AdAstra, Florence, Italy

Unannounced, and a little dishevelled, AdAstra serves up true Italian romance and undone theatrics mere minutes from the Boboli Gardens. Like all of the most revered grand dames, AdAstra comes a little dishevelled. On entry you'll bypass statues, busts and overgrown shrubbery before making your way to the first-floor reception. It's here that you'll really begin to get a feel of the place. From its unremarkable roadside entranceway, you might be surprised to learn that AdAstra boasts beautiful gardens, a theatrical breakfast room and sprawling plum-carpeted corridors that lead to individually designed rooms. Yet all will reveal itself in good time…


With no two rooms the same, whittling it down to your favourite chamber is a trying task. Room 14 makes a good case for itself with a split-level bathroom, plus a claw-foot bathtub in the main bedroom. Zany additions include Penguin classics blown up and framed, patterned and overlapping rugs, as well as a random door on the second level which leads to nowhere but is visible from your bed. Objects have been extracted from their original resting places and repositioned here - the selection of hotchpotch furniture ranges from the tasteful to the merely passable. Design frenzy aside, the rooms are very generously sized, the beds particularly comfy and the power shower is big enough for two.

What's for breakfast?

A buffet-style breakfast means you can snack on a continental spread of crystallised quince jelly, boiled eggs, hams and cheeses, fruits and pastries anytime up to 10.30am. Coffees are made to order while everything else is self-serve. Pack those plates high and enjoy your breakfast out on the terrace (weather permitting).

How about lunch and dinner?

AdAstra operates as a B&B so there are no afternoon- or evening-dining options at the hotel. Nearby trattorias worth a try include Trattoria Cammillo and Coco Lezzane. For those with a fast metabolism, or simply partial to a mid-day/ late-night snack, it's worth noting that post breakfast the lounge area stockpiles a selection of freshly baked cakes and pastries, hot beverages and other nibbles, all of which are complimentary and available throughout the day in the main lounge.


With no gym, you'll need to consider the city's labyrinthine your cardio.

Things you should know

The reception is open from 8am to 8pm. If you are arriving into Florence outside of these hours you'll need to let the hotel staff know in advance so someone will be there to greet you. Create a cushion of time for yourself, as the taxi queue at Firenze airport is notoriously slow moving.

Within a short walk you'll find

Go for a double cultural dip at Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens, both of which are a 10-minute stroll from AdAstra. Aside from weekends, there's no real need to book tickets in advance, just turn up on the day and wander through Pitti's prestigious art collection. When you've had your fill of Caravaggio and van Dyck, the gardens are a great place for reflection (and, let's face it, another gelato).

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