Situated about 270 km (168 miles) northwest of Rome, Florence, or as the Italians call it, Firenze is a city of wonders. Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region and is located in central Italy on either side of the Arno River.
It is a picturesque city adorned with hills, bountiful orchards, and vineyards, and home to some of the world’s finest wine, as well as the leading fashion brand Gucci.
Florence is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Italy, however, if you’re planning to visit Florence for the first time, you might feel a little bit lost about where to stay in Florence.
However small, Florence has several distinct areas that vary in culture, flavor, and nightlife. In this article, I have put together a list of the best areas to stay in Florence with pros-cons and hotel recommendations for each area. Let’s get into it!
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Overview of the Neighbourhoods in Florence
Filled with rich culture, Florence is a Renaissance city that is a treat for all. When I say treat, I mean it in every aspect.
Apart from the breathtaking scenic views and renowned art pieces and galleries, Florence also offers an incredible food culture that will surely leave any tourist wanting more.
From the traditional Florentine trattorias to the tastiest street delicacies like gelaterias, Florence really has it all.
But first things first, let’s understand the city’s layout! Florence is a relatively small city (that’s why 2 days in Florence is enough to see all the main attractions), and its center, also called the medieval or the Renaissance heart, is still compact.
Florence’s center lies between the Duomo in the north and the Arno River in the south. To the east of the city center are Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrogio areas, while the Santa Maria Novella area is towards the west.
North of the city center is housed by San Lorenzo and San Marco, whereas Santo Spirito and Piazzale Michelangelo tend towards the south. You will get a pretty good idea of these different areas when you look at the city map below.
If you are wondering where to stay in Florence, this article will help you understand each neighborhood’s unique personality.
Here’s a quick overview of the best areas to stay in Florence with hotel recommendations for each area.
|AREA||BEST FOR||RECOMMENDED HOTEL||MORE HOTELS|
|Piazza della Signoria or Duomo||First-time visitors, Sightseeing||Relais Tosinghi||More hotels in Duomo|
|Santa Maria Novella||Family friendly, Budget friendly||Hotel Croce di Malta||More hotels in Santa Maria Novella|
|San Lorenzo and San Marco||Museums, Budget friendly||Arte' Boutique Hotel||More hotels in San Lorenzo and San Marco|
|Santa Croce||Vibrant nightlife, Bars, Restaurants||Eurostars Florence Boutique||More hotels in Santa Croce|
|San Frediano and Santo Spirito||Local vibes, Affordable nightlife||Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio||More hotels in Santo Spirito|
|San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo||City views, Museums||Art Hotel Villa Agape||More hotels in Piazzale Michelangelo|
|Sant’ Ambrogio||Up-scale restaurants, Nightlife||Hotel Cardinal of Florence||More hotels in San Marco - Santissima Annunziata|
|Florence Hills||Adventurers, Panoramic views||Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel||More hotels in Florence Hills|
Best Areas to Stay in Florence
You’re still not sure where to stay in Florence? Don’t worry, I got you covered! In this article, you will find all the best areas to stay in Florence, together with a bunch of useful information about each area, pros and cons, and some hotel recommendations.
If you’re a visual type, you can use the below map for getting familiar with each area mentioned in this article.
1. Piazza della Signoria or Duomo – Best area to stay in Florence for first-time visitors
Piazza Della Signoria is the heart of Florence. This area is in the city’s center and is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Florence for museums and sightseeing.
All the major sights are either concentrated in this area or are located within walking distance. In Piazza Della Signoria, you will find narrow streets dotted with trendy cafes and high street brand boutiques.
The area’s iconic landmarks include the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with the Duomo and Giotto’s Campanile, the Bargello museum, and the Uffizi gallery. Climbing on top of the Duomo is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Florence where you can get incredible views of the entire city!
You can also walk through the fantastic collection of Italian Renaissance sculptures at the Bargello museum. Piazza della Signoria is a heaven for food lovers and is one of the best areas to stay in Florence for foodies – you can grab a sandwich at I’ Girone De’ Ghiotti, savor a home-made pizza at Gustarium, and sip a cappuccino at Il Vinile.
Pros and cons of staying in Piazza della Signoria or Duomo
- The Duomo area is just 5 minutes walking distance from Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio
- Lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants surround this area
- The area is crowded with tourists
- The area is in high demand, hence the accommodations are usually more expensive than in the other areas
Best places to stay in Piazza della Signoria or Duomo
LUXURY – Brunelleschi Hotel
Set in a restored Byzantine tower, Brunelleschi Hotel is located right next to the Duomo and boasts windows directly overlooking the Florence Cathedral. The property also has two on-site restaurants and guests can have a drink in the Tower Bar as well.
MID-RANGE – Relais Tosinghi
Located right next to the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Relais Tosinghi offers air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms. The staff is known for their kindness and helpfulness and you can also take advantage of the valet parking on-site.
BUDGET – Hotel Costantini
Hotel Costantini is located directly opposite Florence’s Duomo, a 10-minute walk from Santa Maria Novella Station. The spacious guest rooms come with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, and en suite bathrooms. The Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio are both just 5 minutes away on foot.
2. Santa Maria Novella – Best neighborhood to stay in Florence for family travelers
Located on the north side of the Arno river, Santa Maria Novella is home to Florence’s main train station and is one of the city’s most well-connected areas. This neighborhood is just 15 minutes walking distance from Duomo, the city center.
Although living near the train station is very convenient, I advise you to avoid the nearby noisy and chaotic area and move further towards the more pleasant and charming neighborhood hub. If you are traveling with your family, Santa Maria Novella is hands down the best area to stay in Florence.
In this area, you will find the Church of Santa Maria Novella, which is the region’s Dominican church and the city’s first great basilica. This is also the area where you will find Parco delle Cascine, Florence’s historical park which is perfect for family outings.
Also visit the Chiesa di Ognissanti, an important Italian Renaissance church where Botticelli is buried, as well as the Museo Novecento, where you can browse through interesting works of modern art. Another gem is the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy which is the world’s oldest pharmacy.
Pros and cons of staying in Santa Maria Novella
- The area has good access to other parts of the city
- The neighbourhood has the most budget-friendly lodging and dining options
- The areas near the train station may seem shady and are best avoided at night
Best places to stay in Santa Maria Novella
LUXURY – The St. Regis Florence
If you want to stay in a room fit for royalty, look no further than The St. Regis Florence. The rooms have classic Florence furniture with marble bathrooms and a daily buffet breakfast is available.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Croce Di Malta
Just around the corner from Santa Maria Novella Church and the train station, Hotel Croce di Malta is a former convent featuring a lovely inner garden with a swimming pool. The rooftop terrace offers spectacular views over the city’s beautiful domes and bell towers.
BUDGET – Hotel Boccaccio
Hotel Boccaccio is a great budget choice in the neighborhood. Offering a mix of modern comforts and traditional architecture, the hotel has cozy guestrooms with wooden flooring and private bathrooms.
3. San Lorenzo and San Marco – Best areas to stay in Florence for budget travellers
Located north of Duomo, San Lorenzo and San Marco are neighborhoods stuffed with historic palazzis, museums, and churches. You will find many budget accommodations in these areas, making it one of the best areas to stay in Florence.
San Marco houses the San Marco church, Museo di San Marco, and the Accademia Gallery which is home to Michelangelo’s famous David statue. In San Marco, you could also visit the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata and explore the Museo degli Innocenti which houses a wonderful collection of Tuscan art.
On the other hand, San Lorenzo houses the Basilica of San Lorenzo and the Medici chapels. San Lorenzo is a hub for foodies where you could get to savor the authentic Tuscan cuisines. You can never experience Italy at its finest if you haven’t tried a plate of pasta or a pizza at the Trattoria Pizzeria San Gallo!
Pros and cons of staying in San Lorenzo and San Marco
- Both areas are close to the Duomo, the city centre
- Many museums and churches
- Busy and crowded areas
- Be wary of counterfeit products sold in the market
Best places to stay in San Lorenzo and San Marco
LUXURY – Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
Offering a 2-floor spa and Michelin-star restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is next to the botanical gardens of Giardino della Gherardesca. Spacious and bright, the rooms successfully combine Renaissance décor with a wide range of modern facilities.
MID-RANGE – Arte’ Boutique Hotel
Located in the heart of the San Marco neighborhood, Arte’ Boutique Hotel boasts guestrooms equipped with flat-screen TVs, free Netflix, and a private bathroom with amenities. The roof terrace offers sweeping views of the city and the Duomo.
BUDGET – Locanda Dei Guelfi
Located in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, Locanda Dei Guelfi is a great budget-friendly choice. Some of the rooms offer views of the Duomo while guests can also enjoy a buffet breakfast and drinks on a terrace that looks out to the city skyline and the Duomo.
4. Santa Croce – Best area to stay in Florence for vibrant nightlife
Located to the east of Florence’s center, Santa Croce is a neighborhood known for good food, local flavor, and amazing nightlife. Home to the majestic Basilica of Santa Croce, this area has a vibrant culture.
The chapel at the Basilica serves as a resting place for some prominent Italian artists including Michelangelo and Galileo.
Santa Croce is packed with clubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes that attract both locals and tourists. It is the best area to stay in Florence for young people looking for parties and fun.
The neighborhood also houses several flea markets and authentic Tuscan shops. You can also find the Florence National Central Library, Church of Saint Ambrose, and various other attractions in the vicinity.
Pros and cons of staying in Santa Croce
- It is the best area to stay in Florence for party lovers
- Important landmarks are close by
- The area offers the real Italian vibe and genuine Tuscan experiences
- Not suitable for a quiet stay
- Not many hotel options to choose from
Best places to stay in Santa Croce
LUXURY – Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
If you’d like to stay in one of the best Florence hotels with pools, Plaza Hotel Lucchesi is a worthy contender. The hotel boasts air-conditioned rooms, a 24-hour reception, a traditional restaurant, and a stunning rooftop pool overlooking the city.
MID-RANGE – Eurostars Florence Boutique
Just a few steps from Basilica di Santa Croce Church, this hotel offers bright and airy minimalistic rooms. Some of them come with a balcony offering incredible views of the historical center of Florence while the rooftop terrace is a great place for a meal or a drink.
5. San Frediano and Santo Spirito – Best areas to stay in Florence for local vibes
San Frediano and Santo Spirito are great neighborhoods located in the Oltrarno district, south of the Arno river in Florence. If you are looking for a quiet offbeat place to stay in the city, then these are the best areas to stay in Florence for you.
These areas are filled with boutique shops, small cafes, fine dining restaurants, and artisan workshops holding up centuries-old traditions of handicrafts.
These Florence neighborhoods house Palazzo Pitti – the Renaissance palace, and the Boboli Gardens – a historical garden. You can marvel at the elaborate interiors designed by Brunelleschi inside the Basilica di Santo Spirito.
Santa Maria del Carmine is also an important landmark that is the best example of Gothic architecture. You can take night strolls on the Ponte Vecchio bridge, shop for artifacts at the Santo Spirito flea market, and grab a drink at one of the bars or bistros.
Pros and cons of staying in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
- These areas are best for quiet yet lively stays
- Affordable nightlife and bars
- Being offbeat areas, finding transportation can be troublesome
- Major sightseeing destinations are a little away
Best places to stay in San Frediano and Santo Spirito
LUXURY – Hotel Lungarno
Set directly along the banks of the Arno river, Hotel Lungarno features original modern art and 20th-century artwork, including a Picasso and 4 Cocteau paintings. Rooms are decorated with blue tones and come with unique décor.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio
Set in the 13th-century Rossi Tower next to Ponte Vecchio, Hotel Pitti Palace features a panoramic roof terrace with beautiful city views. The rooms at Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio include windows overlooking the Arno River or the surrounding medieval city area.
BUDGET – Horto Convento
Located a 15-minute walk from Santa Maria Novella Train Station, Horto Convento is a great budget choice in the neighborhood. The 4-star hotel has a beautiful garden and offers tastefully decorated rooms with air-conditioning.
6. San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo – Best areas to stay in Florence for city views
San Niccolò lies along the river Arno towards its southern banks, whereas Piazzale Michelangelo is located on the hills south of San Niccolò.
Both these areas offer incredible views of the city, making them amongst the best neighborhoods to stay in Florence for honeymooners and romance seekers. The areas also suit travelers of all budgets and are quieter than the rest of the city’s places.
You can explore the Gate of San Niccolò, located just below Piazzale Michelangelo, admire Florence’s spectacular views. Some of the nicest workshops with unique pieces of art are lined along the streets of San Niccolò.
It’s also home to fantastic museums like Museo Bardini and Museo Casa Siviero. Climb to the best vantage points of Piazzale Michelangelo to take in Florence’s views. This area is best for watching the sunset.
Pros and cons of staying in San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo
- Provides the best view of Florence city
- Accommodations that suit all budgets are available in these areas
- Have quite a smaller number of hotels, hence finding a place to stay is often difficult
Best places to stay in San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo
LUXURY – Villa Cora
Set in a 19th-century building, Villa Cora is surrounded by a park with an outdoor swimming pool. All the air-conditioned rooms at Villa Cora are decorated in classical style with antique furniture and there is a separate wellness area on site.
MID-RANGE – Art Hotel Villa Agape
Located near the Arcetri Observatory in Florence, Art Hotel Villa Agape is surrounded by an 8-hectare park with olive and cypress trees. A free round-trip shuttle service to the city center is available at the property.
BUDGET – Sognando Firenze
Sognando Firenze is a budget-friendly, quiet B&B a few steps from the banks of Arno River, near the panoramic Piazzale Michelangelo. It offers bright rooms with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning.
7. Sant’ Ambrogio – Best area to stay in Florence for foodies
Sant’ Ambrogio is located towards the east of the Santa Croce area. It is a quiet neighborhood known for some of Florence’s best affordable cuisine.
Sant’ Ambrogio houses the city’s oldest Jewish Synagogue – Tempio Maggiore of Florence, whose central-most dome can be viewed from Piazzale Michelangelo.
You can also shop at the Sant’ Ambrogio market, taste the Tuscan cuisines at Trattoria Da Rocco, savor authentic Jewish cuisines at Ruth’s, and drink the best Tuscan wines.
Sant’ Ambrogio also houses the Church of Saint Ambrose, a Roman Catholic church. At night, the neighborhood attracts a young crowd to its bars and upscale restaurants.
Lots of accommodation options are available in this area both for luxury and budget travelers. This is the best area to stay in Florence for tourists on a budget trip who still want to reside centrally.
Pros and cons of staying in Sant’ Ambrogio
- This is the best neighborhood to stay in Florence for food and restaurants
- A safe place for families
- The area can become noisy during the nighttime owing to parties and live bands
Best places to stay in Sant’ Ambrogio
LUXURY – Hotel Regency
Situated in a quiet, residential area, Hotel Regency is hidden away from the busy city center, yet only 10 minutes from Florence’s main tourist sights, including the Accademia Gallery. All rooms have been individually decorated in a charming Tuscan style and contain the finest of furnishings.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Monna Lisa
Located in the historic center of Florence, Hotel Monna Lisa is set in a 15th-century building, 5 minutes walk from Florence Cathedral, the Duomo. It is surrounded by peaceful, landscaped gardens. Rooms at the Hotel Monna Lisa are all unique and designed differently.
BUDGET – Hotel Cardinal of Florence
This amazing budget-friendly 3-star hotel is just 300 meters from the Duomo. Guests can enjoy breathtaking views from the rooftop terrace, where breakfast and aperitifs are served. The rooms are air-conditioned and have satellite TV.
8. Florence Hills – Best place to stay in Florence for adventurers
If you are using Florence as a base to explore the other places in Tuscany, then the hills are the best place to stay in Florence for you. Hills surround the city on three sides that offer an opportunity to be close to the city yet enjoy the countryside’s quietude.
Staying in Florence Hills helps you to get away from the maddening crowd of the compact city. It also enables you to find relief from the heat and dust of the summer months.
Some of Florence Hills locations include Porta Romana and Evangelical Cemetery at Allori in the south, and Fiesole in the north.
The Florence Hills are the best areas to stay in Florence for travelers who love walking, and hiking, and those looking for an off-the-beaten-track or laidback experience.
Pros and cons of staying in Florence Hills
- You get the best panoramic views of Florence city
- Availability of public transportation to the center of the city
- Far off from the major tourist attractions in Florence
- Can be a bit expensive
Best places to stay in Florence Hills
LUXURY – Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel
Offering panoramic views of Florence, Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence is a former monastery nestled on a hilltop amid lush trees and terraced gardens. The elegant rooms come with terracotta floors and Carrara-marble bathroom.
MID-RANGE – FH55 Hotel Villa Fiesole
Featuring panoramic views of Florence from its breakfast terrace, this Fiesole hotel is surrounded by wooded gardens. It offers a restaurant, a pool, and elegant air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and free Wi-Fi.
BUDGET – Hotel Villa Bonelli
Situated in the old Etruscan village of Fiesole, Hotel Villa Bonelli is surrounded by a magnificent landscape of green hills, overlooking Florence. There is a terrace and bar on site, and rooms come with air-conditioning.
After Rome and Venice, Florence is the third most visited city in Italy. So, while it is a must-visit city, you need to plan things ahead of time. While you can cover the major tourist sights in just 2 days in Florence, if you want to experience the soul of Florence, you might require more time.
Whether you are an art connoisseur, foodie, or party lover, this city has something special for everyone on every budget. I hope you liked this article about the best areas to stay in Florence and you will easily find the perfect accommodation for your needs on your next trip to Florence.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Do you know some other great neighborhoods to stay in Florence that I should include in this list? Let me know in the comments!
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