Where to Stay in Florence: Districts and Neighborhood guide

best place to stay in florence italy

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Trying to decide where to stay in Florence? While the city is small, it offers many accommodation options and it can be confusing trying to decide the best location to stay. You’ll want to enjoy all the atmosphere and spirit of the Renaissance city while ensuring that you’re situated in an area close to transport and attractions.

In this article we share our favorite Florence neighborhoods and their advantages and disadvantages depending on your style of travel, budget and intended length of stay. And, to make things even easier, we’ve shared our pick of the best hotels, apartments and AirBnBs in each area.

Summary of the best places to stay in Florence

Here’s a quick summary of Florence’s neighborhoods. For a detailed description of which travelers they suit best read the detailed descriptions including hotel and AirBnB selections below.

  • Centro Storico – Duomo / Uffizi / Ponte Vecchio – best for first time visitors. Easily walk to major sights of the city and enjoy the atmosphere of the Renaissance city. Can be very expensive and crowded especially during peak season
  • Oltrano and Santo Spirito – central neighborhood close to the Arno river with lovely piazza surrounded by cafes and wine bars
  • Santa Croce – neighborhood next to the historic center with a lively local market and large piazza in front of the iconic church
  • San Niccolò / Piazzale Michelangelo – charming neighborhood close to the historic center known for artisan workshops, a thriving restaurant scene and magnificent views of the city
  • Santa Maria Novella (Station area) – well known area for budget accommodation that is convenient but lacks charm unless you choose your accommodation wisely
  • Fiesole – pretty hillside town just 10-15 minutes out of the city with views over Florence

Duomo / Uffizi / Ponte Vecchio Area

accommodation in florence historic center

For first time visitors and those who have only a short time in Florence we suggest staying in the centro storico or historic district. This area is the heart of Florence and here’s you’ll find the magnificent cathedral or duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore – the Uffizi Gallery, and the Palazzo Vecchio. Not to mention the city’s iconic piazzas, shopping streets and many museums and restaurants.

Almost everything you will want to see and do in Florence is within or a short walk from this small area. You can easily reach the Ponte Vecchio, Accademia Gallery (to see Michelangelo’s statue of David) and Pitti Palace in around 20 minutes from central Florence.

The centro storico is so convenient that unsurprisingly it is also the most expensive. Here you will find the most five star hotels in Florence as well as boutique properties with coveted Arno views. However, if you book well in advance you can find reasonably priced AirBnBs and budget hotel rooms too.

Also worth noting that this area does become very crowded especially during peak season between May and October. There is also not much respite from the summer heat. You’ll need to venture further afield if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere or a hotel with a pool.

BEST FOR: All travelers and especially first time visitors wanting to immerse themselves in the Renaissance city

Hotels near the Florence Duomo and Uffizi Gallery

  • LUXURY Portrait Firenze – chic 5 star hotel with panoramic views of the Arno river and steps from the Ponte Vecchio
  • MIDRANGEContinentale – charming 4 star design hotel with magnificent views of the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River
  • BUDGETHotel Perseo – just steps from the Duomo, this modern 3 star hotel even has a rooftop terrace with city views

AirBnBs near the Duomo Florence

Looking for an apartment? We handpicked the best AirBnBs near the Duomo in central Florence – click here to view

Read: our full guide to the most charming boutique hotels in Florence

Oltrarno / Santo Spirito area

airbnb florence santo spirito area

A stroll across the Ponte Vecchio takes you to the Oltrarno district, home of the Pitti Palace and its famous Boboli Gardens. This central Florence neighborhood is quieter and less expensive than the center. Here you find local restaurants and wine bars alongside artisan boutiques selling paper and leather goods and residential buildings.

Stroll away from the Pitti Palace and you’ll discover small cobbled streets and the lovely Santo Spirito area. This neighborhood church has a charming piazza lined with cafes and bars where locals gather at all hours of the day to converse, drink coffee or even better, aperitivo in the early evening. The piazza is a shady open space that is quite rare in the heart of the city making it one of the best places for families to stay in Florence.

When you want to go see the sights it’s just 15 minutes across the bridge to the Uffizi Gallery and little further onward to the Duomo. You’ll find great value AirBnBs, some lovely boutique hotels and luxurious properties with views closer to the river in Oltrarno.

BEST FOR: Foodies and wine lovers seeking an escape from the crowds of the historic center. The area close to Santo Spirito is a good local neighborhood option for families

Oltrarno hotels

  • LUXURYHotel Lungarno – owned by the Ferragamo family, this 5 star hotel sits on the banks of the Arno river
  • MIDRANGEPonte Vecchio Suites – modern 4 star hotel with beautifully appointed rooms with onsite spa and sauna
  • BUDGETHotel La Scaletta – 3 star hotel with modern interiors on the opposite side of the river to the Uffizi Gallery

AirBnBs in Oltrarno / Santo Spirito

Find your perfect apartment stay in Oltrarno and the Santo Spirito district. Some of these stays have views of the Arno River.

Santa Maria Novella / Train station

best hotels florence train station area

Staying close to the station in the Santa Maria Novella district of Florence is a good choice for budget travelers and if you plan to do many day trips by bus or train from the city. As in most European cities, the area around the station is not the most characterful or charming, especially in the evenings. So if that’s important to you then perhaps consider one of the other neighborhoods in the center.

The best area for hotels and atmosphere in this district are found close to the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. From here it is just a short walk to the station and the wonderful Mercato Centrale – an upscale food court above the San Lorenzo street market. Of course the attractions of Florence are within easy walking distance too. It’s just a 10 minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo is even closer.

BEST FOR: Budget travelers and those that prioritize convenience and access to the main train station over atmosphere. Can find lovely properties close to the main piazza

Hotels in Santa Maria Novella

  • LUXURYGrand Hotel Minerva – wonderful hotel with a rooftop terrace and swimming pool with Duomo views
  • MIDRANGEHotel Garibaldi Blu – design hotel with mix of modern and historic features facing the piazza
  • BUDGETHotel Alba Palace – traditional hotel with comfortable rooms close to the train station

AirBnBs in Santa Maria Novella

If you’re looking for an apartment cosy in the Santa Maria Novella district then browse these lovely stays on AirBnB.

Read: The best Florence hotels with pools

Santa Croce

best areas to stay in florence santa croce area

The Santa Croce district is a charming central neighborhood in Florence. Local life centers around the basilica of the same name that has stood on this site for centuries. This is the final resting place of famous Florentines – Michelangelo, Galileo and Macchiavelli – and a must visit site in Florence.

Piazza di Santa Croce is lined with bars and cafes and you can walk a few moments to the covered Sant’Ambrogio market where the freshest fruit, vegetables and local produce are sold every day except Sunday. If you want to discover the city’s artisan heritage, you’ll also find the Scuola del Cuoio (School of Leather) behind the basilica.

You’ll find romantic boutique hotels and great value apartments in this district. They are perfectly situated to access the historic wonders of Florence on foot. It’s a 10 minute stroll to both the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo from the main piazza.

BEST FOR: Those craving a local neighborhood a little quieter than the main tourist area with interesting accommodation options

Hotels in the Santa Croce District

  • LUXURYBaglioni Relais Santa Croce – intimate 5 star hotel with frescoed ceilings in a former palazzo
  • MIDRANGEPlaza Hotel Lucchesi – modern 4 star hotel on the banks of the Arno with seasonal rooftop pool and bar
  • BUDGETHotel Bodoni – traditional hotel with friendly staff in the heart of Santa Croce

AirBnBs in Santa Croce

Feel part of the neighborhood when you stay at one of these charming apartments in Santa Croce.

San Niccolò / Piazzale Michelangelo

florence neighborhoods san niccolo piazzale michelangelo

Across the Arno River from Santa Croce, the San Niccolò district is a labyrinth of cobbled streets hugging the hillside below Piazzale Michelangelo – a renowned viewing point in Florence. This neighborhood has a lively bar and restaurant scene that spills out onto pavements well into the evening. It’s a fun area to stay if you want to get away from the vast crowds in the center. But, you’ll also find some interesting boutiques and ateliers including the incredible workshop of jeweller Alessandro Dari.

Despite its distinctly local feel, San Niccolò is just a short walk over the Ponte delle Grazie to central Florence. This bridge offers that hero shot down the river Arno towards the Ponte Vecchio. So it’s an enchanting way to start and end your days in the Renaissance city. There are fewer hotels in this area but you will find apartments with terraces overlooking the Arno.

BEST FOR: Visitors wanting a thriving local nightlife, scenic city views and artisan workshops to explore close to the center but away from the main tourist zone 

Read: Florence travel guide

Hotels in San Niccolò

  • MIDRANGEHotel Silla – some rooms have river views at this popular hotel with pretty outdoor terrace
  • MIDRANGEHotel David – very popular traditional hotel on the far side of the district, 5 minutes by bus to the center

AirBnBs in San Niccolò

Relax and soak up the neighborhood atmosphere at these handpicked AirBnB apartments in San Niccolò

Fiesole

view of florence from fiesole

Escape to the hill town of Fiesole if you crave quiet accommodation close to Florence. Just 30 minutes by bus into the center, Fiesole gives you the peace and charm of a small Tuscan town with easy access to all the attractions of the Renaissance city. Plus this town offers some of the best panoramic views of Florence and the surrounding countryside. Not to mention its own attractions including a Roman amphitheater.

For centuries, Fiesole has been the country retreat of wealthy Florentines – including the Medici. Here the accommodation options include  large villas, apartments and farm stays as well as the magnificent five star Belmond hotel. Many have pools where you can cool off after exploring under the hot Tuscan sun.

If you’re interested in exploring the towns of Tuscany by car, Fiesole would make a great base as you will find parking much easier than in Florence.

BEST FOR: A quiet escape out of the city or a longer stay in the hills with dreamy views of Florence

 

 

Hotels in Fiesole

AirBnBs in Fiesole

Our pick of the AirBnB properties in Fiesole have all the comforts you need for a longer stay in Florence. Don’t forget the views!

Where will you stay in Florence?

where to stay in florence

The rione or districts of Rome each have their own unique charm. Whether you’re staying for a night or two or are soaking up the city over a week, choose the area that’s right for you and enjoy all that the Eternal City has to to offer on your doorstep. But, if exploring ancient sites, gushing fountains and pretty piazzas is your ideal Roman holiday, you can’t beat staying in the historic center with the Pantheon close by.

Read: our complete Italy accommodation guide

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