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Palazzo Niccolini Al Duomo, Florence 

2 Via dei Servi
Italy 50122
Tel: 39 055 282 412
view web site ›'s insider take:

Want to do the aristocratic palazzo experience at a mid-range price? This new-but-old centro storico option, in the building where sculptor Donatello had his workshop, is the answer. Located opposite Brunelleschi's Duomo—which fills up the view from many of the windows—the palazzo dates back to the 14th century, but the stunning allegorical frescoes that adorn the public areas and guest rooms were painted in the 1760s. Current owner Ginevra Niccolini is usually on hand to welcome guests, and the ambience is warm despite the museumlike surroundings. Most of the 13 rooms (three of them suites) are large, and those that aren't frescoed are still pretty sumptuous, with handsome antique furniture, brocade curtains and bedcovers, and the occasional chandelier. The huge, elegant drawing room—well-stocked with books and magazines—feels like something out of a Henry James novel.

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