Since the Emerald Fields hostel in Florence is in an apartment building about a 10 minute walk from the train station, I can only assume that the name “Emerald Fields” refers to the beautiful Tuscan hills that surround the city. In any case, you probably aren’t expecting rolling green fields in your hostel anyway, so the lack of them in this hostel won’t be too much of a shock, I hope.
The Emerald Fields hostel location is the main headquarters and reception area for the three hostels under the same management umbrella – the other two are Emerald Palace, which is right across the street, and Emerald House, which is closest to the historic center on Via Guelfa. You’ll book rooms in any of the three locations using the same booking system, and you’ll need to check in at Emerald Fields even if you’re staying in another location. As mentioned, Emerald Palace is a short walk across the street once you’ve checked in, but Emerald House would be quite a walk (especially with heavy bags) if it weren’t for the Emerald Fields policy of driving Emerald House guests to that location once they’ve checked in. It’s a very nice perk.
When I visited, I got tours of Emerald Fields and Emerald Palace only, so that’s what I’m going to focus on here – these two properties are the ones with dorm rooms (Emerald House only has double rooms, more like staying in a really budget hotel), so they’re really the only ones that can be considered true hostels anyway.
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L-R: Lounge/computer area (reception is in this same room) & a dorm room at Emerald Fields
The Emerald empire is run by Marco and Antonio, and the Fields and Palace locations are cozy spaces. They’re both in old Florence apartment buildings (the former doesn’t have an elevator, and the latter’s elevator isn’t generally for hostel guests, so you’ll have to get used to stairs), and each has lots of big windows letting in the Tuscan sunlight. In fact, in Emerald Fields, the hostel occupies the top floor of the building, so the rooms even have great big skylights – one of which is positioned perfectly over the giant bathtub in the shared bathroom.
One of the shared bathrooms at Emerald Fields, complete with giant tub and skylight!
The dorm rooms may have several beds in them, but they’re definitely not cookie-cutter – these are, after all, former Italian apartments, so each room has its own character (some even have fireplaces, though I don’t know if they actually work anymore).
L-R: Dorm room & kitchen at Emerald Palace
All in all, my impression of the Emerald Fields hostel & Emerald Palace hostel were that they were clean and cozy and rather inviting. They didn’t feel like some of the hostels I’ve seen, the ones with giant, clinical dorm rooms, because they just don’t have the space to do that anyway. You may feel more like you’re staying in that apartment your friend’s cousin’s co-worker has in Florence rather than in a hostel, which is just fine by me.
Location: Via Agnolo Poliziano 1, 50129 Florence
Contact Information: Marco: +39 3930 648 737, Antonio: +39 3291 862 260
Common Areas: Both Emerald Fields & Emerald Palace have lounge areas, computers for guest use, and dining areas.
Dorms: Emerald Fields & Emerald Palace have only dorm rooms.
Private Rooms: Emerald House has only private double rooms.
Curfew/Lockout: There’s no curfew, but there’s a lockout period from 11:00-14:00 for cleaning purposes.
Check-in/Check-out: Reception is only open from 09:00 until 21:00; if you must check in outside those hours you have to arrange that in advance.
Transportation Options: It’s not a long walk from the train station (but with heavy bags you may opt to take a taxi); if you’re staying in Emerald House they’ll drive you from Emerald Fields to your room after you’ve checked in.
Safety: The buildings the hostels are in are all behind locked doors; you need to buzz the desk to get into Emerald Fields, and you can’t get into the other properties without a key, so that felt very safe. Emerald Fields & Emerald Palace are both right off very busy streets, but they also felt safe.
Fun Factor: The hostels were quiet when I visited, but they’re not huge, so my guess is you’d get to know the other people staying in the hostel pretty easily and could join in for a night on the town.
Freebies: linens, internet, WiFi, jam & bread in the morning, luggage storage
Extras You’ve Got to Pay For: coffee will cost you 50 cents in the morning, laundry facilities will cost you
Good to Know: There are some smoking rooms, so if you want to be sure to not end up in one you’ll want to state that up front.
Children aren’t allowed in the Emerald hostels.
The Emerald staff can help you set up adventure trips in Tuscany, including skydiving trips and bike tours, as well as register you for their Florence pub crawl and get you tickets to Florence’s top museums. Ask about any of these at the front desk at Emerald Fields.
Payment Accepted: cash, major credit cards
Booking: Emerald Fields booking (It’s the same booking form for Emerald Palace booking and Emerald House booking, just be sure you’re choosing a private double room if you want to stay in Emerald House on via Guelfa.)