Quiet Time As a Leader | 4 Places I Found it in Florence

Where To Go For Some Quiet In Florence

Florence: Off the beaten path places to go for some quiet

I’ve gotten in the habit of building in this quiet time at the tail end of hosting retreats. This to reflect on what went right, what went wrong,  and ways to iterate for the future.  

Its also a chance to restore my mental well being, relax and recharge before returning to New York life. As I build a bigger and bigger business, I’m needing more of the quiet.

Well, someone must be giving away a 2-for-1 special in Florence, because it was Americans everywhere when I arrived in late May. Clatches of college students studying the Tuscan light. Senior folks on a church trip.  I found myself seeking some quiet off the beaten path, having been in people management mode for the previous 7 days.

If you are looking to avoid the crowds, here were my places of refuge.


I have two recommendations here. 

One glossy and perfect. 

Helvetia and Bristol is billed as “the biggest Roman baths in the city”

Nestled in a glossy hotel in the “Fifth Avenue” of Florence,  Cartier and Louis Vuitton are its neigbhors. After my massage, I rotated between the hamam, the vichy showers, the salt room. The Roman baths, with waterfalls, was by far, the best. I spent a good hour here.

One more home-grown.

The 22 is a brand new, beautiful lifestyle space, owned by 2 women. I took a morning yoga class, as the morning sun flooded the generous windows to the studio. I returned for a beautiful massage later. The bathroom and shower room are super generous in size. This is is a total gem, and preferable to my time at H&B.

The Patio at Signorvino


Signorvino Firenze

I got this recommendation from the front desk staff at Helvetia & Bristol. I asked for a place that was ‘quiet.’

When I first walked in during the lunch hour, I thought she misheard me. it was packed with tourists and had a  little TGIFriday feel to the place.. I asked to sit outside.  (It’s easy to navigate most places as a party of 1.)

Step out onto the porch, and its a totally different world. A little slice of heaven patio, overlooking the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Arno River.  Pizza and wine has never tasted so good, given this stunning view. Oh, and get the cannoli.

Yoga Overlooking the Duomo at Sunset


Airbnb experience

It was an @airbnbexperiences suggested by a member of my Mastermind. I arrived at the address (“we are by Ebys bar” said the email) and waited outside a huge wooden double door —tall enough to allow a horse carriage in. I buzzed in after the instructor Sylvia when she arrived. “You’re early”

I’m always early. Some New York habits die hard, even when I’m in Italy. As we climbed the wide stone stairs, I thought about how many generations of Italian feet came before me.

“Now we take the lift”

The yoga class was on the roof. The lift was the size of sardine can, wide enough to fit two.

“It’s good that we are skinny” Sylvia remarked.

the vista opened onto what I see when I Google “Florence.” Terracotta roofs for as far as the eye can see. And then the mountains. Villas dotted the horizon and then— the most breathtaking part- the Duomo, set against the sky. Just the night before , I stood peering up at it from the base, squinting to make out the detail. Now I was squinting in the blazing sun, about to retire for the evening.

The space is multi use. A cooking class was finishing making tiramisu. Simone the owner talked about getting his PHD in psychiatry as he swiftly swapped out tables for yoga mats. I thought about how creative people can be with business.

We closed our eyes and began class. I kept pinching myself to remember this was real. And to stay present. There came a point where we were on our backs, stretching. A flock of blackbirds circled above and I was reminded to forever be in awe of life.

Dr. Joe Dispenza talks being in a state where we are in continual awe of our lives. “When we are in a state of awe, we are more open to new possibilities and ideas, and more connected to the present moment and the bigger picture. This can help us break free from limiting beliefs and behaviors and tap into our full potential.”


Airbnb Experience

Sabrina, Luciano and their dog rio D.J. welcome you into their private home, filled with treasures from all of their travels. I entered and walked through, asking about each piece. They open the living room window, with sweeping views of Florentine rooftops

The ultimate is their private rooftop terrace in the center of Florence. We chatted over wine and pasta, learning their stories of travellers passing through (part of the apartment is rented out for stay) 

The best way to get to know a city is to know its inhabitants. Luciano was a wealth of information. I asked for places of quiet and he referred me to my next stop.

BAKERY: S. Forno in Oltarno

I visited this place on my last morning in Florence. I love sitting in a cafe with my morning coffee and journaling.  If you go in search of it: The sign above the place only reads “Panificio.” I stood across the street, brow furled for sometime before I matched the photos in the writeups to the interior of the bakery. I got a croissant and a coffee in this place that reminded me of a Tuscan store. With dried flowers hanging from hooks, and distressed wood for furniture.

Oltarno literally translated means “the other side of the Arno River.” You cross the Ponte Vecchio bridge for this neighborhood, where locals are taking their children to school. The energy, at lesat when I was there in the early morning hours, was far less hectic than the tourist riddled other side.


40 Piazza del Mercato Centrale

Just down the way from my moderately priced hotel (with a great breakfast) Globus Urban, is this little park, opposite “Da Pinocchio” restaurant.. I would grab my kindle and sit on a bench here. The world quieted down, on the edge of the Market. Life was less frenetic here.


My next adventure is a sail of the Turkish Coast August 12-19th, 2023. We are seeking one woman leader to add to the group. joya@joyadass.com

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