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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, tell me also what is your job, or is student what are you studying or if you are in a sabbatical year, what was your last job.

 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.
If you are alone or just two friends I ask you to tell me if it is ok sharing the 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 can have 3 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 +393287329225. 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.

 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 (not necessarily typical from their culture, but necessarily that they know how to prepare).
So please begin 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 fruits 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 (rarely) some vegetarian friendly days. On that days, will be prepared a vegetarian dinner, so people arriving that day will get a veg dinner that day and can cook its dinner version next day..
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 recipes is sometimes prepared up to three 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.
In Italia breakfast is a not-so-respected meal, so it would be just a cup of coffee or tea and a couple of sweet cookies. Anyone can have it before leaving but not after 0900. If you expect to leave before i wake up please ask me the evening before the tools to prepare your breakfast

 3. Preferred arrival time is between 1920 and 2040, earlier arrival can be arranged, also in the morning, but just to drop heavy luggages. Except special cases i do not expect to have guests remaining here between 1030 and 1730. In no case groups of 4 or more people may arrive after 2020.

 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 in the morning just to meet and get a courtesy phone and/or to drop luggages.

 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, neither from 2030 until 30 minutes after end of dinner, for obvious reasons.

 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, can be arranged plus or minus 30 minutes, is you do not want to have breakfast no problem, but a breakfast time will be always set [see 8 and 14].

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 full 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 makes me cry.

12. When all people of family leave, even the guests leave. Usually i do not leave before 0940, and I will tell you in advance if were not the case, Unless previous arrangement I expect guests to leave before 0930. 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 8 times, and 3 times I found the house flooded, three more the door open, while TWO other times 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.

14. I can offer you wi-fi or cable connection; If 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 bedrooms 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 to prepare your food only between 2330 and breakfast time

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 some benches in the park in front the house where you can freely wait, also with wifi access [ask me for password]. If you have bicycles park them outside, in motorcycles stalls, while waiting for me to open the garage.
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 [piazza della Signoria] it it 4800 meters; at 7 minutes walking there is a bus running every 8 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, according the season first bus arrive at SMN station at 559 or 635]
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.

I-bis. In summer-autumn, but expecially september to october in my area, that is close to a natural park with wet areas, 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 in the period december-february.

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 20% of services. (see also point III)

II-bis. This is valid both for SNCF trains 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 last minute, bacause Regional ticket cannot be reimboursed nor changed and there are no reduced fares for buying regional trains in advance, so no convenience at all to buy it in advance, just a risk)!

II-quater: Some people complained that they did not got cheap trains from Venezia, and found only 50 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 21.65 EUR, write it down, then at ticket office ask a ticket "regionale" (on on vending machine select the filter for only regional trains).

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 it is always on track 2, from 7 where train from Bologna arrives just use underpass, but be quick.

III. think about the offer, only for regional train, "Italia in Tour", three consecutive days for 29€ or 5 for 49 [or "weekend insieme for 22€ saturday and sunday). Note that if you arrive af Fiumicino airport the 29€ pass cost a bit less than a one way to Firenze, and you have two other days (even just to move in the city)(and the weekend fare, that is not valid for airport services, cost less than a one way from Roma to Firenze)

IV. Be careful if you book long distance buses: Most buses call at Villa Costanza and some at Guidoni-Airport. Both stop are very far from center but from either one there is frequent tram service that for 1€50 and 23 minutes takes you to SMN station. In case your bus arrives or leaves early in the morning or late in the night check that it is not available also an additional stop at Piazzale Montelungo, that is in the city center.

IV-bis. Once you have arrived at Firenze do not be tempted to buy a 24 hour bus ticket: it costs more than five 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 rail stations) that sell tickets and, in general, tickets are not sold on buses.

V. [unconfirmed]

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 one is at 953 but arrives well past noon, else 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 - that I say it would be better…

VI-bis. A nice destination for a sidetrip if you stay 3 days or more in this area 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.