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, flavour, 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 breath-taking 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 centre, also called the medieval or the Renaissance heart, is still compact. Florence’s centre lies between the Duomo in the north and the Arno River in the south. To the east of the city centre are Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrogio areas, while the Santa Maria Novella area is towards the west.
North of the city centre 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 neighbourhood’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 Delle Nazioni||More hotels in Santa Maria Novella|
|San Lorenzo and San Marco||Museums, Budget friendly||Hotel Orto de' Medici||More hotels in San Lorenzo and San Marco|
|Santa Croce||Vibrant nightlife, Bars, Restaurants||La Maison du Sage||More hotels in Santa Croce|
|San Frediano and Santo Spirito||Local vibes, Affordable nightlife||Palazzo Guicciardini||More hotels in Santo Spirito|
|San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo||City views, Museums||Serristori Palace Residence||More hotels in Piazzale Michelangelo|
|Sant’ Ambrogio||Up-scale restaurants, Nightlife||Aria di Casa Apartment||More hotels in San Marco - Santissima Annunziata|
|Florence Hills||Adventurers, Panoramic views||Hotel Torre di Bellosguardo||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 areas, pros and cons, and some hotel recommendations. If you’re a visual type, you can use the below map for getting familiar with each areas 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 centre and is one of the best neighbourhoods 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 areas 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 the Italian Renaissance sculptures at the Bargello museum. Piazza della Signoria is a heaven for food lovers and is one amongst the best areas to stay in Florence for foodies – you can grab a sandwich at I’ Girone De’ Ghiotti, savour 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 – Hotel Spadai
Hotel Spadai, located in the heart of Florence, offers rooms with soundproofing, smart TV, free drinks from the minibar, as well as an extensive American buffet breakfast. The hotel is located 200 m from the Basilica of San Lorenzo and 5 minutes’ walk away from Piazza della Signoria.
MID-RANGE – Relais Tosinghi
Set 100 m from Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Relais Tosinghi offers accommodation in Florence. Each room at this guest house is air conditioned and has a flat-screen TV. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom. There is valet parking at the property.
BUDGET – Hotel Costantini
Hotel Costantini is located directly opposite Florence’s Duomo, a 10-minute walk from Santa Maria Novella Station. WiFi is available throughout. 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 neighbourhood to stay in Florence for family travellers
Located on the north side of 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 neighbourhood is just 15 minutes walking distance from Duomo, the city centre.
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 neighbourhood hub. If you are travelling 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 – Hotel Croce Di Malta
Just around the corner from Santa Maria Novella Church and the train station, Florence’s Hotel Croce di Malta is a former convent featuring a lovely inner garden with swimming pool. The rooftop terrace offers spectacular views over the city’s beautiful domes and bell towers. The rooms offer air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a satellite flat-screen TV.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Delle Nazioni
Hotel Delle Nazioni is 50 m from Florence Santa Maria Novella Station and a 10-minute walk from Florence Cathedral. Its attentive staff provide an extensive buffet breakfast, and free Wi-Fi is available. Rooms at Delle Nazioni are air conditioned and offer satellite TV and a private bathroom. The apartments include a hideaway kitchenette.
BUDGET – Hotel Palazzuolo
The 2-star Hotel Palazzuolo is located in Florence’s historic centre, 600 m from Santa Maria Novella Station and a 10-minute walk from Florence’s cathedral. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout and there is an internet station at reception. The simply furnished, en suite rooms feature wood furniture and wall decorations. Each room is soundproofed and comes with air conditioning and an LCD TV.
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 the neighbourhoods stuffed with historic palazzis, museums, and churches. You will find many budget accommodations in these areas, making it one amongst the best areas to stay in Florence.
San Marco houses the San Marco church, Museo di San Marco, and the Accademia Gallery that is home to Michelangelo’s famous David’s statue. In San Marco, you could also visit the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata and explore the Museo degli Innocenti that 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 savour 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. It offers a wide range of luxury rooms and suites. Spacious and bright, the rooms successfully combine Renaissance décor with a wide range of modern facilities. You will have an LCD TV, DVD player, bathrobes and slippers.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Orto de’ Medici
Hotel Orto de’ Medici features free WiFi, a charming internal garden from the 16th century, and a panoramic terrace with views of Florence. It is a 10-minute walk from the Duomo. Guests can relax in the lounge, decorated with original frescoes and antique furniture. This historic building also boasts a Tuscan stone staircase and a suggestive corridor with vaulted ceilings.
BUDGET – Hotel Lorena
Hotel Lorena offers affordable accommodation and free Wi-Fi in the centre of Florence. Rooms at the Lorena Hotel are complete with a TV and air conditioning, and some rooms offer a view of the Basilica. Breakfast is available on request in the guest rooms or in the breakfast hall.
4. Santa Croce – Best area to stay in Florence for vibrant nightlife
Located to the east of Florence’s centre, Santa Croce is a neighbourhood known for good food, local flavour, 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 party and fun. The neighbourhood 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
Best places to stay in Santa Croce
LUXURY – Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi is 10 minutes’ walk from Piazza della Signoria. It boasts air-conditioned rooms, a 24-hour reception and traditional restaurant. Offering free Wi-Fi, elegant rooms at the Lucchesi come with a satellite flat-screen TV and minibar. An American breakfast is served buffet style and the restaurant also offers local specialities.
MID-RANGE – La Maison du Sage
Set a few steps from Santa Croce Basilica in Florence, La Maison du Sage offers spacious rooms with free WiFi, 800 m form Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Guests enjoy breakfast served daily. All air conditioned rooms at the bed and breakfast come with elegant décor and satellite TVs. Some feature a spa bath, while others are complete with a shower.
BUDGET – Hotel Bodoni
Hotel Bodoni is 500 m from Florence Cathedral. It provides free city maps and free Wi-Fi in public areas. A varied breakfast buffet, with eggs, cold cuts and cheese, is served on its city-view terrace. Rooms and apartments are simply furnished, and each one has air conditioning, a satellite TV, and a private bathroom. The apartment also comes with a fully equipped kitchen.
5. San Frediano and Santo Spirito – Best areas to stay in Florence for local vibes
San Frediano and Santo Spirito are great neighbourhoods located in 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 tradition of handicrafts.
These Florence neighbourhoods 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 artefacts 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
Set in a historic building and featuring free WiFi throughout, Piazza Pitti Palace offers accommodation in Florence, 100 m from Pitti Palace. Each room is air-conditioned and has a flat-screen TV and some rooms have a seating area for your convenience. You will find a kettle and a private bathroom with a bidet and shower.
MID-RANGE – Palazzo Guicciardini
Decorated with 16th-century frescoes, Palazzo Guicciardini is located in Florence, a 5-minute walk from Ponte Vecchio. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout. The bright rooms here will provide you with a flat-screen TV, minibar and air conditioning. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer, slippers and free toiletries. Extras include a minibar and a seating area.
La Torre del Cestello – Residenza d’epoca is situated in the Santo Spirito district in Florence, 500 m from Pitti Palace and 500 m from Strozzi Palace. Offering free WiFi throughout. Each room is air-conditioned and features a flat-screen TV. Some also include views of the river or city. The private bathroom comes with a shower, with free toiletries and a hairdryer provided.
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 neighbourhoods to stay in Florence for honeymooners and romance seekers. The areas also suit travellers 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, to 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 – Torre Mannelli Suites
Offering rooms and suites with a balcony or terrace overlooking Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the historic city centre, Torre Mannelli Suites is centrally located in Florence. It features free WiFi access throughout. Elegantly furnished, accommodation comes with air conditioning. Suites are on 2 levels and include a private steam bath, hot tub and small fitness centre.
MID-RANGE – Serristori Palace Residence
Set on the banks of the Arno River, Serristori Palace Residence offers panoramic views across Florence’s historic centre. Serristori Palace is a converted 19th-century building that now offers comfortable apartments as well as a small garden, laundry room and lounge area. Each apartment is air conditioned and comes with wood floors, satellite TV and complete cooking facilities.
BUDGET – Hotel Villa Carlotta
Villa Carlotta is a 19th-century country manor surrounded by parks and gardens. Each room comes with air conditioning, satellite TV, and elegant parquet floors. The style is classic, with chandeliers, and furniture in lacquered wood. At Hotel Villa Carlotta you can relax out on the veranda and in the garden. Take a bicycle at reception and go through the pretty Boboli Gardens to reach Pitti Palace.
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 neighbourhood 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, savour on authentic Jewish cuisines at Ruth’s, and drink the best Tuscan wines.
Sant’ Ambrogio also houses Church of Saint Ambrose, a Roman Catholic church. At night, the neighbourhood attracts a young crowd to its bars and upscale restaurants. Lots of accommodation options are available in this area both for luxury and budget travellers. This is the best area to stay in Florence for tourists on a budget-trip but still want to reside centrally.
Pros and cons of staying in Sant’ Ambrogio
- This is the best neighbourhood to stay in Florence for food and restaurants
- Safe place for families
- The area can become noisy during the night time owing to party and live bands
Best places to stay in Sant’ Ambrogio
LUXURY – Hotel Regency
Facing lush, green parkland on one side and a historic square on the other, this hotel, one of the leading small hotels of the world, offers unparalleled service, with attentive, professional staff and beautiful accommodation. All of Regency’s luxurious rooms have been individually decorated in a charming Tuscan style and contain the finest of furnishings, along with all modern conveniences.
MID-RANGE – Aria di Casa Apartment
Situated in Florence, Aria di Casa Apartment offers self-catering accommodation with free WiFi. The air-conditioned unit is a few steps from Santa Croce Basilica. There is a seating area, a dining area and a kitchen equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine and microwave. Towels and bed linen are offered in this apartment.
BUDGET – Palazzo Graziani
Set in Florence centre, 400 m from Sant’Ambrogio Market, Palazzo Graziani features a terrace, as well as free WiFi. All guest rooms in the bed and breakfast are fitted with a flat-screen TV. The private bathroom is equipped with free toiletries and a hairdryer. Strozzi Palace is 900 m from Palazzo Graziani, while Santa Maria Novella is a 12-minute walk from the property.
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 summer months.
Some of Florence Hills locations include Porta Romana and Evangelical Cemetery at Allori in the south, and Fiesole in the north. Hills are the best areas to stay in Florence for travellers who love walking, 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 centre of the city
- Far off from the major tourist attractions in Florence
- Can be a bit expensive
Best places to stay in Florence Hills
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. A kids activities are provided here. Wi-Fi and parking are free. An American breakfast is served daily.
MID-RANGE – Hotel Torre di Bellosguardo
Hotel Torre di Bellosguardo has a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Florence. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Hotel Torre Bellosguardo rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. A continental breakfast is available each morning at the accommodation.
BUDGET – Casa con Vista su Firenze
Featuring garden views, Casa con Vista su Firenze in Florence features accommodation, a restaurant, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge, a garden and a tennis court. The accommodation has a spa bath. All units here are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen TV, a living room with a sofa, a well-equipped kitchen with a dining area, and a private bathroom with hot tub and a hairdryer.
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 a party lover, this city has something special for everyone at 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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