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Updated: April 23, 2022
My Favorite Florence Hotels
• 5-Star: Portrait Firenze
• 4-Star: Spadai
• 3-Star: Alessandra
• Best Boutique: Palazzo Vecchietti
• For Families: Four Seasons
• For Couples: Ville Sull’Arno
• Best Pool: Villa Cora
• Near Duomo: Brunelleschi
• Ponte Vecchio: Portrait Firenze
• Train Station: Sina Villa Medici
Florence Hotels – Tips & Advice
- Best Luxury Hotels in Florence: Portrait Firenze • Four Seasons
- Best Midrange Hotels in Florence: Loggiato dei Serviti • Pendini
- Best Boutique Hotels in Florence: Palazzo Vecchietti • Place Firenze • Brunelleschi
- Best Florence Hotel for Families: Four Seasons
- Most Romantic Hotel in Florence: Ville sull’Arno
- Best Cheap Hotels in Florence: Hotel Alessandra • Hotel City
- The best areas in Florence 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 Niccolò/Piazzale Michelangelo (artsy, residential area with stunning views and 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), and Boboli/San Miniato (rolling hills, romantic gardens, breathtaking views, and a countryside feel)
- 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. 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. 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 compact, with most hotels within 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. 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.
The 25 Best Hotels in Florence
1. Portrait Firenze – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 2726 8000
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 website • Check prices for Portrait Firenze
2. Palazzo Vecchietti – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 230 2802
All-suite, boutique, luxury hotel in a 16th-century palace with ample rooms, penthouses, and suites up to 100 square meters, ideal for families or groups. With twelve 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 4-minute walk to the Duomo, near the Bargello and Uffizi Galleries.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Palazzo Vecchietti
3. Four Seasons – Santissima Annunziata
Hotel phone: + +39 055 26261
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 website • Check prices for Four Seasons
4. Ville Sull’Arno – Campo di Marte, east of Santa Croce
Hotel phone: 39 055 670971
This romantic, boutique resort 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 website • Check prices for Ville Sull’Arno
5. Lungarno – Santo Spirito
Hotel phone: +39 055 27261
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 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 website • Check prices for Lungarno
6. Brunelleschi – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 27370
Refined boutique hotel with unparalleled service and gorgeous rooms, housed in a medieval church and a 6th-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 website • Check prices for Brunelleschi
7. Bernini Palace – Santa Croce
Hotel phone: +39 055 288621
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 website • Check prices for Bernini Palace
8. St. Regis – Santa Maria Novella
Hotel phone: +39 055 27161
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 website • Check prices for St. Regis
9. Westin Excelsior – Santa Maria Novella
Hotel phone: +39 055 27151
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 website • Check prices for Westin Excelsior
10. Art Hotel Villa Agape – San Miniato
Hotel phone: + 39 055 220044
Charming, historic hotel surrounded by seven acres of Renaissance gardens and olive groves in the rolling Tuscan hills overlooking Florence. This 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 San Miniato al Monte church and monastery and the viewpoint of Piazzale Michelangelo.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Art Hotel Villa Agape
11. Golden Tower Hotel & Spa – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 287860
Upscale, boutique hotel near the Duomo with an adults-only spa and well-appointed 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 website • Check prices for Golden Tower Hotel & Spa
12. Palazzo Magnani Feroni – San Frediano
Hotel phone: +39 055 239 9544
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 smartphone 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 website • Check prices for Palazzo Magnani Feroni
13. Room Mate Isabella – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 239 6464
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 website • Check prices for Room Mate Isabella
14. Savoy – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 27351
This fashionable hotel offers well-dressed 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 website • Check prices for Savoy
15. Gallery Hotel Art – City Center
Hotel phone: +39 055 27263
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 website • Check prices for Gallery Hotel Art
16. Room Mate Luca – San Marco
Hotel phone: +39 055 264 5539
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 website • Check prices for Room Mate Luca
17. Sina Villa Medici – Santa Maria Novella
Hotel phone: +39 055 277171
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 garden conservatory. The hotel sits in a quiet neighborhood on the west side of the city, a 10-minute walk to the train station or San Frediano, and about fifteen to twenty minutes to attractions in the City Center.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Sina Villa Medici
18. Relais Santa Croce – Santa Croce
Hotel phone: +39 055 234 2230
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 website • Check prices for Relais Santa Croce
19. Palazzo Lorenzo Boutique – San Marco
Hotel phone: +39 055 532 1422
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 website • Check prices for Palazzo Lorenzo Boutique
20. Place Firenze – Santa Maria Novella
Hotel phone: +39 055 264 5181
One of the first Italian boutiques, with interiors designed by Michele Bonan and offering incredible service and bags of style. Intimate, featuring just 20 rooms inside a stately townhouse on Piazza di Santa Maria Novella; guests are encouraged to make themselves at home. There is an elegant black-and-white bistro and bar with a terrace on the square, basement lounge, and secluded roof terrace. The concierge team is well-connected and dedicated to designing exclusive experiences for guests.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Place Firenze
21. SoprArno Suites – Santo Spirito
Hotel phone: +39 055 046 8719
Charming boutique B&B with a luxury vibe in super cool Santo Spirito. The passionate owners have transformed a 16th-century mansion and filled it with cool retro design pieces and quirky art. Each spacious bedroom has its own theme, from the Traveller’s room to the Printer’s. The cute SottArno café is open from breakfast through lunch to aperitivo; there is also a kitchen for guests’ use with an honesty bar.
• Hotel website • Check prices for SoprArno Suites
22. Palazzo di Camugliano – Santa Maria Novella
Hotel phone: +39 055 265 4578
An aristocratic stay in a 16th-century palazzo, with attentive service, as a guest of the Marchese di Camugliano. Rooms are huge, full of original frescoes and antiques to transport you back in time, but with modern comforts. No restaurant but the free breakfast is made to order, with waiter service; complimentary treats and aperitivo are available.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Palazzo di Camugliano
23. Villa Cora – Boboli
Hotel phone: + 39 055 228 790
Luxury hotel in an opulent 19th-century villa just outside the old city’s southern limit. Its airy hillside location is away from the city’s heat and noise, yet only 15 minutes from the river. Rooms are splendidly classic in style, service is impeccable, and the facilities are great – there is a gourmet restaurant, Le Bistrot, an excellent spa, outdoor heated pool, roof terrace, and ‘VIB’ kids’ club for little ones.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Villa Cora
24. Firenze Number Nine – San Lorenzo
Hotel phone: +39 055 293 777
Sleek urban boutique full of contemporary art, with a special focus on wellness – there’s a spa with a sauna and steam room and a great gym with classes and personal trainers. The location is a winner if you want to be close to the action: on a quiet street around the corner from San Lorenzo and the Mercato Centrale. The hotel has a laidback bar-restaurant and offers free drinks at aperitivo hour.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Firenze Number Nine
25. AdAstra – San Frediano
Hotel phone: +39 055 075 0602
Refined B&B that offers quiet comfort, affordability, and lots of quirky classic/vintage style, from the owners of SoprArno Suites. Inside the beautiful city mansion of the Marchese Torrigiani in cool San Frediano, with access to the famous private garden; the Marchese lives on the ground floor. Rooms are individual, with two located in a garden annex. No restaurant but breakfast is served on a gorgeous wraparound terrace overlooking the garden.
• Hotel website • Check prices for AdAstra
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 • Hotel phone: +39 055 2726 8000
- Palazzo Vecchietti • Hotel phone: +39 055 230 2802
- Brunelleschi • Hotel phone: +39 055 27370
- Golden Tower Hotel & Spa • Hotel phone: +39 055 287860
- Room Mate Isabella • Hotel phone: +39 055 239 6464
- Savoy • Hotel phone: +39 055 27351
- Gallery Hotel Art • 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 • $$$$ • Fine dining with al fresco seating on Piazza della Repubblica.
- Gelateria Edoardo • $ • Organic gelato and seasonal sorbet with vegan options.
- Fusion • $$$$ • Amazing cocktails and Nikkei cuisine, for something completely different.
San Frediano and Santo Spirito
These side-by-side neighborhoods sit in the Oltrarno, the general name for the part of Florence south of the Arno River. A little removed from the attractions of the City Center (though still within walking distance), these neighborhoods evoke a more authentic Florentine feel than any of the areas to the river’s north. Much of the old world charm comes from the abundance of artisan workshops here, with handcrafts still made by generations of cobblers, leatherworkers, and more using traditional methods. Travelers will also find the city’s best restaurants, bars, and music venues here, especially along Borgo San Frediano and near Piazza Santo Spirito. Major attractions here include Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and the Santo Spirito Basilica. This is a fantastic area for travelers who prefer to have access to the city’s attractions, but a more authentic home base for relaxing, dining, and nightlife. These neighborhoods together form a rough triangle shape with the Arno River as its northern border, Porta Romana as its southern tip, and with its southeast and southwest borders made up of the Boboli Gardens and Viale Francesco Petrarca, respectively. Via dei Serragli divides the two neighborhoods, with San Frediano to the west and Santo Spirito to the east.
The Best Hotels in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
- Lungarno • Hotel phone: +39 055 27261
- SoprArno Suites • Hotel phone: +39 055 046 8719
- Palazzo Magnani Feroni • Hotel phone: +39 055 239 9544
- AdAstra • Hotel phone: +39 055 075 0602
The Best Restaurants in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
- Trattoria Giovanni • $$-$$$ • Traditional Tuscan recipes with exceptional wine in casual yet refined setting.
- Rasputin • $$-$$$ • Upscale speakeasy serving meticulously crafted cocktails.
- Mad Souls and Spirits • $$ • 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 • Hotel phone: +39 055 264 5539
- Palazzo Lorenzo Boutique Hotel • Hotel phone: +39 055 532 1422
- Firenze Number Nine • Hotel phone: +39 055 293777
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 Niccolò and Piazzale Michelangelo
San Niccolò makes up the eastern third of the Oltrarno area, while Piazzale Michelangelo is set just to the south, overlooking San Niccolò and the Florence city skyline. These areas are just on the outskirts of town, outside the boundaries of the ancient city walls. San Niccolò 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 couples’ getaways, 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 Niccolò close to town.
The Best Hotels in San Niccolò and Piazzale Michelangelo
- Art Hotel Villa Agape • Hotel phone: +39 055 22 0044
- Villa Cora • Hotel phone: +39 055 228790
The Best Restaurants in San Niccolò and Piazzale Michelangelo
- Osteria Bruciategami • $$-$$$ • Beautiful traditional foods in a relaxed atmosphere, a place to take your time and savor each bite. It’s a little out of the way, but accessible by the #23 bus.
- Boccadarno • $$-$$$ • Cozy, quiet restaurant specializing in Mediterranean seafood delights.
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 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
- Four Seasons • Hotel phone: +39 055 26261
- Loggiato dei Serviti • Hotel phone: +39 39 055 289592
The Best Restaurants in Santissima Annunziata
- Arà: è Sicilia • $ • Small shop specializing in Sicilian foods, but best known for their gelato and cannoli.
- Martarè • $$-$$$ • 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 the 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
- Place Firenze • Hotel phone: +39 055 264 5181
- St. Regis • Hotel phone: +39 390 552 7161
- Westin Excelsior • Hotel phone: +39 055 27151
- Sina Villa Medici • Hotel phone: +39 055 277171
- Palazzo di Camugliano • Hotel phone: +39 055 265 4578
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 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) • Hotel phone: +39 055 670971
- Bernini Palace • Hotel phone: +39 055 288621
- Relais Santa Croce • Hotel phone: +39 055 234 2230
The Best Restaurants in Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrosio
- All’Antico Vinaio • $ • The best sandwiches in Florence. The line will be crazy long, and you might have to eat standing 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.
Boboli and San Miniato
Two upscale, residential neighborhoods south of the Arno River both with plenty of gardens, spacious villas, and spectacular views of the city or Tuscan countryside. Boboli is the westerly neighborhood of the two, located between Santo Spirito and San Niccolò, and includes its namesake Boboli Garden, the 16th-century fortress Forte di Belvedere, with Palazzo Pitti at its westernmost edge. Winding east uphill above San Niccolò leads to San Miniato, known for its thousand-year-old monastery and church San Miniato al Monte, built in the Romanesque style with an elaborate marble façade, a gold mosaic dome above the altar, and a monumental cemetery where Colludi, author of Pinnocchio, is buried. Luxury hotels, grand villas, and charming guesthouses are nestled along the streets in both neighborhoods. Most restaurants are closer to the city center in Boboli and become fewer and farther between heading up into San Miniato.
The Best Hotels in Boboli and San Miniato
The Best Restaurants in Boboli and San Miniato
- Trattoria da Ruggero • $$ • Authentic, rustic, Italian fare served with local wine. The menu is seasonal and handwritten. Open for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner.
- Chalet Fontana • $$$-$$$$ • Farm-to-table dining in a romantic setting with sweeping views, whether dining in their luxurious restaurant in their casual bistrot. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Popular for events.
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What hotels have the best swimming pools in Florence, Italy?
Villa Cora has an outdoor pool heated year-round; as far as I know, it’s the only hotel with an outdoor heated pool in Florence. The Four Seasons is a strong runner-up with an outdoor pool (unheated, open in summer) with an attached, heated jacuzzi (open year-round). The Four Seasons has the best poolside service for sure. Sina Villa Medici also has an outdoor, unheated pool and attached heated jacuzzi; it’s just not as luxe as the Four Seasons. Ville Sull’Arno has a great outdoor, unheated pool and the best of Florence’s indoor, heated pools in its spa.
Hi. We are traveling to Florence in October for 3 nights. I am trying to find a hotel that captures the Tuscan flavor yet is walking distance to attractions. I am trying to keep it around $300 a night. Can you make any recommendations? Lynn
Try the Helvetia & Bristol Firenze – great location that’s walking distance to all the central sights. A little dated but also lots of character (they sort of go hand and hand).
What are the best areas to stay in Florence that is accessible to major tourist places and also easy access to the palazzo dei congress? What hotels would you suggest?
If we want to do a day tour to Siena or Pisa, which one would you suggest and what company would you recommend? What about outlets in the Florence area? any of them easy to access via public transportation?
Thanks again for your most helpful info.
The Grand Hotel Minerva very nice and a 5 minute walk from the Palazzo dei Congressi (and the train station). I’d much rather do a day trip to Siena than Pisa (much more interesting). This Tuscan 1 Day Tour of Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Chianti is great but if you’re only interested in Siena that it’s easy to arrange travel on your own. Take the bus that leaves opposite the Santa Maria Novella. The ride to Siena takes about 75 minutes. The train takes longer, often requires changing trains, and drops you at the Siena train station which is not nearly as central the Siena bus station.
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We are planning to spend over a week in Italy to see everything from Milan all the way to Rome.
We want to see things like Leaning tower of Pisa, Amalfi Coast, Lago di Coma. Would you recommend renting a car or is transportation very easy? We will be using Eurrail for the main cities, not sure if it goes to the smaller ones.
Regarding Cinque Terrre- Do you recommend staying there over night or is one day trip good enough?
What places would you say not to visit in Italy? (Which I know is a tough questions with all the beauty, but we are limited on time and don’t want to waste too much time going out of our way to see little cities).
thank you so much! You’ve been a great help in the past!
Fitting everything into a week is a tough task, but if you move quickly you could just about do it.
A possible itinerary might look something like this. Spend the first day exploring Milan, then head up to Como for a day on the lake. On day three, double back to Milan and pick up a train to Florence. Take a day to explore the city’s Renaissance treasures then push on west to Pisa and the Leaning Tower. Next, head up to the Cinque Terre for some spectacular coastal scenery. Finally, finish up with two days in Rome. As an alternative you could drop the Cinque Terre and build Venice into the route. So, you’d do Milan, Como, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome. To include the Amalfi Coast, which is south of Naples, you’d need to add an extra day or two to the trip. I’d definitely travel by train rather than car. Everywhere on the itinerary is accessible by train and driving in Italy’s main cities can be stressful. A day trip to the Cinque Terre would be fine.
We have a week in Florence, my wife and I (early 40s), and though we aren’t tempted to travel to Pisa, Rome, or Venice, we are considering exploring one or more nearby towns or villages. A few questions I hope you can help with:
–What are the best small towns or villages near Florence for a day trip?
–Is local transport the best/easiest way to reach these towns or should we rent a car?
–Is anything gained by staying a night in any of these towns?
–We love a good boutique hotel, any worth mentioning in the neighboring towns?
Thank you and appreciated,
The classic day trip from Florence is to Fiesole, a hilltop village about 8km out of town. It’s easy to get to by bus and boasts a smattering of ancient ruins as well as superb views of Florence’s skyline.
Slightly further away, the Chianti wine country makes for a great drive. You can take in towns like Greve in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti, famous for its wonderful bistecca (steak). The area is also littered with wineries, some of which you can book to visit. To dine or overnight in the area, I’d recommend an agriturismo (literally a farmstay, but in reality often more like a charming country hotel). They serve seriously good food and wine and many allow you to take a cooking course and cook your own food from the locally grown produce.
Another possible day trip from Florence – and accessible by bus via Poggibonsi – is San Gimignano, a hilltop town celebrated for its medieval towers.
We have a 15 day trip to Florence, Rome, and Naples. (We fly into Pisa on June 1 and fly out of Naples on June 16.) We don’t have any particular interest beyond seeing the main sights and maybe doing a day trip or two (e.g. Pompeii). How would you recommend we split our time between Florence, Rome, and Naples? i.e. How many nights in each? We are very much into food, does one city have a better reputation for great restaurants than the others?
Rome is the largest of the cities and has most to see, so I’d suggest up to six days there. That will allow you to take in all the headline sights and to try at least one day trip – both Ostia Antica and Tivoli are easily accessible and well worth visiting. Five days in Florence should be enough. Once you’ve covered the city, you could spend a day in nearby Fiesole and possibly another day in Siena, one of Italy’s most graceful medieval cities. That leaves four days for Naples and the surrounding area. Pompeii is a must and you might also consider a day trip to Capri, the most famous of the bay islands and an easy hydrofoil ride away.
In terms of food, they all have a good range of restaurants, trattorias, and pizzerias. Florence is famous for its bistecca (steak) and the surrounding Tuscany region produces some of Italy’s best red wines. Naples is, of course, home of the pizza and the city’s pizzerias are legendary. Seafood is also a Naples highlight as are sfogliatelle (pastries stuffed with ricotta).
We are an active couple in their late 20s who love to sightsee, walk, and explore. We can choose between a Florence (and Siena and Pisa) visit in the Spring (probably late April/early May) or Fall (early October), when would you suggest we visit? Budget is not an issue, more concerned about crowds and weather. Perhaps some fun festivals or local events might tip the scales too. Thanks.
Springtime in Tuscany is great, but this is also high season which means the only way you will escape crowds is to pick an unknown destination (or at least less popular than Florence, Siena, and Pisa). However it also means that many of the gardens are in full bloom, for example April and May in Florence is prime-time to visit the Rose garden just below Piazzale Michelangelo and the delicate Iris garden. Fall is also great in Tuscany, in part because of the many food fairs ‘sagre’ around the region. Siena is probably the quietest of the three, people tend to do day-trips there or go for a more tranquil sort of getaway, it is quite beautiful though. Florence will always be full of people, no matter what time of year, but you can always stay somewhere a little more hidden. The Oltrarno area is wonderful, such as Piazza Tasso for a more authentic experience. A new boutique hotel just opened up over there, Astra Due, which is a real find for off-the-beaten-path sort of locations. Pisa is great too, not as much to do as Florence but since many tourists just go to the leaning tower, they almost always skip the charming historical center.
We’re looking for a hotel that is walking distance to Florence (don’t want to have to drive or bus into the city every day) but with great views, a little bit up in the hills. Any suggestions?
It depends on how long you’d want to walk. Take a look at hotels that are around or on Viale Michelangelo, a panoramic area of the city. A few suggestions are Villa Cora (5 star), Villa La Vedetta, (5 star), and Hotel David (3-star). Alternatively, you could go for a hotel in the city that has a panoramic terrace, like the Continentale, Hotel Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1, or Grand Hotel Minerva.
We have one full day and 2 nights in Florence. We’d love to find a great Italian restaurant for one or both nights. Something really authentic and special. Could be a hole-in-the-wall eatery or a 5 star restaurant with great views (budget not an issue). Any suggestions or recommendations?
There are plenty of amazing restaurants in Florence, for something more authentic and hole-in-the-wall go to the no-frills Trattoria Brindellone near the Santo Spirito neighborhood, this is the perfect spot to eat like a Florentine – get the bistecca alla fiorentina (t-bone) and ribollita here. For nicer options, the best in town as far as creative Italian cuisine is the Michelin-starred Bottega del Buon Caffe, and a personal favorite (with great views) is La Leggenda dei Frati in the Villa Bardini museum garden complex. The chef is young and creative and can arrange for a special night-visit of the Museum if you call ahead. It also overlooks Florence so you get a really unique view of the city.
We are planning a trip to Florence in June from Chicago. There are flights to both Pisa and Florence with the fares to Pisa about $95 cheaper. How much more difficult and time consuming is it getting from Pisa airport to Florence than from the local airport. We are a family of 4 so it’s 4×95 which is a fair bit but if it means 2 hours added to our trip I don’t think it’s worth it. What do you think?
t’s very common that flights are cheaper (and more abundant) from Pisa than Florence. Most people who live in Florence regularly fly out from the Pisa airport because it is very easy to reach via train and bus, but of course it depends on how fast you want/need to arrive in Florence. The Terravision website is currently advertising a 4.99€ one-way rate from Pisa airport to the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station. The bus is direct and has a travel time of 70 minutes. While the train costs 9,70 € one-way and has a change at Pisa Centrale (easy but will be more of a hassle with luggage and a family of 4). The Florence airport is definitely more convenient and is a quick 25 minute bus ride from the city center or an easy taxi ride which would cost around €20.00 to €25.00.
We are planning our honeymoon for May. Deciding between The Westin Florence and the Grand Hotel Cavour. Can you offer any insight into the location of these hotels? Looking for something within an easy walk of restaurants or bars. Also, is there a specific area of Florence that is good for nightlife?
One thing to keep in mind is that Florence is very small and walkable. I can tell you that both hotels are great options though I would lean towards the Westin Excelsior because of their prime view along the Arno river and they have an excellent rooftop bar, SESTO, with prime views of the city, even at night. It is still walking distance to everything in the historical center, including nightlife.
The options on where to go out depend on what kind of scene you are looking for. Santa Croce (which is closer to the Grand Hotel Cavour) is the prime spot for American students who prefer to go to places on Via dei Benci or the cheap clubs in the side streets (Bamboo, Red Garter, Dolce Zucchero) – a good option for a bar in that area is Rex on Via Fiesolana, 25, a lot of locals go here and the place is beyond charming.
If you are looking for something a bit more mature – head to Piazza Strozzi or the Oltrarno area of town. Near Strozzi (which is very close to Piazza della Repubblica) check out Slowly bar which has great drinks or nearby club YAB (which can be hit or miss). Otherwise the vibe in Piazza Santo Spirito is always fun, Volume bar often has live music and drinks aren’t too pricey. The options for dancing are quite minimal in the historical center. I do however recommend getting a taxi and heading to Otel or Tenax which are two true European clubs that are worth the 15-20 minute taxi ride. You have to pay an entrance fee, but most nights it’s worth it.