Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, is known as the heart of Renaissance culture in Italy. With over 800 years of history, the city is a patchwork of districts from different eras, each of them offering a different experience. If you’re curious about where to stay in Florence, you can read below about the best neighborhoods and the luxury hotels in each one.
The entire city is very walkable and can be transversed in less than an hour (though you can drive or take the bus as well). Go for a passeggiata (an evening stroll) and enjoy romantic Florence with the love of your life. Florence is full of panoramic views, lush gardens, iconic art museums, and intimate restaurants.
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- Where to Stay in Florence– A Neighborhood Guide
Where to stay in Florence Italy
Below, I’ve put together a list of the best luxury hotels in Florence, Italy. It’s divided up by Florence neighborhoods and will show you the best luxury hotels in Florence.
Florence Neighborhood Map
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I’ve divided up the neighborhoods in Florence by sections for you and listed the main attractions within that neighborhood. Keep in mind that Florence is actually quite small for a major Italian city, and wherever you stay, you’re not going to be far from where you want to go. It’s a very walkable city.
Also called Duomo or the City Center, Centro Storico is the original historic center of Florence. Named UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s where you’ll find Renaissance-era structures, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Florence Cathedral) and Piazza della Signoria, as well as the Uffizi Gallery
Centro Storico is a patchwork of winding cobblestone streets and historic piazzas lined with cafes. It’s also where you can see some of the most famous Italian works of art by the likes of Botticelli, DaVinci, and Michelangelo. And the city center offers some of the top hotels in Florence, from luxury 5-star hotels to budget stays, and everything in between.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Florence that is within walking distance to most major tourist attractions, especially the Florence cathedral, Centro Storico, or the Historic City Center, is where you’ll want to base yourself.
Main Sites in Centro Storico:
- Florence Cathedral
- Piazza della Signoria
- Uffizi Gallery
- Ponte Vecchio
Santa Maria Novella
On the western side of Centro Storico, Santa Maria Novella is half modern city, half old-town charm. It’s a popular neighborhood because it contains the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station, the main train station in Florence. Near the station is the gorgeous Piazza Santa Maria Novella covered in bold frescoes, including the basilica from which the district gets its name.
Walk west from the famed piazza and buildings are more modern with smooth, paved streets on a grid. East of the piazza all the way to Centro Storico, the streets are narrow and ancient with boutique shops and high-end brands all around. So, Santa Maria Novella offers a great central location for all your needs.
Together, Centro Storico and Santa Maria Novella are home to the largest number of hotels in Florence. They make up the be the best area to stay in Florence for first-time visitors.
Main Sites in Santa Maria Novella:
- Santa Maria Novella Train Station
- Santa Maria Novella Church
To the west of Centro Storico is another historic neighborhood near the historic city center. Santa Croce is named after the Basilica of Santa Croce, a stunning example of Gothic architecture and the home to the tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo. However, these days, Santa Croce is popular for being a trendy neighborhood with affordable hotels near Duomo in Florence. It’s just outside of the historic city centre, but a short walk to the main attractions in Florence.
The neighborhood went through a lot of gentrification in the last 20 years. Today, it’s a popular area for young people and has great nightlife. Come here for fabulous restaurants, cafés, street markets, artisan coffee, and tons of places for pizza and the latest street food.
At the heart of the Santa Croce neighborhood lies Piazza Santa Croce, with its sacred church and age-old tradition. This piazza, or square, was once used to play a sport known as the ancestor to soccer (or football). You can actually see markings on the surrounding buildings denoting measurements for the field or pitch.
“Giuoco del Calcio Fiorentino” simply known as Calcio (which means kick in Italian) has been played here for centuries past—If you’re lucky enough to visit Florence in June, you’ll be able to see a reenactment of this sport being played in full historical costume. A dirt square stands in place to mimic original times while bleachers allow spectators to marvel at this classic game. Four teams representing four historic Florence neighborhoods (Santa Croce, Santo Spirito, Santa Maria Novella, and San Giovanni) compete in two semi finals and then a final match to determine the winning team.
Main Sites in Santa Croce:
- Basilica of Santa Croce
- Pizza Santa Croce
Oltrarno & Santo Spirito
Pass many of Florence’s main attractions and cross the Arno River at Ponte Vecchio Bridge from the City Center to find the neighborhoods of Oltrarno and Santo Spirito. It’s known for its 14th- and 15th-century structures along winding, packed streets between the Arno and the Palazzo Pitti and Giardino di Boboli. It’s a gorgeous part of historic Florence.
Both Oltrarno and Santo Spirito are small, vibrant Florence neighborhoods with a balanced list of things to do. Even budget hotels are a bit on the pricier side, but you’re paying for a coveted location! Visit museums, find great food and bars, and check out historical landmarks.
It’s within easy walking distance to the gorgeous Boboli Gardens, which basically feels like an outdoor museum.
Main Sites in Oltrarno & Santo Spirito:
- Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace)
- Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens)
If you’re looking where to stay in Florence that’s a bit quieter and upscale, consider San Niccolo. Plan a visit to this neighborhood, even if you don’t stay here!
Enjoy bars and casual eaters along the water. It’s the perfect place for a stroll along the Arno during the warmer months. Or go to the Giardino Bardini or Piazzale Michelangelo, both of which have beautiful gardens and fabulous hillside views of the city.
Further back from the water in the hills are romantic old villas with manicured gardens. There aren’t many places to stay in San Niccolo, but for a couple on their honeymoon or a family of 3, it’s worth booking a room at one of the quality hotels in the area.
Main Sites in San Niccolò:
- Giardino Bardini
- Piazzale Michelangelo
Fiesole is a small town that’s part of greater Florence. It’s located less than 20 minutes north by car (or an hour by bus) from Centro Storico. While you won’t find any luxury resorts there today, the area has been a retreat for the elite, even going back to the 14th century. It’s a wonderful place to find surprisingly affordable villas-turned-hotels!
Fiesole is known for its fascinating historic sites, including the ruins of Roman baths and the Roman amphitheater where you can still see shows in the summer. There are great hiking trails and historic villas you can tour. And with rolling hills reaching almost 1000 feet above Florence, you can enjoy unobstructed views of the city.
Main Sites in Fiesole:
- Views of Florence
- Peace & Quiet away from the city
The Best Hotels in Florence by Neighborhood
The Best Florence Hotels Near Duomo in Centro Storico
If you’re staying in the historical center of Florence near all the main sites and on the banks of the River Arno, these are the best Florence hotels I recommend.
Luxury: Bernini Palace
One of the top 5-star hotels in Florence Italy, Hotel Bernini Palace offers a luxury experience in a convenient location near the best attractions in the city. Stay steps away from Piazza della Signoria and a short stroll from high-end shopping along Via dei Calzaiuoli. Enjoy the service you’d expect at a high-end stay with amenities like a fine-dining restaurant, in-room massages, and a rooftop terrace.
The Best Luxury Florence Hotels in Santa Maria Novella
If you’re staying near the train station and Santa Maria Novella Church in the neighborhood of Santa Maria Novella, not far from all the main sights, these are the hotels I recommend.
Luxury: Grand Hotel Minerva
You’ll find quality Florence hotels near Duomo, including the high-end Grand Hotel Minerva. Feel special with a stay on the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella and all the stunning architecture, including the hotel itself. Rooms and suites all boast amazing views of the square, romantic canopy beds, and soaking tubs. Guests can enjoy an outdoor pool, a restaurant with seating on the square, and a state-of-the-art gym.
The Best Luxury Florence Hotels in Santa Croce
Luxury: Relais Santa Croce by Baglioni Hotels
Rooms and suites at Relais Santa Croce shine with modern abstract art and ornate arched ceilings characteristic of the 18th-century building. The hotel is close to the Basilica of Santa Croce, and many guests can enjoy the historic landmark from their private terraces! Make sure to patronize the Tuscan restaurant onsite and enjoy a drink in the piano lounge.
The Best Luxury Florence Hotels in Oltrarno & Santo Spirito
Luxury: Hotel Lungarno
This luxury Florence hotel, located between 2 historic medieval bridges along the Arno, Hotel Lungarno is one of the best places to stay in Florence, Italy for the views. Many of the hotel’s lavish rooms and suites feature balconies with fabulous views across the river to Duomo. Have brunch or dinner at the award-winning restaurant or take advantage of complimentary bike rentals.
The Best Luxury Florence Hotels in San Niccolo
Luxury: Villa Cora
San Niccolo is where to stay in Florence for luxury stays, including Villa Cora next to Giardino del Bobolino in the hills overlooking the City Center. Every space in this 19th-century villa features decadent Rococo designs. Enjoy rooftop spaces, including a cigar lounge and outdoor pool. Or spend time at the spa onsite.
The Best Luxury Florence Hotels in Fiesole
Luxury: FH55 Hotel Villa Fiesole
While you won’t find any luxury hotels in Fiesole, FH55 Hotel Villa Fiesole is the best hotel in Florence for its price and location. Nestled on the side of a hill, the sprawling villa estate features gardens, courtyards, a pool, and amazing views of Florence. Rooms and suites feature frescoes, private terraces, and minibars. There’s a hotel restaurant with outdoor dining, and you have access to daily continental breakfasts.
The Best Luxury Florence Hotels with Pools
There’s no questioning that Florence gets HOT during the summer season. It’s nice to have a swimming pool to cool off in after a long hot day of exploring the city. Here are some of the best hotels in Florence with pools
Grand Hotel Minerva
This incredible 4 Star Hotel has a rooftop outdoor swimming pool that overlooks the Duomo of the Florence Cathedra. The view really cannot be beat! It’s one of the nicest hotels in central Florence and the pool is just a plus!
This 5 Star restored 15th Century Italian Villa is located on the outskirts of the city and some gorgeous spacious rooms for couples and families. Of course the pool is a major draw. The step down luxurious lap pool. is a great place to hang out after a long day of exploring. Even though this hotel isn’t walking distance to most things, it does offer a free shuttle service into the city center.
Hotel Glance Florence
This modern 4 Star Hotelin central Florence offers another great rooftop pool and terrace looking over the Duomo of the Florence Cathedral. It’s within easy walking distance of the Florence Cathedral, Ponte Vecchio, and Uffizi Gallery.
Book One of the Best Luxury Hotels in Florence
When thinking about where to stay in Florence, you realize pretty quickly that the city is very tourist friendly. The challenge is really all about what kind of experience you’re looking for. The historic city center is where to find the most hotels for every budget, including rentals by owner. Move outwards a bit and you’ll find even more luxury hotels in Florence and on the outskirts of the city.
The city of Florence is super romantic and one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world, but it’s also a family-friendly place. You can find the perfect room for 2 in an adults-only hotel or do a little more footwork to find a hotel that will fit a large family.
What do you think about this list of places to stay in Florence? Is there any place you’ve been to that you would have included? Did this list inspire you to plan your next Florence vacation?
TLDR, Let’s Recap
Florence is awesome! You should definitely go. Pick the neighborhood and hotel price range that best fits your situation. Here are
The best places to stay in Florence:
- Centro Storico
- Santa Maria Novella
- Santa Croce
- Oltrarno & Santo Spirito
- San Nicolo
The Best Luxury Hotels in Florence:
- Bernini Palace
- Grand Hotel Minerva
- Relais Santa Croce
- Hotel Lungarno
- Villa Cora
- FH55 Hotel Villa
- Il Salviatino
- Hotel Glance Florence