Planning your first trip to Florence? This local’s guide will help you decide the best place to stay in Florence for an amazing visit. With advice on the top neighborhoods, hotel recommendations from budget to luxury, and practical tips, you’ll know exactly where to book for the perfect Florence accommodations.
As someone who has lived in this magical city for over 5 years, I’m thrilled to share insider secrets about the best place to stay in Florence for first-timers. Location is key – Florence is very walkable and you’ll want to stay central to fully immerse yourself. But each neighborhood also has a unique vibe. Read on for my tips on matching accommodations to your travel style.
Duomo/Piazza della Signoria – Heart of Historic Florence
If you want to be right in the thick of things, staying near the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria is perfect. This is the historic core and main tourist area, with almost all major sights within easy walking distance. I adore the charm of strolling these pedestrian-only streets while surrounded by Renaissance splendor.
Accommodations here tilt luxury but you can find some moderate options. I recommend:
- Four Seasons – Live lavishly right on the Arno River. Their amazing spa and gardens provide an oasis from crowds.
- Hotel Savoy – Elegant decor and a superb location off Piazza della Repubblica. Their rooftop bar has gorgeous Duomo views.
- Hotel Dali – Affordable family-run hotel just behind the Duomo, newly refurbished rooms.
Don’t miss Mercato Centrale nearby – it’s a gourmet food hall in a huge glass-domed building. Grab amazing local cuisine or artisan coffee during your stay. And be sure to wake early and walk through an empty Duomo area before the crowds arrive!
Santa Croce – For History and Local Vibe
Just north of the river, Santa Croce feels more lived-in and local, while boasting historic sights like the basilica and artisan workshops. Staying here provides a quieter experience, yet remains very central.
I adore this neighborhood’s charming art galleries, wine bars, and little trattorias. Pop into Piazza de’Pitti for people-watching over an aperitivo. The vibe is hip yet traditional.
Santa Croce accommodation options include:
- Hotel Orchidea – Elegant boutique hotel in a restored palazzo with friendly service. Their rooftop terrace has beautiful views.
- Hotel Medici – Reasonable prices and spacious rooms in a 15th century building. Request a room overlooking the peaceful garden.
- Alice House – A delightful B&B with just 5 cozy, unique rooms. The owners will make you feel right at home.
Don’t miss the adjoining Sant’Ambrogio district either. It feels like a rural village packed with little hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving fabulous Florentine fare.
Oltrarno – Florence’s Artisan Neighborhood
Want a lively local vibe? Stay in “Oltrarno”, just south of the river. This neighborhood reveals Florence’s hip, creative side with cute boutiques, artisan workshops, and a daily market. The Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens provide regal history.
I adore Oltrarno’s cobbled lanes and cafe-dotted piazzas. Soak up the artsy atmosphere browsing paintings and sipping an espresso. Nights fill with students socializing over craft cocktails and live music.
Some excellent Oltrarno hotels include:
- Palazzo Guadagni – A sophisticated yet unpretentious hotel in a 15th century palace. Ask for a room with large original windows.
- Hotel Santo Spirito – Friendly boutique hotel set in an old monastery with a charming garden restaurant.
- Palazzo Vecchietti – Luxe elegance in a 15th century palace beside the Ponte Vecchio. Breathtaking frescoed ceilings.
Be sure to wander past artisan workshops near Santo Spirito making marbled paper, mosaics, and jewelry. If visiting Pitti Palace, picnic afterward in the sprawling Boboli Gardens!
Near Santa Maria Novella Station – For Train Travelers
Staying near Florence’s central train station is smart for rail travelers. The area situates you well for day trips beyond the city. Within Florence, you’re only a 10-15 minute walk from major attractions like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery.
Options here range from budget chains like IBIS to stylish boutique hotels. I’d recommend:
- Hotel Cerretani Firenze – Newly renovated with bold, contemporary decor. Great city views from their rooftop breakfast area.
- Hotel Milu – Charming hotel set in a 19th century palazzo. Friendly staff and highly rated breakfast featuring local Tuscan goods.
- Palazzo Ognissanti – Sleek minimalist design in an elegant restored building. Nice spa and bar area to unwind after sightseeing.
Despite its edge-of-center location, this area adjacent to Santa Maria Novella station still puts you in the heart of historic Florence. You’ll get plenty of Renaissance magic strolling past nearby landmarks like the Duomo’s giant dome and the Medici’s Pitti Palace.
Finding Your Perfect Place in Florence
Hope this insider’s perspective helps you choose the best place to stay in Florence for your needs! Each neighborhood reveals a unique side of Florence’s charms. Just be sure to book centrally to keep sightseeing convenient.
Wherever you decide, prepare for irresistible art, architecture, food, wine, and that quintessential Italian dolce vita lifestyle! Florence’s walkable size and friendly vibrancy make it a delight to explore. This guide aims to help first-timers match ideal accommodations to their travel style so you can fully savor every magical moment.