Riva Lofts
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Riva Lofts
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Riva Lofts
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Riva Lofts
Riva Lofts
Riva Lofts
Riva Lofts
Riva Lofts
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Riva Lofts
Riva Lofts
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Riva Lofts
Riva Lofts
You know the daydream where you’re in a colorful vintage car zipping along cypress-lined Tuscan roads that line the Arno? Well, here it is. You turn off onto a gravel path ending at a sunny complex of restored 19th-century Italian factories that look more like farmhouses, with their terra-cotta tile roofs, faintly pink stonework, and painted shutters. Just as you turn off the car, Alice Nardi, daughter of celebrated Italian architect and designer Claudio Nardi, steps out of the house, arms wide, eager to welcome you to her famous father’s atelier. The studio, just 15 minutes outside Florence, now doubles as a relaxed guesthouse and collection of lofts. Each of the sprawling lofts has floor-to-ceiling picture windows shedding light over mismatched decor—Mies van der Rohe tables and sofas, Louis XIV chairs, chrome bubble lamps, gray stone kitchens—that still manages to be worthy of an Architectural Digest shoot. Ogling the view of the river, you notice hammocks swaying between the trees that flank the white sandstone swimming pool in the garden. A typical evening might begin at the main house, where Alice pulls out a bottle of chianti and you settle in for a long chat in the unpretentiously glamorous living room, which will, later that evening, after dinner at her favorite spot in town, turn into a private movie screening room.
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Neighborhood Vibe
Just 15 minutes from the center of Florence, hidden along the Arno’s banks just northwest of the city center, Riva Lofts feels a world away from the tourist hustle and bustle around the Ponte Vecchio. Sure, sights such as the Duomo (the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), the Basilica di Santa Croce (the final resting place of the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo), the Galleria degli Uffizi, and the Piazza della Repubblica are all within a quick cab ride, but it may be more pleasant to spend the day riding the hotel’s vintage bikes along the river and through Le Cascine park. The Basilica di Santa Maria Novella and its eponymous piazza are even closer (as is the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station, useful for transportation purposes). And the world-famous Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella apothecary isn’t far, either. Proprietor Alice Nardi can recommend all her favorite galleries, restaurants, and locals-only spots, too.
Need to Know
Rooms: Nine suites. From $255.
Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon.
Dining options:The hotel doesn’t have a full restaurant, but an extensive breakfast spread of homemade pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, and more is included in all rates and served each morning in the living room or the garden. Coffee and tea are available at any time, nonalcoholic minibars are free, and the living room has an honesty bar for when the aperitif mood strikes. All but one of the studios has a kitchenette, should you choose to cook for yourself.
Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither gym nor spa, but in-room spa treatments can be arranged upon request, vintage bicycles are available to borrow, and the garden is home to a white sandstone swimming pool, although it’s a little small for laps.
Insider Tips
Who's it best for: Fashion designers, Florence veterans, low-key families, and anyone seeking a laid-back atmosphere and stylishly low-key design out of the fray.
Our favorite rooms:The Loft Studios (rooms 4 and 8) might as well be private apartments, with multiple floors, floor-to-ceiling picture windows overlooking the Arno, full design kitchens, private entrances, and, off one, a private terrace.
Local insight:Hang out in the living room, surrounded by books and DVDs to borrow, and you’ll likely end up befriending Alice Nardi, the proprietor and daughter of the renowned architect who designed the place. Take her advice on where to dine, what galleries to visit, and pretty much anything else.
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