The gift a secret Florence
Veronica Grechi began thinking about Velona’s Jungle in 2013, and with the support of her mother Serena, she opened to the public in 2016
Where did the idea come from for such a bizarre style of hospitality, as opposed to the more traditional “Renaissance” styles one might find in Florence?
It was partly because of the nature of the building built in the 1930s and partly because of the passion my mother and I share for animaliers and the jungle. Many pieces, some even from the late 19th century, come from my grandfather Pasquale’s antiques shop. We’ve paired them with modern objects in line with our tastes. From a conservation side, we tried to valorize the essence of this house, which we care a lot about.
What kind of rapport do you build with guests?
It’s like hosting friends from abroad in my city: I suggest things to see and do, I put myself “on display,” recommending what I like, even things outside the norm. The intention is to create an experience that’s truly lasting, extending long past their stay.
What’s the most gratifying feedback you’ve received about your business?
The bond we create with the guests, who occasionally come back multiple times. Some even find objects that they think would be perfect for our house and give them to us, as if it were a gift between friends who really know each other’s tastes and interests.
What experience would you recommend for your guests?
Definitely the Renaissance circuit, which can be walked on foot or by bike through the historic centre, leaving from the hills, where there are stunning views and unusual perspectives.