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Stefano and Massimo are two PowerHosts on misterb&b. They open their Renaissance styled mansion in Florence to members of the gay community, providing a sense of home, a taste for the local delicacies and care for their guests' needs. Hosting brings out kindness. Check out their story and connect with the global gay community.
What interesting people have you met?
This can be a very articulate question because we host all kind of people. Choosing to spend some days in Florence it’s not like going to the Greek Islands or on a cruise. Our guests generally have a cultural background and they are interested to discover or find again the unlimited masterpieces that the city provides. Otherwise, they want to have a room-with-a-view kind of experience. So we hosted artists, musicians, actors, directors, movie producers, often without knowing it and finding out only when they arrived at our place. Given we’re artists as well, it has been easy empathizing immediately with them. But the interest could be shared even with normal people, with simple life, who get thrilled before the beauties of Florence.
When we decided to open our house for hosting gay people, we made that choice because there wasn’t any structure overtly gay and sometimes you can run into small hotels who turn up their nose if two men ask for a double bed. Maybe today not anymore but it can happen. Moreover, our attention was particularly focused on the Bear’s world, because no one has never raised the issue of the size of beds and toilets. Frequently, there are very tall or overweight people who can’t use the shower in many hotels and b&bs because the boxes are tiny and the beds are also standard. But, obviously, our home is open for all gay and for all their friends and family. Hospitality in our home means living with a gay family, our family, so in an atmosphere of complete relax.
What is your impression on gay guests? What do they like to do?
For a gay person, visiting a city like Florence could also means rediscovering the roots of modern homosexuality, and its link to the Renaissance age and the rediscovery of the human body and the pleasure, after the dark centuries of the Middle Age. The amount of homosexual artists who worked in Florence - leaving us unconditioned masterpieces like Michelangelo's, Leonardo's, Botticelli's and hundreds of others - symbolizes the very first coming-out of history, despite all the limits imposed by religion at the time; seeing wonderful naked bodies carved in the squares, must have been shocking!
Some of our guests already know all of that, others don’t. Some guests identify Florence with fashion and food, but a gay nightlife is missing, like in Rome, Milan or Barcelona, because Florence is a small center and has old and small buildings without any space for big clubbing venues; there are other things. Some other people come to Florence just because it’s a popular destination without knowing what to expect.
What is the best conversation you had with a guest?
It’s hard to say. With some guests it’s a pleasure to talk about art, music and Florence’s history, with others we talk about gastronomy, also because both Stefano and I are quite good amateur chefs. I love doing organic marmalades and homemade liqueur; I also gave Italian cooking lessons. Lastly I grow plants, even exotic ones and I like to talk about it with guests.
We have learnt a lot of things. First of all, we have improved our knowledge of languages; I speak English, French and Spanish, Stefano as well, but he also know German and a little bit of Portuguese and Catalan. This way we can share a lot of information about other countries, other cultures and personal life experiences. Hosting gay people from all over the world, it’s like having an open window onto other cultures.
What is your best memory with your guests?
Sometimes, especially when guests stay for a long time we enjoy taking them in typical restaurants and also having some unusual tour with them. Seeing their touched expression in front of the beauty that surrounds us is priceless, it is one of the pleasures of our activity.
It happened quite a lot of times! We developed a strong friendship with a Belgian actor; some other guests came several times bringing members of their families along. Everybody is willing to share: an American photographer sent us one of his artpieces, others just bring souvenirs from their country as they arrive. We were lucky, we have met the kindest people through this experience. Opening your home to people is reassuring: I guess you can tell that just by seeing the pictures of our place - people sense that, so they're in a sharing mood, too. Hosting brings out kindness, and I guess this is one of the greatest goals you can achieve through misterb&b.
Heading to Florence? Check out Stefano and Massimo's listing on misterb&b
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