 m): This division brings back to mind the taste back to the early twentieth century. From the living room a staircase rises to the loft where there is a double bed and walk-in closet (dressing room). The views overlooking the roof garden of a hotel with several oak trees.

Apt DADO: 40 m2 – 1st floor (without elevator) – for 2 persons

Dado Apartment in Florence

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Modern and elegant apartment, recently restored, very near from the Arno River and the Central Railway Station of Santa Maria Novella, near the old Piazza Goldoni. In ancient times, Middle Ages, the city walls of Florence ended in this place and this place was an ancient center of trade in goods from the River Arno. Today is a border area between the fashion streets with clothes shops, accessories and griffe and those of Florence’s most popular, with excellent restaurants and quaint craft shops. Among the small antique shops and bookstores in the area, it is located this lovely apartment, with elegant and functional furnishings. The apartment, recently restored and well furnished, consists of a bright living room where there is a sofa and a TV-LCD, as well as a functional kitchenette (2 burner stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and small electric oven). The room is quiet and spacious room with 1 double bed, which if necessary can be divided into 2 comfortable single beds. The property includes a bathroom with shower, where the washing machine is located, and a practical storeroom.

Take a walk in the tuscan countryside! Discover the Internationl Festival of Ceramics of Montelupo Fiorentino (June 18-21)!

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The beautiful ceramics of Montelupo Fiorentino; masterpieces painted by hand.


Are you planning to visit Tuscany’s countryside? Do you love artistic Ceramics and Majolicas? Be sure to visit Montelupo Fiorentino between June 18th and 21th!
Why?
In this small and ancient town, on the outskirts of Florence, it is held one of the most important festival of Europe about Ceramics!

You have to know that since over twenty years, Montelupo Fiorentino hosts the International Festival of Ceramics. The town has an ancient artistic tradition and craftsmanship, since local artisans made majolica artifacts for the noble Florentine families (between 1400 and 1500) and exported their products all over the Mediterranean, Holland, England, France and Morocco too. The goods reached Pisa through the Arno and were sent all over the world.

The International Ceramics Festival is a strategic valuation point of an important story, but also an opportunity to raise awareness of the simultaneous production of high quality. It is not a boring business fair, but a real tuscanian fair!
Coming to Montelupo Fiorentino during the Festival of Ceramics means immersing yourself in a particular atmosphere made of art, creativity, entertainment. You can find here local craftsmen at work in their shops and you can buy their unique works of art, you can find bands playing in the streets as well as historic conferences, tasty food stands with typical food and artistic events. The program of the Festival, as always, is full of events. To not lose them, you should read the program on the official website.

Even today there are in Montelupo about 50 small and large workshops which employ 400 people. Local artisans are distinguished by their experience and creativity, hallmarks of a high quality production. You can also have the chance to see young ceramics’ students selling their latest masterpieces. Take time to see what they do young artists, you could have the chance to do real bargains with them.
You have to know, that in Montelupo Fiorentino there’s one of the most important Ceramics school of Italy (the other one is in Faenza). It is called Scuola di Ceramica di Montelupo .

The Renaissance has left traces of itself with amazing artifacts. You can admire them in the local Museo Della Ceramica; one of the most beautiful in Italy. If you want more you have to put you in search of local treasures, like frescoes, paintings, sculptures, enclosed in churches and chapels in town or in the sourroundings. From the beautiful Tower of the old Priory of San Lorenzo (formerly of San Giovanni), overlooking the village and the valley, which is reached by climbing through the streets of the village. The church was built around 1270 on a more ancient fort. Inside the church, built in 1270, there are two frescoes of Corso del Buono, a Cimabue’s student. The Priory of St. John (a short walk from the Museum), is the main city church. Built in the early fourteenth century, it houses a large painting of the “Madonna and Child with Saints Sebastian, Lorenzo, Giovanni Evangelista and Rocco”, Botticelli’s school, painted at the end of the fifteenth century.

The hills around Montelupo are the essence of Tuscany: between vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees that draw the landscape, you can taste at the table the nice flavors of local farming.
Grilled meats, tasty meats and cheeses are the basis of the local cuisine. Simple and delicious recipes, served in ceramic plates, and season with the famous local olive oil. The wine? Nothing better than to choose among the local labels: Chianti DOCG, Bianco dell’Empolese DOC, Chianti DOCG Colli Fiorentini e Colli dell’Etruria Centrale DOC.
Tuscan Feeling suggests you a dream holiday in Montelupo Fiorentino between art, ceramics, food and unforgettable landscapes.

Take a look at Tuscan feeling’s apartments in Montelupo Fiorentino:

MELMAN – 90sqm – Ground Floor and First Floor – for 4 people

Melman

Cozy apartment near to Montelupo Fiorentino.

VILLA DESIRE – 600sqm – Ground Floor – for 6 people

VILLA DESIRE

Nice Villa few minutes from Montelupo.