Firenze it is small: it has just over 350.000 inhabitants, much smaller than my beloved Genoa, and it is easily visited in just one day!
Despite this, if you decide to stay one or two nights here, each area of Florence has its own specific characteristics and therefore choose the right area where to sleep in Florence for sure it will make a difference in your journey.
What is the best area to sleep in Florence?
It depends on what you are looking for: most of the most famous attractions are obviously located in the city center, but the prices are higher.
Since getting around is quite easy, perhaps deciding to stay right in the center is not the best choice if you want to spend little (it also depends on how many nights you decide to do): don't worry, it's so easy to get around Florence that, even if you decide to stay in a hotel a little further away, you will have no problem reaching all the places you want to visit!
In this post you will find some useful tips on where to sleep in Florence with useful tips and the best areas depending on the various needs for which (I hope) to help you make the right choice!
NOTE: : As always, make sure you book your accommodation in Florence as early as possible. Considering that this is not the cheapest destination in Italy, prices will increase dramatically especially during the high season!
Are you ready? Let's start discovering everything you need to know to sleep in Florence!
- Overview of the districts of Florence with map
- 1 - Best neighborhood in Florence to visit the city: Center (Duomo and Piazza della Signoria)
- 2 - Sleeping in Florence on a budget: San Lorenzo and San Marco
- 3 - Where to sleep in Florence for Foodies: San Frediano and Santo Spirito, Santa Croce
- 4 - Where to sleep in Florence with children: Sant'Ambrogio, Santissima Annunziata, San Niccolò and Piazzale Michelangelo
- 5 - Where to sleep in Florence for a local atmosphere: San Lorenzo and San Marco, Santa Croce and Sant'Ambrosio
- 6 - Where to sleep in Florence near the station: Santa Maria Novella
- Sleeping in an apartment in Florence
- Sleeping in Florence: Useful Tips
Getting around Florence and getting an overview of the areas is not difficult. Taking the Arno and the cathedral as a reference, the other districts are, let's say, radiating around it.
If you want to treat yourself to a TOP holiday with all the comforts and you don't have budget problems, stay in Town center it is near to Santa Maria Novella is the best choice. Here you will find many luxury hotels within walking distance of the most important things to see!
If you are looking for something cheaper, direct your choice towards the neighborhoods of San Frediano, Holy Spirit, San Lorenzo e Saint Mark.
ARE YOU IN A HURRY?
La best area to stay in Florence for first-time visitors it is the Duomo and the area around Piazza della Signoria. This is considered the center of Florence.
Yes, in addition to the Duomo, this is the place where the Uffizi Gallery!
Look at these hotels:
Best luxury hotel in Florence: Portrait Florence
Best Boutique Hotel in Florence: Palazzo Vecchietti
Best mid-range hotels in Florence: Loggiato dei Serviti e Hotel Pendini
Best cheap hotels in Florence: Hotel Alessandra
See the Hotels in the Historic Center
Below is a quick one overview of the various districts with the pros and cons of each, while, later in the article, we will go into more specifics of each area and we will see together some of the best hotels around.
Florence is by definition a medieval and Renaissance city: its heart lies between the Duomo to the north and the river Arno e Old Bridge to the south.
The streets here are often crowded (especially during holidays or weekends!), But this is where Florence's status as a cultural force finds its true expression: every corner is overflowing with museums, small squares, fountains, churches and imposing palaces.
Of course, here you will also find upscale, expensive restaurants and bars and even some tourist traps. It is not the place if you are looking for tranquility, but if you have little time in Florence, you want to have everything at your fingertips and you don't care what you spend, then book here without a doubt.
If you move east from the center you will find the Santissima Annunziata, a Renaissance square and one of the most visited corners of Florence: here you will find the headquarters of the David of Michelangelo, the Accademia Gallery.
In the square you will find its medieval basilica of the same name (rich in Renaissance and Baroque frescoes, paintings and sculptures) and theHospital of the Innocent (the first orphanage in Europe, now a museum and institute for children's rights).
Although close to all of Florence's most famous attractions, this neighborhood remains fairly quiet so it's a good choice, although obviously having the Accademia Gallery within walking distance has its pros and cons (lots of tourists during the day!).
Going further east they are found the districts of Santa Croce and Sant'Ambrogio.
Santa Croce is centered on the splendid basilica of the same name. Less touristy than the two previous places, it is a great place if you are looking for a more "local" life.
If you are young and you like the nightlife, this could be the right choice: the bars and clubs are wasted and even the most demanding hipsters will find something for their teeth.
Santa Croce and Sant'Ambrogio are also quite quiet and therefore could be a good choice for families with children.
West of the Ponte Vecchio, or south of the Duomo and Santa Maria Novella, in the Oltrarno (on the other side of the Arno) up to Porta Romana are San Frediano and Santo Spirito.
Oltrarno literally means “across the Arno”, which more or less explains the positioning of this area: in practice it is located on the other side of the river with respect to the Duomo.
The whole neighborhood is quieter than the Duomo area, but I assure you it is not boring at all: here you will find many trattorias, cafes, wine bars and souvenir shops that sell everything and where you can taste some dishes not to be missed (such as ribollita).
Some of the attractions that are found "Oltrarno" are Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens. Or you can just take a walk around Piazza Santo Spirito: it's a perfect example of the real atmosphere of this area!
This neighborhood is very nice during the day, but it comes to life at night and you can choose between several pubs and clubs where you can dance until your feet are gone.
Let's now go to the opposite side from the center: to the North. Here you will find the two districts of San Lorenzo and San Marco, the best for those looking for a place close to the center, but on a slightly lower budget.
Once they were the poorest neighborhoods, especially when approaching the Santa Maria Novella train station, today they are quite elegant, but a little less crowded with tourists than the center. These two neighborhoods are very similar, quite small and next to each other - this is why I decided to merge them into one larger area.
Home of the opulent Medici Chapels and of the beloved Central Market, these areas will satisfy the appetite for culture as well as food. However, for gluttons like me, here you can find excellent local restaurants and, for those who are black belts in shopping, vintage boutiques where you can spend a few half days browsing to find that t-shirt you have wanted for a lifetime.
Some of the must-see places in the surrounding area are there St. Mark's Church (located in the center of Piazza San Marco, of course), the Church of San Lorenzo, National archeologic museum and San Lorenzo market (also known as Central Market).
West of the area is located Santa Maria Novella, between the main train station and the river.
The shopping here is some of the best in town and there are some exceptional luxury riverside hotels, but also a few cheaper options as you get closer to the station.
The heart and soul of the city lies in the area around the Duomo e Piazza della Signoria: The narrow, cobbled streets of the city center are filled with iconic places that you will absolutely visit.
As this area is the most important epicenter of the city, of course the hotels here are also some of the most expensive, but "hey here you'll be right in the middle of the action!"
Put in all the ingredients for a perfect holiday: you are in the middle of the best preserved Renaissance historical center in the world, between the medieval Ponte Vecchio (girls, look at its jewelery shops !!!) and the Duomo, the majestic Palazzo Vecchio and the incomparable collection of the Uffizi Gallery.
Hotel Bernini Palace - This five-star hotel in a XNUMXth century palace stands out for its regal décor, impeccable staff and fantastic cuisine, all in a great location for visiting Florence.
Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy - Another great hotel especially for families with children: the rooms are well furnished and the kitchen is fantastic.
Hotel Alessandra - If you want to spend a little less, but stay on an upper-middle range, this hotel is located in the heart of Florence right next to the Uffizi Gallery, a great advantage to be able to visit! Built in a 1507 residence and run by the same Florentine family since 1970, this boutique hotel features cozy rooms and spacious suites with a rich breakfast.
Davanzati Hotel - near the Duomo of Florence, in one of the most beautiful districts of the city. This is a cozy boutique hotel in the heart of the city offering a wide range of accommodation, from cozy double rooms to 3 bedroom family suites.
Hotel Dali - Want to be in the middle of the action without having to pass out? Here is the option you are looking for: located in the heart of the neighborhood, the staff are friendly and the rooms very clean.
Hotel Bavaria - In case you haven't found the perfect budget hotel in Florence yet, I'm sure you'll love this one! It is close to all the major attractions you would like to visit and the decor is very stylish and cute!
Other Hotels near the Duomo
The area around St. Mark's Square (not to be confused with that of Venice, though!) and San Lorenzo are certainly one of the best areas of the city for those who want to sleep in Florence on a budget, but without straying too far from the city center - you are in fact a 10-minute walk from the Duomo .
Some of the must-see places in the surrounding area are there St. Mark's Church (needless to say obviously located in the center of Piazza San Marco), the Church of San Lorenzo, National archeologic museum and San Lorenzo market (also known as Central Market), where you can find fresh produce, sit back and enjoy a dish before resuming your visits.
Caravaggio Hotel - Located in an old 800th century building, the hotel is equipped with all comforts plus a beautiful hall. The Hotel Caravaggio Firenze can be reached on foot from the central station, Santa Maria Novella, as well as from the Fortezza da Basso exhibition center, Palazzo dei Congressi and Stazione Leopolda, where international trade fairs and congresses take place.
Hotel Art Atelier - Here is another excellent choice of luxury in one of the best neighborhoods, an intimate and welcoming 4 star hotel close to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, in an ideal position to reach the Santa Maria Novella train station and all the main attractions of the city simply by walking on foot.
Hotel Casci - Fantastic small family hotel on the second floor of a 150th century building. The tidy rooms are simply furnished perhaps a little small, but they also offer large four- and five-bed rooms for families. The Casci hotel is located in the heart of the historic center of Florence, just XNUMX meters from the Duomo and the Academy of Fine Arts (David), 10 minutes walk from the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio.
Globus Urban Hotel - Fabulous food, unique urban décor, a superb location right in the center of the neighborhood - these are just some of the benefits this property has to offer. By the way, some of the rooms here offer a view over the most beautiful rooftops of Florence!
HomEdo B&B - Do you want to visit Florence on a budget? No problem, it's totally feasible, especially if you book a room in this property located in the San Lorenzo and San Marco areas. Believe me, you can't get bored here no matter if you visit it during the summer or December!
Lorraine Hotel - Here is another great place for those traveling to Florence on a budget. The location is really great, as you will be within walking distance of all the famous attractions in the neighborhood and in the city. By the way, breakfast can be served upon request if you wish!
Other Hotels in San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo is a must for food lovers: in the Central Market you will find fresh produce and gourmet food stalls, and a selection of excellent restaurants, from authentic Trattoria Mario to the newcomer Housewife.
The problem with Florence is that the food is good everywhere, but you have to be careful and do the slalom among the tourist traps that pop up everywhere.
The smaller areas of Santo Spirito and San Frediano are part of a larger neighborhood called Oltrarno and are all great choices for foodies interested in trying some authentic Tuscan dishes.
Both in Santa Croce and in San Frediano and Santo Spirito you will find a wide range of restaurants and trattorias with excellent food and often at reasonable prices.
But this area is not only the best for gourmets, but also for the nightlife.
Here it's chock-full of places to get your fill of craft beer, listen to live music, or even watch movie screenings!
Piazza Pitti Palace - Vintage Residence - This is a great option if you want to be close to the Arno River and all the famous attractions and activities this wonderful city has to offer! Oh, by the way, the decor here is simply unbeatable - everything looks like a Michelangelo painting!
Horto Convento - If you are looking for a luxurious and comfortable stay, you will definitely love this 4 star accommodation! Located right next to Piazza del Carmine, the Horto Convento hotel is a magnet for both business and leisure travelers, thanks to its warm and inviting atmosphere.
Horto Convento is a mix of contemporaneity and tradition combines an expansive atmosphere with the intimacy of home.
Piazza del Carmine - If you love culture and want to stay a few steps from Piazza Santo Spirito, then book here and you can enjoy beautiful rooms, a great daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi and many other great services.
Hotel Annalena - This property is located right in the heart of the Oltrarno district, not far from Piazzale Michelangelo and many other interesting places. The staff is very kind just ask and they will recommend the most suggestive itineraries, outside the main tourist routes, so you can savor the authentic taste of the city.
Other Hotels in San Frediano
4 - Where to sleep in Florence with children: Sant'Ambrogio, Santissima Annunziata, San Niccolò and Piazzale Michelangelo
Santa Maria Novella it is conveniently located between the main train station, the city center and the river. It is close to all the great historical attractions and the huge Cascine Park to the west, and proximity to the station means easy day trips to Tuscany and beyond.
San Niccolò e Piazzale Michelangelo they are quieter and more residential than downtown, with beautiful parks including Rose Garden. The hotels here often have gardens and can even boast a swimming pool.
Sant'Ambrosio and Santissima Annunziata offer easy walking access to Florence's main attractions and restaurants, while remaining calm and quiet throughout the night.
If you decide to stay in Sant'Ambrogio you can get away from the tourist crowds around the city center, you can get a taste of local life, but you will still be close to the main attractions to visit (and by close I mean a 15 minute walk).
5 - Where to sleep in Florence for a local atmosphere: San Lorenzo and San Marco, Santa Croce and Sant'Ambrosio
To mingle with the locals, head to Central Market, the favorite food market in Florence, a San Lorenzo.
The area is also full of authentic trattorias and independent shops. To the east, near Santa Croce, is the smaller but much loved one Sant'Ambrogio market.
The streets around are lined with excellent cafes and restaurants which attract locals, students and tourists. For people watching, head to the lovely Piazza di Santa Croce.
Santa Maria Novella is a large and varied area that extends west of Via de Tornabuoni, between the central station and the river. Although the station is very convenient, avoid the rickety area around and head towards the lively one Square of Santa Maria Novella and its beautiful church.
Between here, downtown and the river, you'll find excellent shopping and a myriad of trendy boutiques, galleries and vintage shops.
Near the station you will find cheaper hotels, while if you decide to get closer to the river you will find nicer hotels, bars and trendy clubs.
B & b Kingsman - This is another great choice if you want some convenience and easy access to day trips thanks to the proximity to the train station. By the way, this cozy bed and breakfast includes a delicious breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
Hotel Bella Florence - Contemporary and intimate hotel with eleven sunny rooms, all with a welcome bottle of wine, A / C, free wifi and free breakfast. The rooms can accommodate a maximum of three people, making it more suitable for couples or small families (children receive a free gift on arrival)
Lucretia House - Last but not least, here is another great choice for any traveler who wants a cheap place in Santa Maria Novella. This is actually a very tasteful guest house with bright and clean rooms, free Wi-Fi, free toiletries, and very friendly staff.
Other Hotels in Santa Maria Novella
Some tourists prefer stay in the apartment rather than in the hotel. I have repeatedly said in this blog that I do not like it as a solution for a series of reasons that I will not specify, but there are certainly some positive sides.
- 1 - maybe it helps you save. An apartment generally costs less than a hotel, also because it obviously offers fewer services, but if these services do not interest you (such as breakfast included for example) then ok.
- 2 - you can try a little more "Italianness"
- 3 - you are in a group with friends: in this case, if you are a nice group, an apartment is an excellent choice even if, of course, I would choose a hostel (but vabbeh this is my problem ha ha)
In Florence there are many apartments or rooms for rent on Airbnb.
Pitti Luxury Terrace - great for families (2 bedrooms) this apartment is located in the center of Florence, just 100 meters from Palazzo Pitti. It offers free WiFi, a terrace and air conditioning.
Tornabuoni Suites Collection Residenza D'Epoca - Look what a terrace it has! Perfect for summer dinners! The suites are elegant with all comforts and are located just 300 meters from Ponte Vecchio. One of the best choices of apartments in Florence.
Granduomo Charming Accomodation - this aparthotel gives you the chance to sleep right in front of the Florence Cathedral with a crazy view of Brunelleschi's Dome. The apartments are located in an XNUMXth century Florentine mansion and the suites are elegantly furnished with wooden floors and refined Italian furniture.
Most of the hotels in Florence are located in historic buildings and subject to strict guidelines for renovations, which means that many hotels do not have elevators.
If you have reduced mobility, make sure the hotel has an elevator or book a ground floor room. Also ask for photos of the room to see that it is easily accessible.
City tax: Florence hotels are required to collect a city tax which is charged separately from the room rate.
Many hotels require this fee to be paid in cash rather than by credit card, and some require payment at check-in.
Some hotels hold guest documents. A good practice is to take copies with you, both to avoid having to go around without documents, and in case of theft.
Florence is, in general, a city where visitors can feel safe. In particular, the more residential areas - in Santa Croce and Sant'Ambrogio, or throughout the Oltrarno, including San Frediano, Santo Spirito, San Niccolò and Piazzale Michelangelo - are very safe.
Tourists should simply take the usual common sense precautions, such as being careful not to leave things unattended or valuables in plain sight and not wandering through desolate streets at night.
Congested and touristy areas tend to be the favorite places for pickpockets for their misdeeds to the detriment of tourists who, amazed by the things around them, sometimes get a little too distracted. Watch out for the stock exchange, especially around Ponte Vecchio, Piazza del Duomo, San Lorenzo Market, and other downtown hot spots.
The same advice applies to public transport, but otherwise the city center is safe. The streets around Santa Maria Novella Station can seem a bit rickety and are best avoided late at night.
Getting around Florence it is easier on foot. The city is quite small, with most hotels within five to twenty minutes of the city's most popular attractions. Much of the city's narrow and ancient streets belong to the ZTL, or restricted traffic zone, which only allows two-wheeled vehicles, with exceptions for buses, taxis and car sharing programs.
Buses are great for getting around the city, but for destinations within the historic center, it's usually quicker to walk.
To catch a bus in Florence, buy your ticket in advance at a tobacconist's (tobacconist's) or newsagent's. You can buy a ticket on the bus, but it costs more. Once you get on the bus, remember to validate your ticket, the controls are there and the fines are high.