This is the version of the message that I used to sent to the people that was asking a place in my house. Many of them complaining of being too long, so from december 2014 I returned to send a very short and abridged version, more “human”.

Here is the “official” version.  

To avoid misunderstanding I write here the house rules and all the questions that I normally ask to my perspective guests, expecially when they come in a period when in my house I expect to be more than one group at the same time.

The basic reason for these rules is to allow every people to enjoy their days here, and are "do not do anything that would cause harm or annoyance to you, your host, your neighbors".

At the end I have written also a series of useful indication for people that want to come to Firenze and could have some strange surprises.

Read it also if you decide not to come to my home since these are useful in any case.

If you have asked me to come with other people please, pass THIS message to everyone in your party and ask them to reply individually to these questions (of course even you have to reply for your part whether you are alone or in a party):

 A. Please write your full name, together with place of origin, gender and age and the GSM phone number you will use while in Firenze.

 B. What are the languages that you can speak ? normally i won't host people that do not have at least one common language with me, and i try to avoid to have two groups at the same time that do not have a language in common. otherwise at dinner time the translator won't be able to have a good dinner.

 C. Tell me if you have some food/drink allergy or incompatibilities. please take in account also what is written on point 2. Do not let me know it only when the stuff is already on the table.

 D. Before I can accept a group (or even an individual) I have to know the time they will arrive: normally 20 to 2045 at my home is fine, if you arrive at SMN station no later than 2015 or at Campo Marte before 2025 you can easily be at my home well in time).
If you need to arrive later or much earlier specify it when now, not always could be acceptable arriving much later, even if sometimes 2145 or even later could be OK.

If you have already booked the train/bus/flight please be explicit telling the train/flight number you will use to arrive in Firenze.
To avoid errors write in your reply also the date and time of expected departure from Firenze. You have no idea about how many people remained homeless since they asked "5 to 7" thinking it is 3 night instead of two.

 E. I have rooms with single beds and rooms with double beds [a double bed is a bed 150 cm wide, good for 2 people]. Tell me if you need absolutely single or double beds; else tell me if your request is just a preference, so in case i could host you only with a different accommodation, you will accept it rather not being hosted at all.
Tell me also if you have your personal sheets [or sleeping bag] since this could widen the choice of beds and sometime make the difference. If you are alone or just two friends i ask you to tell me if it be ok sharing a three bed room with another guest, or on the other way you have problem with the veeery small single room (less than 3 m²).
Even this would improve chances that i will be able to host you. Please note that IF you are two AND mandatorily require separate beds, it implies that you also accept to share the big guestroom that has 4 single beds.

I WILL NOT consider the request until I won't have received a reply by EVERYONE in the group to these 5 questions.


 1. remember that you MUST confirm five to three days in advance your arrival, if possible with expected arrival time, sending me a SMS to the number +393488605348. If within 2 hours you do not get a confirm back, please call me on voice so i can check if there are problems over the phone.
With some phone operator I found impossible or erratic to use SMS while roaming, so it works only voice. IF I WILL NOT HAVE RECEIVED ANY CONFIRM 72 HOURS BEFORE ARRANGED ARRIVAL TIME, I WILL ASSUME THAT YOU ARE NOT COMING AND WILL CANCEL THE REQUEST. (see also point 4).
If you have problem sending a sms three days in advance you can also send an e-mail then, and sending the sms the day before arrival. (see rule 3 for an exception)
This rule is to avoid to have people that changed plans and forgot to notify their hosts. At the same time it allow both me and you to check that the phone number is correct, that can be useful for last minute communications.
My experience says that half of the people that do not confirm three days before had changed their plans and would be a no show.
Have on mind that my cell phone does not work acceptably with calls originating from skype, so do not even try to call me that way (but you may use a standard VoIP service).

 2. The moment of getting food together is one of the central point of italian life: it is italian tradition to share at least one meal together.
Usually it is dinner (since for dinner there is more time to spend after).
Sharing means that we will share the joy of an [hopefully] good dinner, but also the costs and the burden to prepare it: so, from groups of 3 or more people or anyone that that stays three or more days I expect one day when they cook some food typical from their culture.
So please bgin to think about some recipes, that can be prepared in no more than one hour, and remember that total cost of meal should stay under the 3 EUR per person since could be present some thight budged travelers.
When considering the prices consider local prices, where some items that in your country are cheap could be costly or the other way (for example here pork is the cheaper meat, and wine is cheaper than fruit juice, while a meal with a lot of fruit go easily over budget).
The basic rule is that the one that cooks decide what to cooks.
Travel is also a way to know new cultures, and each culture has its traditional meals. Hospitality exchange is a form of going to know the local culture, in all its more in-dept aspects.
If in your culture you do not eat certain foods make an exception. When will be your turn to cook you will be free and, even more, invited to follow your habits, but when it is someone's else the turn to cook, would be quite unrespectful to expect that they follow your cultural habits and bend their ones.
I have made an exception for vegetarian people, that have a consistent philosophy, arranging three vegetarian friendly periods every month, each one starting with the tuesday or friday closer to days 5 15 and 25 of the month and lasting two days. On that days, even if there is only one request will be prepared a vegetarian dinner.
It is possible -if absolutely necessary, prearranged and only for up to  2 days and obviously not in vegetarian friendly days- to provide gluten free meal or dairy free meals, but not kosher, halal or vegan meals.
In any case special food and drinking requirements (including vegetarian request) must be told me when you sent the first request, since such requirements could not be always be accepted if made at last minute, since food for tuscan cooking is sometimes prepared a couple days in advance.
Normally i assume that we will share the dinner every day; IF there is one day (even more is you stay at least 4 days) that you expect NOT TO BE at dinner please tell me AT LEAST three days in advance. If you do not come in the evening when you told me that you would, you will make me sad and the other guests unhappy (expecially if it was your turn to cook) and if the food has alread bought and/or cooked you will be required to share anyway, at least for the cost; however if you say that won't be here and then arrive at last minute, some cans of beans or lentils are always ready for such events.

 3. due to problems with neighbours and (albeit sometime involontary) noisy guests i have to limit the arrival and leave of groups of more than 3 people to hours between 0700 and 2145 unless they have just hand baggage.
I have also to ask guests to avoid using high-heels while in the house and not to drag trolleys, whatever is the time. (yes ... i had a guest that traveled light, only a pair of high heel shoes, and went with them at the toilet at 3 in the night !)

 4. Having a phone to allow last mile contact is ESSENTIAL. some people can get lost or get off the wrong bus stop, and waiting for dinner is not happy.
Unfortunately while for european guests is quite rare to have someone lost, non european ones are quite prone to get lost and having a way to contact or get contacted for these events is extremely useful.
Do not say "I have skype" since if you do not have a free internet access you cannot call nor receive calls. and if you are lost there are a lot of chances you have no access; or think about the one that got lost, found an access point, called me, i asked to tell where he were, told me ‘I go to see the sign’ and lost the signal …
So if you do not have a working phone i will accept ONLY people that arrives on tuesday, wednesday or friday between 9 and 1130 when we I can meet them at my office, and make further arrangement.

 5. Normally i will host two groups at a time. According the period, and of course last minute events, it is possible that I be alone, have people of the family or that other groups be here. Unless differently prearranged [see E] you will have a room for yourself, but you have no right to complain if there are too few or too many people in the house. If you have reasons to ask to be alone, or willing to have a big group you can tell me, but expecially in the latter case i cannot promise that no one cancel last minute.

 6. Shower cannot be used from 40 minutes before breakfast time until noon, this to avoid queues at critical time and to allow to manage washing machine that is in the bathroom.

 7. I do my best effort to let you find a clean room and if possible all the house clean. This however depend a lot on the people that has been here before you. So please do not complain and if something is not clean, rather tell me immediately and ask if you can help. Remember that usually I am alone at home and I have time to do a complete cleaning only once a week.
Asking to have a full cleaning every time a guest is arriving would mean that I could host much less, and the dropped guests could be you.

 8. I ask you to leave the room free from your belongings BEFORE breakfast time the day you leave, to allow me to check for involuntarly or volountarly lost items. Most people leave personal properties when repackaging or in the bathroom, so do not leave at any time your stuff in the bathroom so this way can be easier cleaning and collecting lost items. please check also the stuff you left in the drying line.

 9. Breakfast time is 8:30, more or less.

10. Dinner is around 21:10. If you have a good reason to arrive late we can wait you, but be sure to arrive before 2140, and tell me it at least one day in advance [the one day in advance rule is only if you expect to arrive late for dinner, not if you do not come at all - see 2!]. Please do not ask to have dinner before that time, expecially in spring-summer, since other guests could want to enjoy the city as much as possible during daytime.

11. No smoking in my house, including balcony. Cigarette smoke make me cry.

12. When all people of family leave, even the guests leave. I leave to go to work at 08:00 on friday and sometime monday or saturday. Unless previous arrangement I expect guests to leave before 920 even the other days. Do not ask me to leave you at home while I am not here, unless is for a short period and you do not leave before I come back. I did it 6 times, and 3 times I found the house flooded, another the door open, while another time the guest that remained home was so nice to clean the balcony, throwing away not only the leaves felt from trees, but also the content of a box of aromatics leaves intentionally left there to dry for making infusions.
You may be different, but the statistics are against you.

13. Please tell me if during your stay will be days when you expect to be home after midnight and/or you have to leave before 0720. In this case tell me this at least three day before your arrival so i will give you the room near the door, so not to make too much noise, and arrange for opening at night [care that last bus from the center is at 0044].

14. I can offer you wi-fi or cable connection, but please do not abuse of it. There are some devices [namely iphones] that can hog the net, so I could ask you to shut down it [no problem with laptops]; If you need a computer, have to print a ticket or you need to use washing machine or just to put some stuff in in the fridge please ask me at least one full day before arriving (to make space for you).
No food or drinks on the room, but plain water; if you want to eat or drink something outside of meals just go in the dining room. This helps a lot to keep the bedroom clean. If for some reason you need to cook some food for your extra meals please ask me in advance telling which tools you will need. In general you may be allowed to use the kitchen for your food only between 0000 and 0715

15. If you arrive at my home before the arranged time please do not wait on the door or sitting on the stairs or on the sidewalk in front. there are many benches in the park in front the house where you can freely wait, also with wifi access. If you have bicycles park them outside, in motorcycles stalls.
Staying in front of the door is considered in general extremely impolite and since have been some problems in the past both with my guest and those of some other neighbor, if you do it, you could be disclaimed.


I have to tell also these things:

I. I live in the eastern part of the city, from the center it is less than 5 km; at 7 minutes walking there is a bus running every 6 minutes (20 min running time from center) or at 9 minutes walking you can get a regional train station that allow you to be in the center in 10 minutes.
What i write now is not a big concern for visiting but can be problematic if you need to leave with an early train. [what follows is valid mon-sat, for sun and holidays it may be different]
In the morning to get train 581, arriving at 825 to Roma, that have usually extremely cheap offers, you have to leave at 530; the first train to Pisa/Spezia that you can get is the one at 0608, leaving home at same time.
Other good trains for which you have good connection in the morning are the 8585 to Roma arriving at 945 (you can leave home at 0800) or, same time the one that arrives at Pisa at 928. Do not try with 9301 since due to bus times in early morning you have to leave at same time than 581, nor 9401 since you have to leave at 640. and do not be tempted by 9507 at 838 since you have to leave home before than the 8585, that leaves from Campo di Marte station, that is much faster to reach from my home. No problems for trains after 840
In case you need to use train IC580 book it from firenze campo di marte.

I-bis. In summer-autumn, but expecially september to october in my area, that is close to a natural park, there are huge quantity of mosquitos and other insects. It is the price to pay to have a clean air and quiet nights.
Local supermarket in this season has 25 meters of shelf with mosquito and insect repellers. If you are sensible to insects please care of it or delay your visit to Firenze after october.

II. again about trasportation: Do not be tempted too much by interrail and eurail: the cost for Italy is often not convenient. With a standard one you have to travel at least 500 km every day of validity, and even with with young fare, at least 300.
This because for fast trains you have to pay 10 EUR for reservation. Also, if you can buy some (or many, according the period) days in advance you can easily get discounts up to 80% so even if just one day on 4 you find a discounted fare, you have anyway saved money.
Also: interrail is not accepted on all services, but only on TI ones, that on some lines represent no more than 60% of services.

II-bis. This is valid both for SNCF trains and for Eurolines buses for services from/to France : They, beside asking to pay reservation fee, allow only a limited number of pass holder on their services, so actually you have to book it in advance, so it is likely you could find a cheap fare too, less than the daily quota of pass.

II-ter: NEVER buy online regional train tickets unless they are bought in the SAME transaction that a long distance ones, that is a trip that have a connection between a long distance and a regional train.
In ANY other case buy only at station (self service or manned). Regional ticket bought online cannot be reimboursed and there are no reduced fares for regional trains, so no convenience at all to buy in advance)!

II-quater: Some people complained that they did not got cheap \trains from Venezia, and found only 45 EUR ones. If you want to find the cheaper ones you must select the option "treni regionali".
You will get the list of train at 19 EUR, write it down, then at ticket office ask a ticket "Tutto regionale tariffa 39/AS/01".

IIquinquies: If you choose the "cheap ticket" in Bologna you have to change to a train to Prato: such train leave from track 1East or 2East, these stub tracks are very far on the eastern end of station, you have to go on platform 1, and walk right [looking at tracks] about 250 meter, passing past the road bridge. At Prato generally conenction is extremely tight but is alwais on track 2, from 7 where train from Bologna arrives just use underpass, but be quick.

III. Be careful if you book long distange buses: some of them call at stop "Impruneta-Bottai" that is really easy for people living on the south end of the city, but it is about 45 minutes by bus from the center and one hour from my home. Most buses call at Villa Costanza and some at Guidoni-Airport. Both stop are very far from center but from either one there is frequnt tram service that for 1€50 and 23 minutes takes you to SMN station.

III-bis. Once you have arrived at Firenze do not be tempted to buy the 24 hour bus ticket: it costs more than four 90 minutes ones, so unless you expect to travel the whole day uninterruply it is hard to justify the cost. Rather buy (at newsstand) some 90 minutes ticket on arrival as soon as possible, since after 1930 is extremely difficult to find places (except at railway stations) that sell tickets and, in general, tickets are not sold on buses.

IV. About SIM card for GSM phone: when you buy one be wary about some "offers" that can be active on that card: the two "dangerous ones" are those for which you pay a fixed amount of money (5 to 12 eur usally) for 100 or more minutes in a month, and the one "internet by day".
The first one is nice but you have to remember that it works only when you are under coverage of the home network, so if you plan to use that card in other countries after a few days that service is unusable.
The second one, that is present on many cards as they are sold, is better you disable: actually it is a service that is useful only in two cases, since otherwise empties your credit after one day.
Ask to be disabled when you buy the card, or put the card first in a non-internet enabled phone, to disable the option, since many smart phones just, when you put the new card in, try to connect to get connection parameters, and this will cost you 4 EUR, even if you no make further use of internet.

V. If you absolutely need to have WiFi while arriving here and have to wait, there is a public free hotspot at the bus stop Varlungo of bus 14B/14C.

VI. Many people come to Firenze with the assumption to make a day trip to the Cinqueterre.
This is not always a good idea, since that place is about 170 km far, but, that is the worst thing, there is a big hole in train services to that area, so in the morning the only good train is at 739 from Firenze Campo di Marte, arriving at 10, but requires advance reservation. after that one next one is at 953 but arrives well past noon, else the one at 608. no problem for afternoon when to come back there is a train every 30 minutes. So better you plan to go there before coming to Firenze, and not as a day trip.
Or not to go at all …

VI-bis. A nice destination for a sidetrip if you stay 3 days or more is Siena. Many people ask also for San Gimignano, but be warned that to have good bus connections to San Gimignano with time to do also Siena you have to leave from my home at 535.

If you arrived at this point of reading you are at a good point in being accepted.

Just reply quickly. I get a lot of requests and cannot wait for long time to people that is uncertain. It is a sign of respect for other people that could want to come here.

I know that for some people some of the rules are a bit strict, but at same time they allow more people to stay and have very good experiences, and sometime are just to their advantage.

Almost all rules can be voided, in certain days: just ask in advance; but do not pretend.