The Ital­ian city of love

En­joy a lock-up-and-leave flat in breath­tak­ing Florence. You’ll have no trou­ble let­ting it, says Cathy Hawker

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Home & Property | Homes Abroad -

FLORENCE is a city of five-star beauty. There’s in­tense Ital­ian style in its nar­row streets and aus­tere stone build­ings, from the aro­matic 600-year-old Far­ma­ceu­tica di Santa Maria Novella per­fumery to the food shops piled high with Parme­san cheese and olive oil, to the per­fect dis­plays of Re­nais­sance art and ar­chi­tec­ture.

Vis­i­tors come not only to see the work of Michelan­gelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi and Bot­ti­celli, but also to in­dulge their own creative pas­sions, says Amy Red­fern of Knight Frank. “Florence is a great place to do a paint­ing, cook­ery or writ­ing course, learn a lan­guage or study a craft,” she says. “The world-fa­mous Floren­tine School of Leather has leather mak­ing, lan­guage and cul­ture cour­ses in its an­cient court­yard be­hind the Basil­ica di Santa Croce for six months or a year.

“It’s a walk­a­ble city with scores of restau­rants and you can live there at a rel­a­tively low cost. It has its own in­ter­na­tional air­port, easy ac­cess to Tus­can coun­try­side, ski­ing within two hours, or the fab­u­lous Lig­urian coast within 90 min­utes.”

Florence also of­fers a long and re­li­able rental sea­son. “The mar­ket for lock-and-leave to fourbed­room apart­ments in the cen­tre of Florence is fairly strong, a re­flec­tion per­haps of the pop­u­lar­ity of Airbnb-style rentals,” adds Red­fern. “Own­ers can use their apart­ments for a month them­selves and still get a good rental re­turn.”

WHERE TO BUY

Brunelleschi, the ar­chi­tect of the Duomo, has been di­vided into 18 apart­ments. A one-bed­room home here of 645sq ft is for sale priced £490,000 and a two-bed­room loft on the fourth floor, with lift, is £2 mil­lion, both through Knight Frank.

“Find­ing homes fin­ished to the best in­ter­na­tional stan­dard is not al­ways easy and they tend to sell quickly when they come to the mar­ket,” says Knight Frank’s Amy Red­fern. “In gen­eral Bri­tish buy­ers do not want the has­sle of do­ing ren­o­va­tions them­selves — although our Tus­cany team do help with many mainly larger vil­las on the out­skirts of Florence.”

Knight Frank: knight­frank.com Gate-away: gate-away.com Casa Travella: casatravella.com

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