Where should we stay in Florence? This is the question I’m asked most when friends or family are planning a trip to Tuscany’s Renaissance city. The answer almost always is… it depends!
You can look at accommodation in Florence in 3 ways:
- TRAVELER TYPE
You can skip ahead to my quick list of recommendations for each.
Otherwise, read on for:
- Florence neighborhoods I recommend, along with hotels
- Map and lists of recommended hotels by budget, traveler type, and neighborhood
- Helpful tips for booking your stay and during your stay in Florence
- Useful vocabulary for your stay in Florence
I hope this helps you find the perfect hotel for your time in bella Firenze.
Enjoy your stay – Buon Soggiorno!
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Where To Stay in Florence – Recommended Neighborhoods
- Duomo/Center – most convenient for reaching main sites and shops, but crowded and noisy
- Santo Spirito & San Frediano (Oltrarno) – calmer atmosphere, excellent restaurants and more green space
- Santa Croce & Sant’Ambrogio – great restaurant options, pedestrian streets and local living in Sant’Ambrogio
- San Marco & Santissima Annunziata – best budget options, quieter and more of a walk to main sites
- San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo – further away, but nice views in the hills and nightlife near the river
- Santa Maria Novella – best location if you need to catch a train; otherwise, I’d avoid staying here
Best For: Your First Trip to Florence
Staying in this neighborhood puts you ‘in the action.’ You’re close to all the main sites, and you main even have a view of some of them!
- Duomo Complex (Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, St. John’s Baptistry)
- Uffizi Gallery
- Ponte Vecchio
- Palazzo Vecchio
- Piazza della Repubblica
- Piazza Signoria
- Bargello National Museum
- Medici Chapels
Avoid It If: Crowds & Noise Bother You
It gets VERY crowded during the spring, summer and fall in this area of Florence. You will be bumping elbows with other visitors every time you leave your hotel. With the crowds also come noise, so if noise bothers you, make sure your hotel has noise-proof glass windows. In the summer, you’ll want air-conditioning, because if you open the windows, you’ll hear everything in the streets below.
Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy
5-star luxury on Piazza della Repubblica. A gorgeous property, attention to detail and customer-focused staff keep travelers coming back to the Savoy. A truly special experience for visitors to Florence.
4-star hotel right in the action, with beautiful views of the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. In the morning, enjoy the hotel’s full breakfast. In the evening, have an Aperol spritz in the 6th century tower bar before you dine in the hotel’s 2-star Michelin restaurant, Santa Elisabetta, in the evening.
Good To Know: Hotel Brunelleschi sometimes has offers that put it into a Mid-Range price hotel category. Check consolidators like Booking.com as well as the hotel’s website.
In Piazza della Signoria
A small, intimate boutique hotel in a corner of Piazza della Signoria. Close to the main sites, spacious rooms, and a spectacular view of the piazza. When you’re hungry, head next door to Massimo Bottura’s Gucci Osteria.
3-star hotel with a spectacular view of the Duomo from most of the rooms. You can eat breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Duomo.
B&B Galileo 2000
4-star property. Great value in the center of Florence.
Santo Spirito & San Frediano (Oltrarno)
Best For: Returning Visitors, Families
These two neighborhoods, in the Oltrarno (“other side of the Arno River”) are removed from the intense crowds of the city center. If you’re a returning visitor who wants a more relaxed pace, you’ll find it here. What the area lacks in ‘big’ sites, it makes up for in hip bars, lively restaurants and artisan boutiques. If you’re coming with your family, stay closer to Santo Spirito. You’ll appreciate having green space close by (Boboli Gardens) where your kids can run around, and a playground (and gelato!) in nearby Piazza Tasso. There are plenty of restaurants in the neighborhood, and when you want to see the famous sites of Florence, little legs have a quick walk over one of the bridges.
Good To Know: If you’re focused on the most kid-friendly hotels (over neighborhoods), book the Four Seasons Firenze. You’ll have a longer walk to the main sites, but the green space, pool, and kids activities (for all ages, from toddler to teen) at the Four Seasons are worth it.
- Boboli Gardens
- Palazzo Pitti
- Ponte Vecchio
Avoid It If: You Need To Be in The Action
A unique villa hotel with an artistic touch, it has a terrace and rooms with views of the private Torrigiani Gardens. It offers some quiet and tranquility in the middle of the busy city – a perfect refuge after a busy day exploring Florence.
A sister hotel to AdAstra (above), SoprArno is quirky and elegant at the same time. The owners and creative and passionate about their projects, and it shows.
Residence Palazzo Belfiore
3-star apartments that are perfect for families. Shop at the local markets or grocery stores and cook your own meals. Have a little extra space for the kids to spread out. You’re steps away from the lively Piazza della Passera and its gelateria. And you’re still close to all of the main sites of Florence.
La Torre del Cestello
Excellent value 3-star hotel. Simple, clean décor. Some rooms have views of Florence or the Arno.
Santa Croce & Sant’Ambrogio
Best For: Local Living, Foodies
You’ll have excellent restaurant choices in this area, and you’re still close enough to the ‘action.’ Shop with locals at the Sant’Ambrogio market (my favorite in Florence) and sit in a sidewalk café and watch families walk by after school and businessmen head home after work.
- Santa Croce Church
- Sant’Ambrogio Market
- Casa Buonarotti (Michelangelo Museum)
Avoid It If: You Need Green Space
There aren’t many parks in these neighborhoods. If you’re craving trees or greenery, you’ll need to head across the river or to nearby Piazza Azeglio.
Baglioni Relais Santa Croce
Florence’s only Relais & Chateaux hotel. Housed in an 18th century palazzo, it’s the home of Florence’s 3-star Michelin restaurant, Enoteca Pinchiorri.
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Excellent location on the Arno River and close to main sites. After a morning of sightseeing, relax at the rooftop terrace and pool.
Hotel Cardinal of Florence
Excellent value on a quiet street. Clean rooms, hospitable staff, and a rooftop terrace with gorgeous views.
Piazza San Marco & Santissima Annunziata
Best For: Local Living, Travelers on a Budget
The further you get from the hustle and bustle of the center, the closer you get to the daily life of Florentines – their shops, parks, and markets. The buildings aren’t as tall, and you’ll find more Florentine apartments vs hotels. There are some good deals to be had on hotels in this area, especially around San Marco.
Good To Know: Avoid accommodation on the SS67 ‘ring road’ around Florence. It’s a busy and loud road.
- Accademia Gallery (David)
- Mercato Centrale
- San Marco Church
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum
Avoid It: You Don’t Want to Walk/Bus to the Main Sites
It’s quieter out here, but that’s because it’s further from the main sites of the historic center. You’ll need to walk (10-20 minutes) or take a bus to the historic center.
Four Seasons Firenze
This hotel is pretty much perfection in the center of Florence. Incredible rooms, superb staff, gorgeous gardens (in the center of Florence!), a pool and spa, and the best hotel breakfast in the city. If you can, time your stay for Sunday brunch.
Il Guelfo Bianco
I recommend this 3-star hotel to visitors looking for a reasonably-priced hotel in the center, and I always get great feedback. Clean rooms, kind and helpful staff, prime location – excellent value for the city center.
Hotel Morandi alla Crocetta
Located on a quiet street, this 3-star hotel feels a bit like someone’s home. It’s cozy, clean, and has a tranquil courtyard that you’ll appreciate after a busy day exploring Florence.
Santa Maria Novella (near the train station)
Best For: Those traveling by train
This neighborhood is home to Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella. I used to avoid the piazza of the adjacent church, Santa Maria Novella, but it’s been cleaned up and is now a spacious, beautiful piazza. If you need to be near the station, book one of these hotels for an easy arrival or departure from Florence.
- Santa Maria Novella Church
- Via de’ Tornabuoni
- Palazzo Strozzi
Avoid It If: You’re a Solo Female
This is the area in Florence you’re most likely to get catcalls. The area can feel a little shady in the evening, especially west of the station.
The Place Firenze
Chic, 5-star, member of Luxury Hotels of the World, with a lovely terrace on Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Its rooms are full of light, which is tough to find in Florence.
Hotel Santa Maria Novella
Elegant Florentine-style décor, a bountiful breakfast, a rooftop terrace, and helpful staff make this 4-star hotel a great choice if you want to be near the station. It’s also
Hotel L’Orologio Florence
This unique hotel has a clock/watch theme. It’s elegant, cozy, and the breakfast room and some of the guest rooms overlook Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
Hotel La Scala
Clean, simple rooms and kind, helpful staff make this a perfect (and uncommon) budget option near the train station.
San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo
Best For: Nature & Views (Piazzale Michelangelo), Nightlife (San Niccolò)
- Piazzale Michelangelo
- San Miniato al Monte
- Iris & Rose Gardens
- Ponte Vecchio
- Palazzo Pitti
- Boboli Gardens
- Villa Bardini & Gardens
Avoid It If: You Don’t Want To Walk to Main Sites
San Niccolò is about a 20-minute walk to the Duomo. Piazzale Michelangelo is even further away.
Serristori Palace Apartments
Elegant, light-filled apartments – perfect for families or travelers who want a larger space with a kitchen, washing facilities, and more.
Good To Know: The reception is only open through lunchtime.
Excellent value for these clean and comfortable rooms, some of which have a view of the Arno.
Map of Where to Stay in Florence
Quick List – Where To Stay in Florence
Florence Recommendations by Budget
- Luxury –Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, Hotel Lungarno, Four Seasons Firenze
- Mid-Range –SoprArno Suites, AdAstra, In Piazza della Signori
- Budget –Il Guelfo Bianco, Hotel Cardinal of Florence, Hotel Orto de’ Medici
Florence Recommendations by Traveler Type / Desire
- First Visit – In Piazza della Signoria
- Families – Residence Palazzo Belfiore
- Couples – AdAstra
- Budget – Il Guelfo Bianco
- Pool – Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
- Honeymoon – Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy
- Luxury – Four Seasons Firenze
- B&B – Antica Dimora Johlea B&B
- On Arno River – Hotel Lungarno
- Near Train Station – Hotel Santa Maria Novella
Florence Recommendations by Neighborhood
- Duomo/Center – Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, In Piazza della Signoria, Hotel Duomo
- Santo Spirito & San Frediano (Oltrarno) –Hotel Lungarno, SoprArno Suites, Residence Palazzo Belfiore
- Santa Croce & Sant’Ambrogio – Baglioni Relais Santa Croce, Plaza Hotel Lucchesi, Hotel Cardinal of Florence
- San Marco & Santissima Annunziata – Four Seasons Firenze, Il Guelfo Bianco, Hotel Morandi alla Crocetta
- San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo – Serristori Palace Apartments, Hotel Silla
- Santa Maria Novella – The Place Firenze, Hotel Santa Maria Novella, Hotel La Scala
Where To Stay in Florence – Helpful Tips
Booking Your Stay in Florence
- Stay in the Center – Like most places, it’s less expensive if you stay outside the historic center. But, it’s a pain to make your way in and out of the city center. Book a hotel in the historic center so you can walk everywhere – it’s a fairly small area.
- Book in Advance – As soon as you know your dates for Florence, book your accommodation. Florence gets incredibly crowded in the spring, summer, and fall.
- Choose Dates Carefully – If you can, avoid weekends, when Italians and other Europeans visit and bring extra crowds. Other busy times in Florence include:
- Easter holiday and a few days before and after when many Italians have vacation
- June 24th, the Festa di San Giovanni, a celebration of Florence’s patron saint
- September 7th, Rificolona Paper Lantern Festival, brings crowds and closes streets
- Florence Marathon in November, Italy’s largest after Rome, draws crowds and closes streets
- Writing Dates – Remember that in Europe, we use the date format DD/MM/YY (example: May 10th, 2023 is 10/05/23 not 05/10/23. Pay close attention, especially if you’re reserving by email – you don’t want to show up having reserved for a different date!
- Buy Travel Insurance – Make sure it includes your hotel bookings. At the beginning of pandemic, many hotels gave vouchers for a return stay, but now most are not allowing for last-minute COVID cancellations.
- A/C in the Summer – Air-conditioning isn’t a given, and Florence summers are hot and sticky. So, request A/C, or at least make sure your room has screens on the windows – the mosquitoes in Florence are horrible!
- Noise Sensitivities – Florence with crowds is noisy, and the noise carries at night. Keep this in mind if you’re a light sleeper. You may want to choose a quieter neighborhood or at least bring earplugs.
- Breakfast – Italian breakfasts aren’t hearty. Italians usually eat a sweet pastry and coffee. Some hotels cater to North American tastes and will serve eggs, bacon, etc., but most have simple breakfasts. If breakfast is important to you, you’ll probably need to book at a luxury hotel. Otherwise, ‘when in Florence,’ eat like a Florentine! Either have a simple breakfast at your hotel or head out to a neighborhood café for an espresso and cornetto standing at the bar with the locals!
- Terrace – If you can, book a hotel that has a rooftop terrace. Sitting on the rooftop enjoying views of Florence with a cocktail in hand – it’s a memorable experience.
- Reception – Unless you’re a Florence/travel pro, book a hotel that has reception. You’ll appreciate having someone to help answer questions, make bookings, and help in emergencies.
During Your Stay in Florence
- Arriving To Your Hotel – You can walk or take a quick taxi to any hotel in the center. With the crowds, I’d recommend taking a taxi, which will cost less than €10. If you’re driving a car (your own or a rental car), be careful to avoid pedestrians on the narrow streets and register your car with the hotel when you arrive (to avoid the ZTL fine).
- ZTL – ZTL is a limited traffic zone, and if you’re visiting, you aren’t allowed to drive your car freely in these zones (most of the center of Florence). To avoid a hefty fine, you’ll need to register your license plate with your hotel (on arrival). The hotel then sends your plate number to the Florence authorities, and you won’t need to pay the fine for arriving at and departing from your hotel in the center.
- Passport – The receptionist will copy your passport and enter your info into the system for the authorities. Sometimes he/she will do it on the spot and hand it back to you. If it’s busy, he/she will take it and return it to you later.
- Keys – If your hotel has big, heavy keys, you’re expected to leave yours at reception when you leave the hotel for the day.
Checking Out of Your Florence Hotel
- City Accommodation Tax – You’ll need to pay an additional tax (in cash only) when you check out. It’s per person, per day, and depends on the type of accommodation. The exact amount varies per city and on the type of accommodation.
Florence’s current hotel rates:
- 5-star: €5
- 4-star: €4.90
- 3-star: €4.50
- 2-star: €4.00
- 1-star: €3.00
Children up to 12 are exempt.
For example, a family of 3 (2 parents and a 1-year old baby) stay in a 5-star hotel in Florence for 3 nights, the amount owed during checkout is €30 (2 people x €5 x 3 days).
Wondering if you should tip? Check out our helpful Guide to Tipping in Italy!
Useful Vocabulary for Your Florence Accommodation
|la tariffa||rate / price|
|una camera singola||room with a single bed|
|una camera twin||room with two twin beds|
|una camera matrimoniale||room with a queen bed|
|la chiave||(room) key|
|piano terra||ground floor|
|primo, secondo, terzo, quarto piano||first, second, third, fourth floor|
|il parcheggio||parking area / lot / garage|
|la tassa di soggiorno||lodging tax|
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You need to take a bus between Fiesole and Florence (ok – you can walk, but it takes about 1 hour). I think it’s better to base yourself in a neighborhood in Florence. Fiesole is beautiful and can definitely be visited while in Florence, but I would skip it as a place to stay.