Arriving late at night on the train from Milan, weary from hiking a bit on the Via Francigena, and absolutely clueless on where to stay on my extremely tight budget; my instincts and good fortune came into play when i randomly met a fellow American wandering as well around the breathtaking Basilica Santa Croce, and followed his recommendation of hostel Villa Camerata.
Not the most luxurious of accomodations to be found in Florence, but for the mere 17€ spent, i got a warm clean room (luckily to myself both nights!), a decent breakfast, wifi and in an extremely interesting location.
A converted 17th century villa, it’s lavish statuary and frescos, enormous interior spaces, once extravagant gardens, and secluded woody grounds just on the northern edge of Florence rings reminiscent of a Mussolini compound.
It’s a popular destination for large youth groups, a bit noisy in the halls, and not the closest of spots from the city center; it is clean, comfortable, just a short bus ride in and gives you a sense of being somewhere a bit special and secret, hidden away from the crowds. Here is a great video done by HostelingInternational of Villa Camerata in Florence.