How to Get There
The apartment is in the San Frediano district, a block from Piazza Santo Spirito, on the south bank of the Arno. It is a short taxi ride from the Florence airport or train station.
By car, enter the city from the south at Porta Romana, bearing in mind traffic restrictions for driving in town. The nearest parking is along the city wall that you enter at Porta Romana.
By foot from the center of town, cross the Ponte Santa Trinita. Continue straight on Via Maggio. Take the first right in about 100 meters onto Via dei Michelozzi. Take the first left in about 25 meters onto Borgo Tegolaio. The apartment is on the second floor of a palazzo on the left at No. 5, with a red door.
Getting In and Out
You will have three keys, one for the entrance to the palazzo and two for the apartment door. A button for the stairway light is on the right in the entrance lobby.
When you are inside the apartment, be sure the door latch has caught. When you go out, be sure to lock completely (two turns) the normal lock, and if you are gone for any length of time, also lock the large lower lock (turn the key four times). If you go out for any length of time, you should close the doors in the study and bedroom. Break-ins are not uncommon in Florence, so be careful.
When the doorbell rings, check who it is from the window or inquire with the telephone, then push the button to the left of the door marked “Door Release.” At night, turn on the stairway light with the button marked "Stair Light" on the telephone by the door.
The Lights: There are switches in every room for the lights, some with dimmers. Some of the lamps are controlled by wall switches, other turn on manually. Use electricity carefully.
The main fuse box is by the front door. There are also fuses in the kitchen.
The Kitchen and Pantry
Stove: The housekeeper will have turned the gas lever to the left of the stove to “Aperto.” This allows gas to flow to the stove. She will turn it off after you leave. You should not have to change the setting. If for some reason the lever is on “Chiuso,” simply turn it to “Aperto” and leave it that way when you leave.
To light one of the burners, push in and turn the appropriate knob. All four electronic pilots will start clicking; the gas will light. Then hold the knob in for about 10 seconds so that the flame remains on.
To use the right-hand electric oven, turn the right-hand knob to the function you want (top heat only, bottom heat only, both top and bottom, or rotisserie). Then turn the knob that is second from the right to the desired temperature.
The large oven is gas, with an electric broiler. You can use only one at a time – either the gas or the electric broiler. To light the gas, push in and turn the knob that is fourth from the left, marked “C,” to 250 and hold it in for a few seconds. You will hear the electric pilot clicking. Check to be sure the oven has lighted, and release the knob. Leave the oven door open for 3 minutes after the gas has lit. Then close the door and select the desired temperature. To use the broiler, turn the left-hand knob to the level desired (1-12).
To use the barbecue, turn the center knob to Level 12 to pre-heat for 5-10 minutes. Then turn to the level desired.
Dishwasher: Rinse dishes and silverware lightly to remove food. Soap (Finish) comes in packets that are under the sink. Insert one in the soap container, and close the lid. Push the button marked „ . Then push the button next to “Start” on the display. The display will show how long the wash will take (usually about 2 hours). When the cycle finishes, push the button marked O to turn off. Don’t change the program from “Automatic” shown on the display.
Garbage disposal: A button on the counter to the right of the sink operates the disposal. Given the delicate plumbing in 15th century buildings, use sparingly and do NOT put large, tough pieces of food down the disposal (e.g., orange rinds, bones, melon skins, peapods, artichoke leaves, etc.
Espresso machine: Fill the tank in the rear with water. Turn on the machine with the top button. Use one level scoop of coffee per cup. The first time you use the machine, prime it by running water through the system: put the small metal jug under the spout, turn the black knob toward you, press the middle “coffee” button, and allow water to run for a few seconds into the jug. Then close the knob, and turn off the coffee button. The machine is now ready for use. To steam milk, put a little in the large jug, turn the black knob and press the bottom “steam” button, and use the spout to steam the milk. Then put one or two cups under the openings, and push the middle button for coffee to run into the cup(s). Then add the steamed milk to the coffee. To make plain coffee, omit all the steaming steps.
The Pantry: The left-hand door of the hall cabinet opens into a pantry, where additional food, paper goods and cleaning supplies are stored.
Washing Machine: To open the door of the washing machine, turn the dial to “fine” (“end” in Italian), press “I” and press the orange button “sportello.” Fill the machine (not too full) and put one of the “calfort” pellets into the barrel of the machine. Pull out the drawer for detergents and put a capful of detergent into the open well on the left (for whites use the Marsiglia bottle with the red cap; for colors use the Marsiglia “nero piu” with the black top). Close the door and choose a program on the dial. For whites use “cotone/colorati” and turn to 40° C (takes about 1 hr. 45 min.), for colors turn to 30° C (takes about 1 hr. 35 min.); if you want cold use “freddo”; if things aren’t too dirty just use “express” (takes about 30 min.) Actually, this setting works well for all but very dirty clothes. When you have chosen a program a light will flash on and off just above the “start” button. To the right of the start button are 3 buttons. Just to the right is a button to add extra water to the load (not recommended). Above that button is another button that you can press until the “breve” sign is lit, which will shorten the program a little which is good. The next button to the right controls the speed of the spin. For most washes use 1300, which lights up after one press of the button. Do NOT ever use less than 900 if you are going to put things in the dryer. Then just press start.
Dryer: To open the door press the orange “sportello” button. Make sure that the filters in the opening are clean and that the filter in the door of the dryer which lifts out is clean every time you use the machine. Turn the dial to the right to “pronto a riporre” for completely dry or to “delicati” for barely dry. The machine will beep when it is done. While you have the dryer on please leave the door to the laundry open and the fan on as the room gets too hot with no ventilation.
Heating & Hot Water
The thermostat is opposite the smaller bathroom. The temperature shown is the present ambient temperature. The system on a program (P1), and is set to achieve a daytime temperature of 20° C (68° F), and to maintain a nighttime minimum temperature of 15° (59° F). To change the settings, open the cover and turn the wheel to “Menu,” and press the “OK” button repeatedly until you see the function you want to change. If you want to change the daytime temperature, proceed to“Riscaldamento.” Then raise or lower the temperature to the desired level. If you want to change the nighttime temperature, proceed to “Riduzione,” and raise or lower the temperature. Do not change any other settings. You can also ask Kit or the housekeeper to help.
The CD player/radio is connected to speakers in the study, living room and bedroom that are controlled by a switch in each room. So the sound can be in any or all of the rooms as you choose. You need to keep the CD volume turned to about “40” at least.
We have Sky satellite service, both general and the cinema channels. Turn on the TV with the TV remote. On the black Sky remote, press “guida TV” to get the menu of options. The red and green buttons go forward and backward to show the various channels available. Navigate with the directional buttons and the “OK” key. The audio and subtitles are set for English for films where English is available. Do NOT select “prima fila” since that is Pay per View.
The DVD works in the usual way. It plays only European format disks.
To use the high-speed Internet connection, plug the ethernet cord attached to the modem into a USB port on your computer. Your computer will detect and automatically connect to the Internet. We also have a wireless network called “Merlin.” The password key is C993F307DD. If your computer has wireless capabilities, it should automatically detect the network and ask you to enter the password key. You should then be able to operate wirelessly anywhere in the apartment.
The Santo Spirito Neighborhood
The neighborhood is teeming with good, small shops. In the desk you will find a folder with information on some of them. Generally, if you turn left out of the building, and turn right at the next corner onto Via Mazzetti (which becomes via S. Agostino, then via S. Monaca, then via dell’ Orto), you will find many good shops of all kinds on that street and on via de’ Serragli. In the left-hand desk drawer with the phone books is a very useful book, Tutto Città, which contains maps, bus routes and other information.
Practical information for Florence, including maps, addresses and telephone numbers, can be found in Tutta Citta, located with the telephone books in the left-hand desk drawer.