Updated: May 4, 2018
On This Page
- The 21 Best Luxury Hotels in Florence
- The Best Hotels in the City Center
- The Best Hotels in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
- The Best Hotels in San Lorenzo and San Marco
- The Best Hotels in San Niccolo and Piazzale Michelangelo
- The Best Hotels in Santissima Annunziata
- The Best Hotels in Santa Maria Novella
- The Best Hotels in Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrosio
Florence Hotels – Tips and Advice
- The absolute best hotels in Florence are Portrait Firenze (most luxurious), Palazzo Vecchietti (best small boutique hotel), Four Seasons (best for families), and Ville sull’Arno (most romantic).
- The best areas for travelers are City Center (lively and closest to attractions), San Frediano/Santo Spirito (best nightlife and food), San Lorenzo/San Marco (near attractions and train station), San Niccolo/Piazzalo Michelangelo (countryside feel with easy downtown access), Santissima Annunziato (quietest part of historic center), Santa Maria Novella (near train station, walking distance to attractions), Santa Croce/Sant’Ambrosio (walking distance to attractions, plenty of local color).
- Most hotels in Florence are in historic buildings and subject to strict guidelines for renovations, meaning that many hotels do not have elevators or ADA rooms. If you have limited mobility, be sure the hotel has an elevator or book a ground floor room.
- Smoking is still allowed in many hotels in Florence, though usually confined to a particular floor in the hotel. If you are sensitive to smoke, request a non-smoking room or non-smoking hotel.
- Tourist Tax: Hotels in Florence are required to collect a city tourist tax that is charged separately from the room rate. The price is equal to €1 per star of the hotel, plus 50 cents, per person per night for the first seven nights. For example, two adults staying at a four-star hotel for three nights will pay €27 Euro. Exceptions are for children under twelve, who are exempt, and for five-star hotels, which are only €1 per star. Many hotels require this tax to be paid in cash rather than credit, and some require its payment at check in.
- Getting around in Florence is easiest on foot. The city is fairly small, with most hotels within five to twenty minutes of the city’s most popular attractions. A large portion of the city’s narrow, ancient streets belong to the ZTL, or limited traffic zone, which allows two-wheeled vehicles only, with exceptions for buses, taxis, and car sharing programs. Buses are great for getting from one side of town to the other, but for destinations inside the historic center, it’s usually faster to walk.
- To take a bus in Florence, buy your ticket in advance at a tobacco shop (tabacchi) or newsstand. It is possible to buy a ticket on the bus, but they cost more; the price is €1.20 in advance or €2 on board. Children under one meter tall ride free. Ticket vendors will usually have a sign in the window that says ATAF. Travelers can buy individual tickets or passes valid for 24 hours, three days or one week, if they plan on taking lots of bus trips. Once on the bus, each rider must validate their ticket by inserting it into the machine which stamps it with a date and time. Individual tickets are valid for unlimited transfers within 90 minutes of the time stamp; stamp the opposite end on the final bus taken. Officers regularly patrol the buses to check that riders have paid their fares. If you are caught with an unstamped ticket, the fine is €40, so don’t forget to validate!
- A note on coffee culture: In Italy, it is considered disgusting to add milk to your coffee after 11:00 a.m. Italians will full-body cringe if they see it. Cappuccinos are considered a breakfast drink only, while straight espresso is preferred for afternoons. Exceptions are made for the espresso macchiato, a shot of espresso with dollop of milk on top, and the marrocchino, a shot of espresso with chocolate and a little milk, basically mini-mocha. Coffee is typically ordered, served, and consumed standing at the bar.
The 21 Best Luxury Hotels in Florence
1. Portrait Firenze – City Center
Ultra-luxe, ultra-stylish hotel, specializing in bespoke hospitality with every detail customizable to guests’ desires. Suites are all spacious with a variety of layouts, from studios up to a five-bedroom penthouse with views of the Ponte Vecchio, Arno River, and Florentine city streets. Décor in the common areas and suites evoke the high points in Florentine and Italian fashion from the 1950s-70s, with handcrafted leather furniture, cashmere, and marble. Dining is superb in their Michelin-starred restaurant, Caffè dell’Oro, featuring regional fine dining all day, with sweeping river views. Their children’s program features Italian cooking classes, spy games in the Uffizi, and experiments based around Da Vinci’s discoveries. Portrait is located in the City Center overlooking the Arno, adjacent to the Ponte Vecchio, near the Uffizi, with the San Frediano nightlife just across the bridge.
Hotel phone: +39 055 2726 8000
2. Palazzo Vecchietti – City Center
All-suite, boutique, luxury hotel in a 16th century palace with ample apartments up to 100 square meters, ideal for families or groups. With fourteen suites in total and a staff of only nine (including the owner, who personally meets with all guests), service is incredibly personal and attentive. All rooms include a hideaway kitchenette, elegant marble bathrooms, fine textiles, and custom designed furnishings in Italian leather and rich woods. Some suites add private balconies, rooftop terraces, soaking tubs, or Turkish baths. Their decadent breakfast is always a highlight, whether served in the dining room or delivered to the suite. Pet-friendly rooms add games, toys, a blanket, and a food bowl, even for larger dogs. Located in the City Center on the Piazza della Repubblica, just a four minute walk to the Duomo, near the Bargello and Uffizi Galleries.
Hotel phone: +39 055 230 2802
3. Four Seasons – Santissima Annunziata
Lavish hotel housed in two Renaissance buildings with a spa, pool, and Jacuzzi surrounded by eleven acres of private gardens. Perfect for families, the hotel offers spacious suites and connecting rooms, plus a playground in the garden with activities there all summer long, kid-sized robes and slippers, kids’ menus in all restaurants, and babysitting services. Their exceptional culinary program includes not only a Michelin-starred restaurant and sumptuous breakfast, but also a Picnic in the Park and a romantic dinner on the Ponte Vecchio. Signature offerings include a hot air balloon ride that begins in their garden and ends in Chianti, a mother and child spa day, and a private wine academy with lessons and tastings. This is the only hotel in Florence that offers a suite with a private pool. Located in Santissima Annunziata, the hotel is just outside of the busy City Center, but still walkable to all major attractions, just ten minutes on foot to the Accademia and fifteen to the Duomo.
Hotel phone: +39 055 26261
4. Ville sull’Arno – Campo di Marte, east of Santa Croce
This romantic, boutique resort villas features a garden pool and hot tub, a full-service spa, and suites with private Jacuzzis. Rooms spread over three Renaissance buildings, each styled differently: The Villa, with elegant Florentine style rooms plus four junior suites with indoor and outdoor whirlpools; the Loggia, with rooms inspired by the 19th century Macchiaioli painters; and the Spa Villa, with contemporary suites boasting Jacuzzis and steam showers. Top it off with an amazing bar and gourmet restaurant, offering exclusive Tuscan cooking classes for guests. This jewel overlooking the Arno sits in a residential neighborhood east of Santa Croce and the tourist areas, with complimentary shuttle service and bicycles.
Hotel phone: +39 055 670971
5. Hotel Lungarno – Santo Spirito
Stately hotel directly on the Arno River, almost like a ship, with supremely comfortable rooms, outstanding meals, and polished, attentive service. Lungarno’s wide range of accommodations suits all types of travelers, with romantic river-view rooms just for couples or enormous five-bedroom, seven-bathroom suites ideal for large or multigenerational families. Children are well-cared-for through their Very Important Kids program, which offers a trip to the Bargello Museum, hands-on experiments based on Galileo’s and Da Vinci’s works, and pizza-making classes. Food is outstanding here at the Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo, which serves some of the finest Tuscan dishes in the city. Their gallery showcases over 450 artworks, one of the largest private collections of 20th century art in the world, featuring works by Picasso, Cocteau, and more than 100 other artists. The hotel is located in Santo Spirito, adjacent to the Ponte Vecchio, perfectly situated to explore attractions in the City Center and the Oltrarno.
Hotel phone: +39 055 27261
6. The Westin Excelsior – Santa Maria Novella
Immaculate hotel in a 14th century palace with private Jacuzzi suites and a stellar rooftop restaurant. This historic property retains its original design elements, such as marble and terra cotta floors, coffered ceilings, and stained glass windows, while offering contemporary comforts in their spacious rooms and suites, many with terrace Jacuzzis or balconies. Their rooftop bar and restaurant Sesto is one of the most popular in the city, offering an extensive cocktail menu for aperitivo along with contemporary Mediterranean fine dining; book ahead to take in a sunset view here. The Westin is in the south end of Santa Maria Novella, overlooking the Arno River, with easy walking access to San Frediano, Piazza della Repubblica, and the Duomo.
Hotel phone: +39 055 27151
7. Hotel Brunelleschi – City Center
Refined boutique hotel with unparalleled service and gorgeous rooms, housed in a medieval church and a sixth century Byzantine tower, the oldest landmark in the city. All rooms fuse classic elegance with contemporary design, though some go the extra mile, such as the Tower Suite with its ancient stone walls, two floors, and view of the Duomo, and the Pool Suite with its hydrotherapy tub and panoramic rooftop terrace and Jacuzzi. Though most popular with couples, the hotel offers spacious Family Suites, as well as larger one and two bedrooms suites, with added perks, such as round trip airport transfer, daily fruits and chocolates, and exclusive a la carte breakfast. Dining and drinks are exceptional here, with highlights including the daily aperitvo in the Tower Bar and the two complimentary breakfast buffets. Located in the City Center, just 200 meters to the Duomo, 300 meters to the Bargello, and 600 meters to the Uffizi.
Hotel phone: +39 055 27370
8. Hotel Davanzati – City Center
Family-owned for 50 years, this cozy, boutique hotel offers a nearly all-inclusive experience, with complimentary breakfast (a huge spread!), afternoon tea service, happy hour with unlimited prosecco, Chianti, and snacks, iPads with unlimited mobile data plans, and more included in all room rates. All rooms are unique in this historic property, from cozy rooms for couples to spacious three-bedroom family suites. For kids, Playstations and games are available on request. Expect lots of personalized attention from all three generations of hoteliers. Hotel Davanzati is located in the City Center, just a two-minute walk to the Piazza della Repubblica and six minutes to either the Duomo or the Uffizi Gallery.
Hotel phone: +39 055 286666
9. Hotel Bernini Palace – Santa Croce
This five-star hotel in a 15th century palace stands out for its regal décor, impeccable staff, and fantastic dining, all well-situated near Florence’s most popular attractions. Guests can choose between classic luxury rooms, with crystal chandeliers and brocade fabrics, or Tuscan Renaissance rooms, with darker colors, traditional terra cotta floors, and exposed wood beam ceilings. Staff is welcoming and professional, especially the concierge team, members of Les Clefs d’Or, well-connected local experts dedicated to creating memorable experiences for each guest. Bernini Palace sits on the edge of Santa Croce bordering the City Center, mere steps from the Palazzo Vecchio and the Bargello, and less than five minutes walking to the Uffizi Gallery and Santa Croce Basilica.
Hotel phone: +39 055 288621
10. The St. Regis Florence – Santa Maria Novella
Historic, luxury hotel designed by Brunelleschi, with large rooms and suites, thoughtful family amenities, and a full service spa. Suites range from 50 to 200 square meters, all with soaking tubs and signature butler service, some with views of the Arno River, Tuscan hillsides, or Florence city landmarks. Their Family Traditions program includes a cookie turndown service, kid-sized robes and slippers, complimentary meals for children, and a connecting room at half price. Dining is spectacular in their Michelin-starred restaurant Winter Garden, offering fine Tuscan cuisine all day in an opulent Art Deco space; daily wine tastings are available in La Cantinetta Wine Cellar. Located at the south end of Santa Maria Novella, outside of the main tourist area, only ten to fifteen minutes’ walk to the Duomo, Santo Spirito, and the train station.
Hotel phone: +39 055 27161
11. Art Hotel Villa Agape – San Niccolo/Piazzale Michelangelo
Charming, historic hotel surrounded by seven acres of Renaissance gardens and olive groves in the rolling Tuscan hills overlooking Florence. This elegant, understated hotel feels remote, though the City Center is just a thirty-minute walk away or a ten-minute ride in the hotel’s complimentary shuttle. Rooms and suites are spacious; guests may choose to stay in the traditional Florentine rooms in the main villa, with terra cotta floors and vintage décor, or in the contemporary rooms in the annex, with floating beds and geometric furniture. Other perks include a delicious daily breakfast, unlimited garden access, free tapas during happy hour, and a common terrace overlooking the city and hillside with sweeping sunset views. The hotel perches on Arcetri Hill in the Oltrarno, near Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte.
Hotel phone: +39 055 220044
12. Golden Tower Hotel & Spa – City Center
Upscale, boutique hotel near the Duomo with an adults-only spa and romantic rooms and suites. Room rates include access to the wet areas of the spa, including the pool, whirlpool, experience showers, and Turkish bath; a full menu of pampering services is also available. Rooms are tastefully appointed, most categories inclusive of minibar items, and many include deep soaking tubs or two-person Jacuzzi baths. Food is phenomenal with a huge breakfast spread included in the room rate, along with an evening prosecco and aperitivo. Beautifully located in the City Center just six minutes on foot to the Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, Bargello, and the Duomo.
Hotel phone: +39 055 287860
13. Palazzo Magnani Feroni – San Frediano
Housed in a 16th century palace, this atmospheric, boutique hotel offers an all-suite layout and specializes in romantic occasions: weddings, honeymoons, and babymoons (babymoon package includes ensuite pre-natal massage). Suites are all spacious, ranging from 65 to 110 square meters, some with adjoining options. Though the Junior Suite is the smallest room, it is the only one with its own private courtyard and is completely covered in original 18th century frescoes. Perks include a complimentary smart phone in each room, daily Italian and continental breakfast, and afternoon coffee service. Take in a panoramic view of Florence and the Oltrarno from the Rooftop Terrace, open year round with bar service in the spring and summer months from sunset ‘til midnight. The Palazzo sits right on trendy Borgo San Frediano, near the city’s best nightlife, dining, artisans, Santo Spirito Church, and a short walk to all of the cultural and historical attractions of the City Center.
Hotel phone: +39 055 239 9544
14. Room Mate Isabella – City Center
Located on the luxury fashion street Via de’ Tornabuoni, Isabella offers comfortable rooms in a bold blend of contemporary and vintage styles, from Rococo Revival to Neo-Victorian to Art Deco. Ideal for couples, guest may choose between a cozy room or spacious junior suite with an entire wall of windows and breathtaking city views. Amenities include complimentary breakfast served until noon and a mobile hotspot with unlimited data, along with friendly, personalized service. Located in the City Center, next to Gucci and some of the world’s best boutiques, and within ten minutes on foot to the Ponte Vecchio, Duomo, and the train station.
Hotel phone: +39 055 239 6464
15. Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy – City Center
This fashionable hotel offers elegant rooms, fantastic dining, and a warm welcome especially for families with children. Rooms and suites are sunny and well-appointed, with connecting options to create two- to five-bedroom suite. Suite guest perks include round-trip airport transfer, a bottle of champagne, packing and unpacking services, and daily breakfast delivered to the room. Their family program includes age-appropriate amenities (from baby foods to Pinocchio-themed workshops to video game consoles), services (24 hour babysitting), and experiences (for example, treasure hunts in the Uffizi) for all ages. Meals are exceptional at their restaurant Irene, whether indulging in the complimentary breakfast or dining al fresco right on the Piazza della Repubblica. Located in the heart of Florence, between the Duomo and the Uffizi.
Hotel phone: +39 055 27351
16. Gallery Hotel Art – City Center
Art-filled hotel with an amazing bar and restaurant and contemporary design. Rooms and suites are decked out in bespoke leather furniture, with accents in cashmere and fine linen and modern sandstone bathrooms, some with balconies and views of the Duomo or Ponte Vecchio. Though most popular with couples, the hotel’s split level suites and connecting rooms make this a great choice for families, too. Their restaurant Fusion is a unique hotspot popular with locals, serving elevated Nikkei cuisine (Japanese-Peruvian), while its bar turns out some of the most creative, inspired cocktails in the city (damn near every successful bar owner in Florence has worked here at some point in their career). With its privileged location right on the Ponte Vecchio, this is a great home base for exploring the historical and cultural attractions in the City Center, as well as the nightlife and attractions in Santo Spirito, such as the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens.
Hotel phone: +39 055 27263
17. Room Mate Luca – San Marco
This fashion-forward, boutique hotel is best known for its wild décor, friendly service, and excellent breakfast included in all room rates. Each floor of the hotel is in a different color scheme, but all feature an eclectic blend of ‘60s mod, Art Deco, and neo-Victorian styles expressed in a hodgepodge of bold patterns, such as glitter-covered lizard-print wallpaper. Rooms are on the cozy side, with the largest one at 22 square meters with a king and a sofa bed. Perks include a mobile wifi hotspot and complimentary breakfast served as late as noon, featuring a wide range of Italian and continental options, and complemented by made-to-order espresso drinks. Luca sits in the San Marco neighborhood, just five minutes on foot to Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia or to the beautifully frescoed San Marco Church and Convent.
Hotel phone: +39 055 264 5539
18. Sina Villa Medici – Santa Maria Novella
Lavish, historic hotel with a free-form pool and full-service spa in a lush garden setting. Housed in a former convent from the 19th century, the hotel’s decor follows a modern interpretation of classical elegance, with refined rooms and suites, the highest categories filled with period antiques and art. All rooms include a soaking tub, most have a balcony, and one, the Florence Suite, has a private Jacuzzi on its terrace. Its restaurants serve fine Tuscan, Neapolitan, and Genoese specialties, and the splendid breakfast buffet, included in the room rates, is served in a romantic garden conservatory. The hotel sits in a quiet neighborhood on the west side of the city, a ten minute walk to the train station or San Frediano, and about fifteen to twenty minutes to attractions in the City Center.
Hotel phone: +39 055 277171
19. Relais Santa Croce – Santa Croce
Housed in an opulent 18th century palace, this five-star boutique hotel boasts spacious rooms and suites, live music daily in their restored Music Room, and one of the best restaurants in the city. Graceful accommodations range from 27 to 261 square meters, with one- and two- bedroom suites adding special features, such as private Jacuzzis, steam showers, complimentary airport transfer, and packing and unpacking services. Though suites are large, they have a maximum occupancy of three, so larger families will need to book connecting units. Dining is stellar at the main restaurant, and cocktails and light snacks are available 24 hours, but the biggest culinary attractions here is Enoteca Pinchiorri, an Italian fine dining gem awarded with three Michelin stars. In a privileged location two blocks from the Santa Croce Basilica, five minutes on foot to the Bargello and Synagogue, and within ten minutes of the Duomo, Uffizi, and Palazzo Vecchio.
Hotel phone: +39 055 234 2230
20. Palazzo Lorenzo Boutique – San Marco
Brand new boutique hotel in a restored 1918 residence, offering contemporary rooms and suites in the main house and upscale, ‘70s-inspired rooms in their annex, the Seventy House. The Seventy House rooms are all unique, including one with a retractable glass ceiling and another with a private elevator. An Italian breakfast is included in the room rate, with pastries, fruits, and espresso, or guests can upgrade to a hot, American-style breakfast; the Bistrot Bar offers complimentary snacks daily during happy hour with any drink purchase. Located in a residential neighborhood north of San Marco, near Piazza della Libertà, within a fifteen to twenty minute walk of all City Center attractions.
Hotel phone: +39 055 532 1422
21. Villa la Vedetta – San Niccolo/Piazzale Michelangelo
Five-star, boutique hotel in the hills with a heated pool overlooking the Florence landmarks. In a lush garden setting, the hotel is particularly suited for family trips or romantic getaways. Couples have a dedicated annex, housing just six suites, each with a garden view, many with whirlpool tubs. There is also the vedetta itself, a panoramic lookout tower that has become a popular spot for popping the question. Families will appreciate the large one-bedroom suites, one of which has two floors and two bathrooms; kids’ amenities include special menu items in the restaurants, step stools and coloring books in the rooms, and babysitting services. Breakfast is included in the room rates, as is the shuttle service to the Ponte Vecchio. Beautifully located just a four minute walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo overlook, and only twenty minutes’ walk to Santa Croce Church or the Bardini Gardens.
Hotel phone: +39 055 681631
The actual name of the neighborhood is San Giovanni, but its most often called the City Center and labelled “Duomo” on the tourist maps. This area is the heart of Florence, with narrow medieval lanes still vaguely following the grid pattern made by the ancient Romans. The city’s most impressive Renaissance architecture is here, led by Brunelleschi’s awe-inspiring Dome, as well as most of its top museums, including the Uffizi Gallery, home of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Staying in the City Center also puts travelers within 10 to 15 minutes walking distance of all other attractions in the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as the Santa Maria Novella train station, the major travel hub for reaching other Tuscan cities or Italian regions. This area overflows with restaurants, coffee shops, and gelaterias, but travelers need to be choosy here; there are several great options in the area, but many are overpriced, inauthentic, and serve poor quality food. Lots of bars are here, too, keeping this area lively and loud well into the night. The majority of the Florence’s luxury hotels are here, most of them housed in restored Renaissance buildings. This is the ideal area to stay for travelers on short trips who want quick access to the city’s major attractions, but if crowds or noise are an issue it may not be the best choice. The City Center is bordered by the Arno River to the south, including the Ponte Vecchio and Santa Trinita bridges, by Via de’ Tornabuoni to the west, by the Duomo and Baptistery to the north, and by Via del Proconsolo to the east.
The Best Hotels in the City Center
- Portrait Firenze • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 2726 8000
- Palazzo Vecchietti • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 230 2802
- Hotel Brunelleschi • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 27370
- Hotel Davanzati • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 286666
- Golden Tower Hotel & Spa • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 287860
- Room Mate Isabella • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 239 6464
- Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 27351
- Gallery Hotel Art • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 27263
The Best Restaurants in the City Center
- Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori • $$-$$$ • Authentic, Tuscan restaurant, serving elevated comfort foods.
- Irene • $$$$ • Fine dining with al fresco seating on Piazza della Repubblica.
- Gelateria Edoardo • $ • Organic gelato and seasonal sorbet with vegan options.
- Fusion • $$$$ • Amazing cocktails and Nikkei cuisine, for something completely different.
San Frediano and Santo Spirito
These side-by-side neighborhoods sit in the Oltrarno, the general name for the part of Florence south of the Arno River. A little removed from the attractions of the City Center (though still within walking distance), these neighborhoods evoke a more authentic Florentine feel than any of the areas to the river’s north. Much of the old world charm comes from the abundance of artisan workshops here, with handcrafts still made by generations of cobblers, leatherworkers, and more using traditional methods. Travelers will also find the city’s best restaurants, bars, and music venues here, especially along Borgo San Frediano and near Piazza Santo Spirito. Major attractions here include Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and the Santo Spirito Basilica. This is a fantastic area for travelers who prefer to have access to the city’s attractions, but a more authentic home base for relaxing, dining, and nightlife. These neighborhoods together form a rough triangle shape with the Arno River as its northern border, Porta Romana as its southern tip, and with its southeast and southwest borders made up of the Boboli Gardens and Viale Francesco Petrarca, respectively. Via dei Serragli divides the two neighborhoods, with San Frediano to the west and Santo Spirito to the east.
The Best Hotels in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
- Hotel Lungarno • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 27261
- Palazzo Magnani Feroni • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 239 9544
The Best Restaurants in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
- Trattoria Giovanni • $$-$$$ • Traditional Tuscan recipes with exceptional wine in casually elegant setting.
- Momio • $$$$ • Creative, contemporary dining, fusing flavors from around the world; excellent for brunch or dinner.
- Rasputin • $$-$$$ • Upscale, romantic speakeasy serving meticulously crafted cocktails.
- Mad Souls and Spirits • $$ • The best bar in Florence. Amazing drinks, friendly faces, and a lively atmosphere.
- Cantina del Gelato • $ • Handmade gelato with traditional and creative flavors. Try the black rice gelato.
San Lorenzo and San Marco
San Lorenzo and San Marco, both named for their centuries-old churches, lie to the north of the City Center and to the northeast of the train station, with San Marco forming the northern boundary of the historic center. San Lorenzo Church was designed by Brunelleschi and its complex houses the Medici Chapels. San Marco Church and its convent (now a museum), just a few blocks northeast, make up a smaller complex filled with the frescos of Fra Angelico. The biggest draw to this area is the San Lorenzo Market. The Market has two stories, with vendors on the ground floor selling fresh and local produce, meats, fish, wines, pasta, and honey, while the upper level is an amazing food court with stalls offering a wide range of cuisines and specialty foods, like truffle-based dishes, a Tuscan wine bar, and more. The outdoor market stalls offer leather goods, accessories, and souvenirs. San Lorenzo boasts tons of affordable restaurants and with a new bar scene popping up. San Marco has a few great restaurants of its own, with fewer bars in the area, making for quieter evenings.
The Best Hotels in San Lorenzo and San Marco
- Room Mate Luca • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 264 5539
- Palazzo Lorenzo Boutique Hotel • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 532 1422
The Best Restaurants in San Lorenzo and San Marco
- Trattoria Mario • $$-$$$ • A genuine Florentine experience, Mario’s is open for lunch only and serves local favorites at communal tables, cram packed with locals and travelers alike.
- Ciro & Sons • $$-$$$ • Glitzy, fun Italian restaurant, serving Florentine and Neapolitan favorites, with a huge selection of gluten-free pizzas and pastas – truly a rare find.
- Sabor Cubano • $$-$$$ • Cuban cocktail bar, serving refreshing mixed drinks with live music in a chill environment.
- La Divina Enoteca • $$-$$$ • Fantastic wine bar specializing in boutique Tuscan wines, and serving local cured meat and cheese plates for an aperitvo.
- Vivanda • $$-$$$ • Eco-chic, organic, vegetarian restaurant that makes their own organic wines.
San Niccolo and Piazzale Michelangelo
San Niccolo makes up the eastern third of the Oltrarno area, while Piazzale Michelangelo is set just to the south, overlooking San Niccolo and the Florence city skyline. These areas are just on the outskirts of town, outside the boundaries of the ancient city walls. San Niccolo has an artsy feel to it with a few galleries and street art, but as soon as you reach the rolling hills you’ll find olive groves, gardens, small farms, and even a few tiny vineyards (though you’ll find even more by venturing just a bit further south toward the Chianti Colli Fiorentini region). Despite the hilly landscape’s remote, countryside feeling, travelers can still walk down to the city center in about thirty minutes. They’ll probably prefer to catch a ride back up, though; it can be quite a hike! This area is ideal for romantic getaways for couples, thanks to its stunning vistas, while families will enjoy the extra space hotels here provide, many with gardens, pools, and extra-large suites and villas. Restaurants and bars are few and far between in the hills surrounding the Piazzale, but there are several in San Niccolo close to town.
The Best Hotels in San Niccolo and Piazzale Michelangelo
- Art Hotel Villa Agape • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 22 0044
- Villa la Vedetta • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 681631
The Best Restaurants in San Niccolo and Piazzale Michelangelo
By far the biggest draw to this neighborhood is the Galleria dell’Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s David. The architectural centerpiece of this neighborhood, though, is the Piazza della SS Annunziata, the most harmoniously designed square in the city. Built entirely in the Renaissance style, the piazza is anchored by its namesake basilica, dating from the 1200s, known for its masterful architecture and frescoes. To the east, travelers will find the Ospedale degli Innocente, the first orphanage in Europe (now a museum), built during the Black Plague, when over half of the city’s population was wiped out. Its symmetrical façade with arches and columns was designed by Brunelleschi, then repeated in the building directly opposite one hundred years later, then copied onto the front of the church another eighty years after. Though an important cornerstone in Florence’s history, this square and neighborhood is not as popular for travelers and remains relatively calm, other than the area immediately around the Accademia. There are a
handful of great restaurants in the neighborhood, mostly in the areas bordering San Marco, San Lorenzo, and the City Center. This is an ideal spot for travelers hoping to get away from the crowds, while still being very accessible to the Florence’s top attractions, especially Michelangelo’s David, but also the Duomo, Ospedale, San Marco and San Lorenzo Basilicas. SS Annunziata is bounded by the Duomo to the south, Via Camillo Cavour and the backside of San Marco Museum to the west, five large gardens to the north, and Borgo Pinti to the east.
The Best Hotels in Santissima Annunziata
The Best Restaurants in Santissima Annunziata
- Arà: è Sicilia • $ • Small shop specializing in Sicilian foods, but best known for their gelato and cannoli.
- Novantuno Api • $$-$$$ • Fresh, seasonal menus for breakfast, lunch, and aperitivo. This is a fairly new, local haunt that the tourists haven’t discovered yet.
- Osteria de L’Ortolano • $$-$$$ • Tuscan and regional Italian foods with seasonal dishes. Though you may order a la carte, its best here to get one of their tasting menus, prepared with the best ingredients of the moment, with each course paired with wine, beer, or spirits.
Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella is a large area, running along the Arno River, beginning on the west side of the Santa Trinita Bridge all the way to the highway. The highway and SMN train station form its northern limits, while Via de’Tornabuoni and Via Panzani close it off to the east. The northeastern section bordering the train station is very congested, with travelers hustling to catch their trains or dragging their luggage from the station to the hotel. This is probably the least scenic part of Florence and is very noisy at night, but it is incredibly popular with tons of budget hotels, catering to travelers on quick overnight visits or for those based in Florence while taking a series of day trips. The more southwestern area, especially close to the Arno River, is a quieter area that is home to several luxury hotels, gardens, and restaurants with romantic, river view dining. Stay in southern half of SNM for a laidback getaway with long, riverside strolls, beautiful sunset views, and easy access to San Frediano and the City Center attractions.
The Best Hotels in Santa Maria Novella
- The Westin Excelsior • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 27151
- The St. Regis Florence • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 390 552 7161
- Sina Villa Medici • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 277171
The Best Restaurants in Santa Maria Novella
- Manifattura Tabacchi • $$-$$$ • Retro ‘50s style Italian bar, serving only Italian-made products).
- Antico Caffè del Moro • $$-$$$ • OK, it doesn’t look like much, but this is the spot to hit for super fresh, flavorful, fruit-based cocktail, stuffed with enough fruits to make a meal out of.
- Pensavo Peggio • $$-$$$ • Amazing Florentine and regional Italian dishes in a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrosio
These two neighborhoods on Florence’s east side offer convenience to attractions with plenty of local character. Santa Croce Church is the best known landmark here, a Catholic Church with a huge Star of David on its façade, facing a lively piazza with several bars and restaurants. At its northwestern corner, where Santa Croce meets the City Center, travelers will find the Bargello Museum that houses Donatello’s bronze David, the inspiration of Michelangelo’s better known sculpture. Head north of either of these sights to find yourself in Sant’Ambrosio, the last truly Florentine neighborhood this side of the Arno. This area’s major landmark is the Great Synagogue of Florence in a striking blend of Italian and Moorish architecture. The Sant’Ambrosio Market, open every morning, is also nearby as well as a major flea market on the last Saturday of every month. Santa Croce is bounded by the Arno to the south, Via del Proconsolo to the west, and Via Ghibelina to the north, where it meets the Sant’Ambrosio neighborhood. The highway acts as Sant’Ambrosio’s eastern border, while it Via della Pergola and Borgo Pinti roughly make up its western edge. Stay in these areas for a local, family-friendly atmosphere.
The Best Hotels in Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrosio
- Ville sull’Arno (Campo di Marte, east of Santa Croce) • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 670971
- Hotel Bernini Palace • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 288621
- Relais Santa Croce • Reviews • Hotel phone: +39 055 234 2230
The Best Restaurants in Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrosio
- All’Antico Vinaio • $ • The best sandwiches on the face of the earth! The line will be crazy long, and you might have to eat standing up in the alley but it’s one hundred percent worth it.
- Le Vespe Café • $$-$$$ • The best spot for a hearty brunch: great food, great cocktails, casual ambiance.
- Bitter Bar • $$-$$$ • Experimental, experiential cocktail bar with a Roaring Twenties vibe.
- Il Procopio • $ • Fantastic gelato – traditional favorites along with some more unusual flavors packed with candied orange peel, pistachios, cake bites, and more.
- Florence – Family Hotels
- Florence – Romantic Hotels
- Florence – Cheap Hotels
- Florence – Wheelchair Accessible Hotels
- Florence – Pet-Friendly Hotels
- Florence – Hotels with Private Pools and Jacuzzis
- Florence – Best Restaurants
- Florence – Best Bars
- Florence – Best Gelato
- Florence – Best Wine Tours
- Florence – Airport Transportation
- Florence – Renting a Car
- Florence – Rome to Florence
- Florence – Venice to Florence
- Florence – Pisa to Florence
- Florence – Livorno to Florence
- Florence – Day Trip to San Gimignano
- Florence – Day Trip to Siena