Where to stay in Florence
Travelers’ tips: where to stay in Florence for a tourist. Pros and cons of different areas of Florence, as well as other useful information about the city worth reading before you book a hotel or apartment. Choose the right places! Talusha shares her experience.
Too many travelers see Florence as just a place to spend a single day, and that day is spent standing in line at the Uffizi. In my opinion, to do so – not to see anything in Florence and spoil the whole impression of the city. For those who treat the capital of Tuscany with thoughtfulness and inspiration and are going to walk around it leisurely and thoroughly, without missing a single sight, spending a few days and nights here, this article is dedicated. Below we will consider the main aspects of choosing a hotel in Florence.
In which area of Florence to stay?
A traveler arriving in Florence by train at Firenze S.M. Novella station is greeted by one of the facades of the Church of Santa Maria Novella of the same name and the nearby hotels with windows overlooking the circular station square of Piazza della Stazione . On the one hand, the Florentine station is an important transportation hub and a key point for those who want to explore Tuscany using public transportation. So it is quite possible to choose a hotel somewhere nearby, especially since the prices are quite reasonable. On the other hand, the place here is lively, not to say – noisy. For this reason, it is important that the windows of the rooms overlook the courtyard (most old Florentine buildings do not have double-glazed windows). From here it is also very easy to see the beauty of the city: the Duomo or Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore are about 12-15 minutes on foot, Ponte Vecchio is a little over 20 minutes and the shopping streets are also nearby. A list of hotels near the station can be found here.
The district of Santa Maria Novella is very close. Despite its proximity to the train station, this area is considered prestigious and has a number of expensive hotels, such as Hotel L’Orologio or Grand Hotel Baglioni. For a detailed list of hotels (including budget ones) to stay near the church of Santa Maria Novella, click here. If you book rooms on the upper floors, you’re more likely to have views of the red-tiled roofs of the palaces and the dome of the Duomo. To be fair, though, it’s worth noting that many hotels in the historic center boast a similar panorama from their windows.
A couple of blocks closer to the Arno River there is even more prestigious area – Piazza Ognissanti. The view from here is breathtaking; Florence’s landmark Ponte Vecchio on the right, the river and colorful palazzos on the right. Perhaps here are the most expensive hotels in Florence, such as The Westin Excelsior, one of the few five-star hotels in Florence. The Duomo and the bridge are about ten minutes away at a leisurely pace.
The heart of Florence is the neighborhood around the Duomo, Florence’s cathedral. During the day, it is crowded with tourists, who are brought on day trips by large buses and taken in droves from the Duomo to Piazza della Signoria, but in the evening these streets are delightfully empty, and you can feel like a local. Hotels are plentiful, and there’s plenty to choose from. Many of the hotels are located in the palaces of Florence, take for example the Hotel Pierre or Hotel Calzaiuoli, however, other buildings in the center of Florence and not. For other hotels in the Duomo, see here. From here you can walk to most of the sites of the city, the stores are close by and the closest to the only major grocery store in the center. The only thing to look out for when choosing a place to stay here is whether or not you are too close to the church of San Lorenzo, which has a market selling Florentine leather goods and is noisy from the early morning.
Another interesting area is Piazza della Signoria and several streets around it. Strictly speaking, this is also close to the Duomo, but hotels here are more expensive – perhaps influenced by the proximity to the Galleria degli Uffizi and the view of Michelangelo’s David. The narrow streets of this area, completely untouched by more modern buildings (by “modern” of course we mean palazzos XVII-XVIII centuries) are absolutely fascinating. But you must carefully read the reviews of travelers on booking sites: it is possible that some of the old buildings have no elevator and no air conditioning, and the plumbing has not been replaced since the time of Mussolini. But given the wishes of modern tourists, many hotels still only look like old buildings on the outside, but inside they are quite modern, such as the Relais Piazza Signoria Hotel. For other hotels in the Piazza Signoria area, see here.
There are also quite a few hotels on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio bridge, although far fewer than “this side”. Apparently, it is considered far from the sights and the station by the standards of small Florence. But some hotels, like the Park Palace, boast beautiful views of Florence and the Giardino di Boboli or even have their own park. Hotels near the Boboli Gardens can be found here.
Few cities in Italy can boast the surviving medieval towers . Florence once had more than a dozen such towers. The warring families hid in them from their neighbors, showering them with boiling water and arrows if possible. The confrontation lasted until the Medici came to power in Florence and ordered all the towers demolished. Miraculously, several of them have survived in the city, and in some of the towers are open hotels. For example NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa and Hotel Pitti Palace.
Features of hotels in Florence
And a little about the peculiarities of hotels in Florence . One of the main problems is the mismatch of outlets with our plugs. Some hotels have outlets both Italian standard (three holes in a row) and universal (side holes with thickening). Most “light” electrical equipment (chargers, some power supplies) are easily plugged into the Italian outlets. The problem with laptops, irons and hair dryers is solved simply: you can buy an adapter at the nearest Chinese shop.
Smoking in public places is formally banned in Europe, but often in Italy smoking is overlooked, and almost half of the hotel rooms are for smokers. If you go to Florence in the summer, it is worth choosing hotels with air conditioning, otherwise it will be very hot and stuffy.
As I have already written, almost all hotels in the historic center are located in old buildings, which affects the size of rooms and bathrooms (they are often very small). In addition, the hotel may not have an elevator, and the stairs can be quite narrow – two adults can barely walk apart. If you are going to travel from / around Florence by car, be sure to clarify whether the hotel has its own parking and how much it costs – often there may be no parking, or its cost is comparable to the cost of a room in a budget hotel. Also make sure you read the reviews of other tourists about the hotel – the only way you can find out about the quality of breakfasts, what (new or old) plumbing in the rooms, whether there is no noise in the street, etc.
For those who want to visit the Uffizi Gallery it is worth knowing that you can usually get tickets from the reception instead of waiting in line at the gallery itself.
To summarize: Florence is a small city with a fairly compact historic center and almost every area has its pros and cons (for example, the pluses of hotels in Piazza Ognissanti – good location and views, minuses – very high prices). So be guided by your budget and pay attention to what tourists have already visited a particular hotel, to understand for yourself whether the minuses described are a minus for you personally (for example, for me a small elevator and the lack of parking is not a minus, but for someone it is fundamental).
Where to stay in Florence: 7 options
A selection of apartments and apartments that will make your stay in Florence even more beautiful. Lodgings with terraces, beautiful views from the window and cozy courtyards. Discover where to stay in Florence.
Airbnb and Rumguru – lodging in Florence
Which Florence neighborhoods are best to stay in?
Which neighborhoods do tourists prefer? If you come by train to Firenze S.M. station, choose lodging near Piazza della Stazione. There are many inexpensive options near the station square. Here is one of the cheapest supermarkets Sapori & Dintorni Conad, it is not difficult to walk to Ponte Vecchio and the cathedral. The place is quite noisy, so it’s better if the windows of the apartment look into the courtyard.
Another area where it is convenient to stay in Florence is Piazza della Signoria. From Piazza della Signoria it is not far to the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo. Living among the charming narrow streets is a dream come true! If you’re looking for cheaper options, choose accommodation on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
I will share with you some great options in the center: affordable apartments and mid-range apartments to stay in for two, with the kids, or with a small group of friends.
Popular excursions in Florence:
View of Florence. Photo: a_mfelipe / unsplash.com.
Bright apartments with a kitchen
If you want to live near Florence’s iconic sights, choose these good apartments in the San Lorenzo neighborhood. The location is very good – the Duomo is 5 minutes on foot, and San Lorenzo and the Central Market are only a couple of minutes away. I think that the apartment is more suitable for young people. Families with children and elderly people will have difficulty getting up to the 4th floor without an elevator.
The apartment accommodates two people. The price per day in high season is 77€.
Sleeping area in the apartment
Lodging near the train station
I like the pleasant atmosphere of boutique hotels. Every guest is seen and cared for. The Tornabuoni Opera offers a cozy private room with a bath and a shared lounge area. Not a bad solution for a trip to Florence for two! It has a place to sleep, work on the computer, and cook. However, you have to pay 8€ per day for the use of the kitchen. The train station is a four-minute walk away.
The room sleeps two people. The price per night is €72 in low season and €107 in high season. You have to stay at least two nights during the low season.
Common area at the hotel
Live like a Florentine
Where to stay in Florence inexpensively? I found a charming Florentine house near Signoria Square and Palazzo Vecchio. The wooden beams on the ceiling, stylish window frames, lace curtains and lovingly chosen furniture make it cozy and warm. You won’t want to leave!
The lodging is designed for three people. The price per night is 77€ in the low season and 183€ in the high season.
Tuscan apartment in the heart of Florence.
A wonderful option for where to stay in Florence with children. The spacious first floor apartment with access to a small flowering garden will solve all problems. It has enough space for normal life, play and relaxation. There are batteries, so you can come to Florence and in the cold season.
The apartment accommodates four people. The price per night in low season is 59€, and in high season from 97€.
Exit from the living room to the garden
Stylish option in a quiet neighborhood
A beautiful studio apartment will please fans of modern interiors and minimalism. Nothing is superfluous and it is very bright! A nice bonus is the large terrace, which offers an excellent view of the streets and rooftops. Use the kitchenette and walk around the historic center!
The apartment can sleep two people. Price per day is 78€.
Large window in the apartment.
Penthouse overlooking the Duomo
In a historic building right on Piazza Mercato, 3 minutes walk from the train station. Authentic accommodation on the 5th floor is equipped with everything you need for a comfortable life, so the owners lovingly call it a “nest”. The only downside is that you have to go up to the penthouse without an elevator. I would not have refused such an option – you wake up in the morning, and outside the windows of the colorful tiled roofs and the dome of the famous cathedral!
The apartment is designed for two people. The price per night during the low season is €66 and during the high season €84.
Here’s a view of the Duomo.
Large studio with a beamed ceiling.
Near the train station, a charming apartment with modern heating system, great air conditioning and double windows welcomes guests. It will be warm and quiet at any time of year! I liked the solid wood ceiling and wide windows. There are private garages nearby – a find for anyone looking for a place to stay in Florence with a car!
The apartment accommodates two people. The price per night in low season is 75€ and in high season 113€.
Sleeping area in a studio