Where to Stay in Florence: Hotels by District

Cityscape of Florence
Photo by SerrNovik/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by Nicky Swallow, The Telegraph, February 4, 2019

A neighbourhood guide to the best areas to stay in Florence, as chosen by our resident expert, including the best hotels near to the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and the Piazza Santa Croce, as well as the districts of Santa Maria Novella, the Oltrarno and the hills. 

The Duomo and Piazza della Signoria

For many centuries, Florence’s religious and civic heart has been centered around the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria. Today, the main drag that runs between the two throngs with tourists and the inevitable accompanying food outlets, market stalls and souvenir shops. If you want to be in the thick of things – and on the doorstep of such sights as Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome, the ancient Baptistery, medieval Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi gallery – this is where to make your base.

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Fashionistas will find rich pickings among the designer stores of elegant Via Tornabuoni, and there are also lots of good shopping opportunities in the streets between the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio to the south. Grandiose it all may be, but you’ll need to go further afield if you are after a slice of local life – to the north lies Piazza San Marco, its adjacent convent decorated with superb frescoes by Fra Angelico, and a quiet, mainly residential neighbourhood.

Where to stay

Hotel Savoy Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

A historic hotel with a prime position between the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, and a young, fresh vibe. It offers excellent services and a good restaurant, too. Read expert review. From £353per night. Check availability .Rates provided byBooking.com.

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

This historic hotel, now under dynamic new management, offers classic comforts, bags of atmosphere and a super-central location. An excellent restaurant adds to the attractions. Read expert review. From £161per night. Check availability. Rates provided byBooking.com.

In Piazza della Signoria Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

This 'residenza d'epoca' combines Florentine elegance with exceptionally warm hospitality in an unbeatable location close to some of the city's most popular sights. The personal input of the owners is well over and above the call of duty. Read expert review. From £179per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The best Florence hotels near the Ponte Vecchio

Santa Croce and the east

The wide open space that is Piazza Santa Croce is surrounded by leather shops, markets stalls, restaurants and cafés. To the northeast is the buzzing neighbourhood of Sant’Ambrogio centered around one of the liveliest markets in Florence and characterised by small, independent boutiques, artisan workshops, characteristic restaurants and bars, cafés packed with locals and the odd tripe stand. It has a feel of ‘real Florence’ yet the main sights are only five minutes away on foot. On the doorstep is the church of Santa Croce itself, filled with frescoes by Giotto and Gaddi, the tombs of Machiavelli, Dante et al, the Pazzi chapel, the Bargello museum and the ancient Badia Fiorentina. At night, the square and surrounding narrow streets fill with partying students and late-night clubbers.

Where to stay

1865 Residenza D'Epoca Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

Owned by an Italian opera singer and her Belgian husband, this gorgeous guesthouse offers five modern and elegant bedrooms, and a taste of genteel townhouse living, in the quiet eastern reaches of the centro storico – the historic heart of Florence. Read expert review. From £93per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

Relais Santa Croce Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

This boutique-style, five-star hotel is housed in grand Palazzo Ciofi-Jacometti and will appeal to anyone who cares for a taste of aristocratic living. With the excellent in-house restaurant as well as a three-star Michelin restaurant in the same building, it also has particular gourmet cachet. Read expert review. From £252per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

Le Stanze di Santa Croce Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

Mariangela Catalani’s narrow, pink-hued townhouse always has fresh flowers in the windows and is a homely refuge from the crowds and heat of Florence. In the heart of the Santa Croce neighbourhood, it offers a warm welcome, delightful rooms and an excellent breakfast. Read expert review. From £93per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The most romantic hotels in Florence

Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo and the west

These two medieval parishes stand side-by-side, part of Florence’s ‘centro storico’, and take in a swathe of the city from the northwest bank of the Arno to the main train station and the San Lorenzo market. Stuffed with historic palazzi, museums and churches, both neighbourhoods nonetheless have a more earthy side. The lively market area, home to the Mercato Centrale food hub as well as stalls selling affordable leather, budget clothing and accessories, is full of cheap trattorie and cafés, funky boutiques and ethnic grocer’s shops and teems with a mix of locals and foreigners.

For culture vultures there’s plenty to see: the glorious churches of Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo; the Medici chapels; Ghirladaio’s Last Supper painting in the church of Ognissanti; and Benozzo Gozzoli’s exquisite, jewel-coloured frescoes in the Chapel of the Magi.

Where to stay

J.K. Place Firenze Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

One of Italy’s classiest townhouse hotels, J.K. Place Firenze has been much imitated since its launch, but few of the copies match the warm, suave, elegant original. You’re as likely to find fashion designers launching their Pitti Uomo men’s collections here as couples in town for a long weekend treat. Read expert reviewCheck availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

The St. Regis Florence Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

A hotel in the grand style, the St. Regis offers a wonderful location on the north bank of the Arno, professional yet very pleasant five-star service and all the luxuries you would expect from the brand. The Michelin-starred restaurant is an added bonus. Read expert review. From £438per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

Palazzo di Camugliano Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

If the idea of sampling life in a grand palazzo appeals, this hotel is an ideal choice. With its plethora of original features and air of discreet luxury, the hotel is well placed for visiting the sights yet feels removed from the worst of the crowds. The lovely hanging garden is a delightful surprise. Read expert review. From £157per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The best luxury hotels in Florence

The Oltrarno

The area of the city that lies ‘beyond the Arno’ hugs the south bank of the river, a long, narrow swathe of land that encompasses a number of Florence’s most important monuments (Palazzo Pitti, the Brancacci Chapel, the Boboli gardens and the church of Santo Spirito), some great places to eat and drink and lashings of boho-chic charm. Pretty, tree-filled Piazza Santo Spirito, the hub of the ‘quartiere’, hosts a small market on most mornings where locals still come to shop and gossip about the day’s goings-on. At night, the area fills with a lively mix of students, uber-cool Florentines and tourists; on warm summer evenings, they hang out in the square until the wee hours.

The Oltrarno is famous for its plethora of artisan workshops, and a wander round the narrow cobbled streets around Piazza Santo Spirito, Via Maggio and Piazza Pitti will turn up iron mongers, furniture painters and restorers, upholsterers and book binders. If you are looking for a more authentic Florence, this is a great neighbourhood to be based in.

Where to stay

AdAstra Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

AdAstra is set in the largest private garden ‘intra moenia’ (between walls) in Europe. Inspired by the concept of a Parisian hotel particulier, this boutique hotel has the feel of an aristocratic private apartment which is not far from the truth – the Marchese Torrigiani lives on the ground floor. Read expert review. From £128per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

Soprarno Suites Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

A stylish guesthouse with a spot-on retro vibe and a wonderful location in the hip Oltrarno district, with reasonable prices. This place will appeal to independent travellers and fans of vintage design. Cultural attractions are on the doorstep, including the Pitti Palace and Ponte Vecchio. Read expert review. From £128per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

Hotel Lungarno Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

The Lungarno is the flagship hotel of Florentine fashion heir Leonardo Ferragamo’s Lungarno Collection and the most traditional of the group. It offers an unbeatable location just steps from the Ponte Vecchio, five-star service, magnificent river views, and gourmet dining. Read expert review. From £223per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The best boutique hotels in Florence

The hills

Florence is surrounded on three sides by hills dotted with mellow villas and planted with cypresses and olive groves; in high summer, when temperatures in town soar and humidity levels become unbearable, these suburbs offer cool relief and a sense of rural bliss. Some of Florence’s most exclusive hotels are located here, set in beautiful gardens complete with pools and spas and yet only a few minutes’ shuttle bus ride from the ‘centro storico’ and all it has to offer. This means that you can put in a whole day’s sightseeing in town and be back at your hotel in time for an evening swim and al fresco dinner on the terrace.

Where to stay

Villa Cora Florence, Tuscany, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

A fantasy world of immaculately-restored luxury, Villa Cora is an outstanding hotel offering a superb facilities, impeccable service and a best-of-both-worlds location. The lovely garden and pool are a calm, cool refuge after a hot, sticky day in central Florence. Read expert review. From £252per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith.

Belmond Villa San Michele Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

Villa San Michele — one of Florence’s most expensive hotels — is housed in an ancient former monastery, and combines Renaissance atmosphere with 21st-century comforts galore. For some, the off-radar location will be a boon while others may feel out of things. Note that the hotel closes in winter. Read expert reviewCheck availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

Torre di Bellosguardo Florence, Tuscany, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

A Renaissance villa in the grand style; its original features still intact. The Torre di Bellosguardo offers authentic atmosphere rather than luxury, a superb location away from the crowds and good value. Read expert review. From £113per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.

• The best budget hotels in Florence

 

This article was written by Nicky Swallow from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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