Are you wondering where to stay in Florence? This article will answer all your questions!
Florence is one of the most popular destinations in Italy, and it’s easy to see why. With its gorgeous architecture, unique history and countless Renaissance art masterpieces, the Tuscan capital is a magnificent sight.
Choosing the best neighbourhood to stay in Florence will be essential to ensure you have a great trip. Each area in Florence has its own unique characteristics, and will be best suited for different types of travellers.
The best place to stay in Florence for you will ultimately depend on you, and what you want from this trip. Whether you’re searching for a romantic couples getaway, or a quick solo budget trip, Florence has somewhere for you.
I’m Italian and have visited Florence a number of times, every time staying in a different place. That has allowed me to experience all the different neighbourhoods, and to be able to share with you the best ones.
In this guide I have outlined all the best areas to stay in Florence, who they are best suited for and also some Florence accommodation options for each budget and area.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover where to stay in Florence!
- 1 Best Places to Stay in Florence at a Glance
- 2 The 5 best areas to stay in Florence
- 2.1 Duomo: Stay in the Centre of Florence for Your First Visit
- 2.2 Santa Maria Novella: Best Place to Stay in Florence for Families
- 2.3 Santa Croce: Best Area to Stay in Florence for Nightlife
- 2.4 San Marco & San Lorenzo: Best Places to Stay in Florence on a Budget
- 2.5 Santo Spirito: Florence Neighbourhood for the Best Food and Drinks Scene
Best Places to Stay in Florence at a Glance
A stay in Florence is an absolute must if you’re out to see the best of Tuscany.
This city has attractions and accommodations to suit every type of traveller. Each neighbourhood in Florence has its own distinctive vibe, atmosphere and price tag. You want to make sure you pick the area to stay in Florence for you.
Some of Florence’s neighbourhoods overlap slightly, but here is a basic breakdown of what to expect in each area.
Duomo is a neighbourhood in the centre of Florence where first-timers can see the city’s main attractions and experience the local vibe.
Santa Maria Novella is a quieter and more posh residential area where families can enjoy a visit to the city.
Santa Croce is the place to be at night when the bars fill up and young people get ready to party.
Santo Spirito sits on the other side of the Arno river and is filled to the brim with eateries and bars.
Keep reading for more details about each area, as well as my recommendations of the best Florence hotels in each neighbourhood and for every budget.
The 5 best areas to stay in Florence
Duomo: Stay in the Centre of Florence for Your First Visit
The historic centre of Florence contains most of the city’s major attractions or puts them within easy walking distance.
The neighbourhood is named after the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its iconic Duomo (dome). Besides this significant architectural structure, you’ll find many more fine museums, historical landmarks, and piazzas (plazas) to visit.
The Duomo area is not just focused on attracting tourists. You will see many residents on the streets, giving the neighbourhood an authentic vibe.
Soak up the city’s vibrant culture by tasting the variety of food available here, or by hanging out at a local bar. The city centre is also a great shopping destination.
Due to its convenient central location, the Duomo area is in high demand, so be prepared for pricier accommodation. However, its proximity to the stunning Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio will make it worth your while.
Duomo Accommodation Options
Budget: You can’t beat Hotel Costantini for location, as it is just a few metres away from the iconic Duomo. Along with the bright and spacious rooms, this is a great option for an affordable hotel in Florence’s city centre.
Mid-range: Hotel Alessandra is set in a beautiful old 16th-century residence. The large and comfortable rooms are decorated in a lovely vintage style. You can enjoy a buffet breakfast in the hotel’s dining room every morning.
Luxury: The Helvetia & Bristol Firenze hotel offers luxurious rooms in a 19th-century historical palace. Each room is uniquely decorated with bold colours, chandeliers, and stylish furniture. The hotel has an on-site restaurant and is centrally located close to the city’s major landmarks.
Santa Maria Novella: Best Place to Stay in Florence for Families
The Santa Maria Novella neighbourhood stretches along the bank of the Arno River and is quite a varied area. It houses the city’s main train station, the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella, making the area well-connected to other parts of Florence.
While the area closest to the train station is the most easily accessible, it’s also the slightly rougher part of the neighbourhood.
I recommend heading a little further away from the station, where you’ll find a pleasant and quieter residential area.
Santa Maria Novella’s calm and posh residential neighbourhood with its wide paved streets is ideal for a family stay. The area is quiet but also central enough for easy trips to Florence’s main attractions.
This neighbourhood takes its name from the Gothic-style Santa Maria Novella church. Besides this iconic site, you can also visit the world’s oldest Pharmacy and the Parco delle Cascine in this region.
The historical park is very green and spacious—perfect for a family outing, especially if you’re visiting Italy in summer or spring.
Santa Maria Novella Accommodation Options
Budget: Hotel Palazzuolo offers simply furnished and very affordable family rooms. It is a short walk from the train station and the Parco delle Cascine.
Mid-range: Palazzo Riblet is where I stayed with my mum during our Florence getaway. It’s a centrally located guest house set in a 16th-century building. The family-run accommodation offers comfortable rooms and a shared lounge, and they even have historical affrescos on the ceilings!
Luxury: The Westin Excelsior is an impressive luxury hotel in Florence that sits right on the bank of the Arno River. Many of the elegant rooms offer spectacular views over the city or the river. You can enjoy a drink on the hotel’s terrace during the day, and feast on exquisite Mediterranean cuisine in the dining hall at night.
Santa Croce: Best Area to Stay in Florence for Nightlife
Santa Croce is a fantastic Florence location to be in when the city comes alive at night.
One of my favourite Italian quotes describes Florence as “coloured with a mild violet, like diluted wine”, and I think Santa Croce greatly reflects that.
Most of the area’s vibrant culture is centred around the Piazza Santa Croce. The plaza houses the majestic Basilica of Santa Croce, which is a must-see for any tourist.
However, the real heartbeat of the area is in the cafés and bars that line the plaza.
At night, many young people gather here for a drink and some live music. You can also check out the busy Via dei Benci street for some more great places to party.
Santa Croce is a wonderful place to experience Florence’s local vibe. Browse around some of the neighbourhood’s flea markets and authentic shops, or head to the nearby Sant’Ambrogio market for some delicious food.
Santa Croce Accommodation Options
Budget: Hotel Bodoni provides simply furnished rooms at an affordable price. The hotel sits very close to the Sant’Ambrogio market and is also within walking distance of the Santa Croce Plaza. You can enjoy a basic but delicious buffet breakfast on the hotel’s terrace.
Mid-range: La Maison du Sage is a stylish bed and breakfast right on the doorstep of the Santa Croce Basilica and plaza. Some of the spacious bedrooms come with a spa bath. This is the perfect place to stay in Florence if you want to be within walking distance of the city’s great nightlife.
Luxury: Hotel Bernini Palace is set in a 15th-century building in a central location. The luxury of this hotel is evident in the lofty entryway, Renaissance décor, and marble-tiled bathrooms. You can enjoy splendid views from the hotel’s terrace, or relax with a cocktail in the on-site bar.
San Marco & San Lorenzo: Best Places to Stay in Florence on a Budget
Just north of the Duomo, these neighbourhoods are full of museums, historic churches, and vibrant restaurants – just what you need to follow your Italy itinerary or tick off unique experiences from your Italy bucket list!
Here you can visit the famous Galleria dell’Accademia which houses the David statue by Michelangelo. The Church of San Marco is another one of Florence’s beautiful sites to explore.
San Lorenzo has many street stalls where you can buy authentic Florentine leather goods without paying the high prices that are common in the touristy city centre.
San Marco, on the other hand, is a colourful neighbourhood full of family-run restaurants where you can taste a variety of delicious dishes at affordable prices.
San Marco & San Lorenzo Accommodation Options
Budget: The Hotel Lorena in the San Lorenzo district is close to the city centre. This affordable accommodation is surrounded by churches and plazas. The rooms are bright and comfy with lovely wood panelling.
Mid-range: Hotel Orto de’ Medici offers modern rooms in a historic building. The hotel is close to many prominent museums and the Galleria dell’Accademia. Its rooms provide views of the building’s medieval roofs or the inner garden.
Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is a breathtaking combination of a 15th-century palazzo and a 16th-century convent building. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and light up the beautiful wall paintings and ceiling murals. You can wander through the hotel’s expansive gardens or relax in the spa or terrace pool.
Santo Spirito: Florence Neighbourhood for the Best Food and Drinks Scene
It’s hard to choose just one foodie neighbourhood, as all the areas of Florence are full of unique eateries offering delicious dishes. However, the Santo Spirito district on the south side of the Arno River definitely stands out.
This quiet area separated from the tourist centre of Florence is home to many artisans shops and a variety of eateries. Here you can find everything from cosy cafés and cocktail corners, to wine bars and fine dining restaurants.
Join the locals at the shops surrounding the Piazza Santo Spirito for a bite or drink at any time of the day or night. In between your food and drink stops, you can also visit the magnificent Palazzo Pitti with its vast Boboli Gardens.
After all, tasting the delicious Tuscan cuisine is a must on any Italy itinerary, if not even Europe bucket list! Especially if you visit Italy in winter, you’ll want to get cosy and tuck into a warm restaurant and meal!
Santo Spirito Accommodation Options
Budget: Foresteria Valdese is a peaceful guest house with its own garden. The rooms are comfortable with modern decor. This accommodation places you close to shops and restaurants.
Mid-range: Hotel La Scaletta is set in a 15th-century building with a rooftop terrace offering stunning city views. The spacious bedrooms have wooden floors and some boast ceiling murals. The hotel is in a pleasant location, very close to both the Palazzo Pitti and the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
Luxury: Hotel Lungarno sits on the banks of the Arno River and is the flagship hotel of the Ferragamo family. The rooms are decorated in shades of blue and offer splendid views of the river and Florence. The hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant where you can dine on authentic, yet creative Italian cuisine.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Florence, Italy
There you have it, the ultimate guide on the best neighbourhoods to stay in Florence! Have you been to Florence before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
Deciding where to stay in Florence can be challenging, but if you follow this guide outlining what type of travellers all the coolest neighbourhoods are best suited for, you can’t go wrong.
It’s not so much about the specific Florence hotel, but you want to be sure you pick the area that matches your vibe. Similarly to choosing a place to stay in Rome, Milan, Venice or Cinque Terre, it can greatly affect your trip.
I hope you find this Florence accommodation guide useful in planning your trip! If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!