From the outside, Casa Ferrari Bed and Breakfast in Sofia appears to be an unassuming building, and unless you were aware, you’d never know that behind what appears to be an apartment block, lies a unique collection of Italian Renaissance furniture from early 20th Century. It also happens to be a charming local B&B which offers individual hospitality as opposed to the anonymity usually received from larger hotels. Centrally located just minutes away from Vitosha Boulevard or the National Palace of Culture, it’s tucked away in a residential area where the noise of the city won’t disturb you.
The name of the hotel lends itself to Francesco Ferrari, the maker of these fine pieces of furniture and whose portrait is displayed proudly in the seating area of the B&B. Every room is dedicated to a particular colour theme and elegant preservations of his handmade Italian furniture adorn the rooms, more than a hundred years after they were made. A desk chair from 1894 is the oldest piece, but each wardrobe, table, cabinet and mirror are relived and appreciated in this beautifully designed bed and breakfast.
Casa Ferrari accommodates three spacious rooms: two doubles and one single, but is able to host up to nine people in total. Each room is pristinely kept and all are equipped with televisions, fast wifi, and modern en-suites. A small kitchen provides you with the facilities to help yourself to beverages, cook and even do your washing if you wish, ‘so guests can make themselves at home.’
Ludmil, manager and co-owner of Casa Ferrari, genuinely does everything to ensure his guests feel well looked after and use the space just like they would do in their own home. He’s not only passionate about his hotel but is also something of a local historian too which proves to be inspiring as I learn more about Sofia’s historical mapping and Bulgarian history. And, he’s more than happy to share his knowledge with you which makes for a great introduction to Sofia, whether you’ve visited there before or not.
In addition to having many of Sofia’s main attractions within short walking distances, you can also pre-arrange day trips to Rila Monastery, Boyana Church, Koprivstica or Plovdiv. With Ludmil as your guide, I imagine you will have both an entertaining and well informed excursion from a native of Sofia who’ll give you a personal insights into Bulgarian life, heritage and culture. There are other opportunities to book Eco and Rural trips out of town too.
After having our long chat, providing me with maps, useful recommendations and tips on the locality, Ludmil leaves me to settle in. Although he does not stay in the same building, he lives less than ten minutes away (following the Italian rule for guesthouse owners) so is always close by in case of emergencies of which there have been none to date in the 11 years of him running the B&B. Back in my room, I almost feel bad putting modern toiletries on top of the authentic furnishings but the room is cosy, warm and very comfortable!
Francesco Ferrari was the grandfather of the other co-owner from Modena and the fact that there is such a personal history within these hotel walls, makes for a special stay while you’re visiting Sofia. Ludmil and his partner have kept the design true to the inspiration of Francesco Ferrari’s furnishings and Italian artwork, plus all the rooms have been recently renovated to create a tasteful atmosphere.
The next morning, after a great night’s sleep, breakfast awaits me in the shape of a huge banitsa cake, cereal, yogurt, juice and fresh coffee. Whilst Ludmil doesn’t cook on site, breakfast is partly provided by his neighbouring bakeries as he believes in supporting local businesses as much as possible. For guests staying more than one night, Ludmil assures me they would be offered a different breakfast every day. In between bites of the delicious banitsa, we continue our conversations about cultural tourism from the previous day, and by the time I leave his great hospitality, I feel better equipped to take on the sights of Sofia with a lot more knowledge then when I arrived.
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay at Casa Ferrari Bed & Breakfast in exchange for posting my honest review. All opinions are my own and reflect my personal experience.)