Where to Stay in Florence: Best Areas and Hotels

Here is my insider guide to where to stay in Florence Italy for first-time tourists. If you’re planning a trip to this stunning ancient city, I congratulate you on your excellent taste. What follows is a detailed guide to all of the city’s best areas to stay in Florence and some recommendations on which parts of town are best for which kind of traveler.

By the end of this article, you will feel more familiar with the best places for families, couples, nightlife, without a car, with a car, and the best hotels in the city centre, and near the train station.

Florence is one of the best-preserved of all the ancient Italian cities. It’s also a very compact place, and it is a pedestrian’s dream. The city is full of open plazas and pedestrianized streets, so you really shouldn’t need to rely on public transport at all, although there is a good and very economical bus service serving the city.

It’s entirely possible to stay in any one of about ten central parts of town and still be within 10 or 15 minutes’ walk of the most spectacular central parts of town like the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi.

If you’re on a budget, there are great suburbs like Santa Croce to the east and San Lorenzo and San Marco to the north. But if money is no object, then a great idea is to pick a hotel with a room looking out at the city across the river Arno since this is a view that you won’t forget in a hurry.

💖 Best Area:City Center Florence
💎 Best luxury hotel:NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa
🏨 Best mid-range hotel: Alfieri Signature Suites – Alfieri Collezione
💰 Best budget hotel: Hotel Pendini

>> CHECK BEST HOTEL DEALS IN FLORENCE <<

📌12 Best Areas to Stay in Florence

So let’s get started with what is the best area to stay in Florence. I’m going to walk you through Florence on a virtual tour, pointing out interesting features and landmarks and telling you about all of the characteristics of some of the city’s most inviting and fascinating areas. 

Read more: Frequently Asked Questions about Best Places to Stay in Florence

Best areas to stay in Florence Map

To see more detail of where to stay in Florence Map, go to google map;

1. Duomo & Piazza della Signoria/Florence City Centre, for first time tourists

Duomo, one of the tourist's area in Florence

If this is your first time in Florence or if you want to be conveniently close to all of the cities’ landmarks and significant places of interest, you should plan to stay in the Florence historic center

There is so much to explore in Florence’s historical center it’s difficult to know where to start, but the most striking landmark is the spectacular Ponte Vecchio bridge. This ancient structure spans the river Arno, is covered with buildings, and was the only old Florentine bridge to survive world war II.

Close to this landmark is the beautiful Uffizi, one of the world’s finest museums of art. This glorious old structure houses treasures of the renaissance. Including works by artists such as Botticelli and Titian. 

But that’s just the start because the historic center of Florence is packed with museums and galleries, all with easy walking distance of each other. 

You can see spectacular Renaissance sculptures in the National Museum of Bargello. Then there is the Museum of The History of Science, the Museum of Anthropology, and the Museum Opera del Duomo, or cathedral museum, that contains works by Michelangelo amongst its treasures.

There are a wealth of historic buildings to explore in the historic center too. The Duomo de Firenze is the city’s spectacular cathedral situated in a beautiful central plaza. The Palazzo Vecchio is another ancient structure full of ornate architecture and artistic treasures.

Duomo is generally busy with tourists joining the local inhabitants day after day. There are bars, restaurants, and clubs meaning that even when the sightseeing stops at night, Duomo is still a hive of activity.

The Dome itself stands out and offers great views over Florence. Wander the neighborhood piazzas and just enjoy the vibrancy that Duomo exudes. You may pay a little more to get accommodation in Duomo than elsewhere but there are boutique hotels and hostels to book.

Even though Piazza della Signoria is extremely attractive to tourists, it retains the character it has had for centuries. The cobbled streets remain as they were originally laid. They alone give you a feeling of stepping back in time, even if you find yourself in crowds. 

This piazza is on the edge of the main tourist part of Florence. However, there are few better places if you want to visit museums. The Uffizi Gallery stands out, but you should also have the Bargello sculpture gallery and Pitti Palace in your plans. You will need to be patient because plenty of others have similar ideas all year round.

Piazza della Repubblica was formerly the very centre of the city’s economic and cultural life. That dates back to the Middle Ages but some of its beautiful buildings were destroyed in the 18th Century. The plan was to open up the area but the result you see today is that only a small part of the original piazza remains.

This historic district in Florence is rightly a neighborhood where tourists look for accommodation to be close to its many landmarks. Some of the best examples of Renaissance art anywhere hang in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Battistero di San Giovanni is a most impressive piece of architecture and on it goes.

As you might imagine, this central part of Florence has the best accommodation choice, since it is the most popular area for travelers to stay. There are hundreds and hundreds of hotels, guest houses, and apartment rentals in the historic center, so you are sure to find something that suits you. If you’re on a budget, you will find some well-priced bed and breakfast and apartment rentals.

The majority of places to stay in the historic center come in at a very affordable mid-range price. But if budget is no option, there are some spectacular five-star hotels in beautiful old buildings that offer some of the best views in the city.

Stay in Duomo if you’re looking for the best area to stay in Florence for first-time visitors; you’re traveling as a couple.

Best places to stay in Piazza della Signoria or Duomo:

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See more: Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

2. San Lorenzo & San Marco, where to stay in Florence on a budget

Where to Stay in Florence San Lorenzo

The beautiful districts of San Lorenzo and San Marco are located immediately to the north of Florence’s historical center and the east of the train station. Once upon a time, these areas were quite downmarket, but in common with most European cities, they have been revitalized and gentrified as people move back into the city. 

All of the glorious sights of the historic center are just half a kilometer away to the south of this area, so it’s super convenient. Still, since it’s just a little out of the center, you can find some excellent budget accommodation; if you’re a backpacker or independent traveler, this is an ideal place to find hostels. Of course, there are good mid-range and high-end accommodation options here too.

Since Florence is so packed with historical treasures, almost every area has something great to see. In this area, you will find the beautiful Basilica de San Lorenzo, which is a church dating back to the 1400s. Next door is the Sagristia Vecchia, a domed Renaissance church. These structures are in the beautiful Piazza di San Lorenzo, which also contains the Biblioteca Medicia Laurenziana, which is a grand library that was designed by Michelangelo.

You also near Museo di San Marco, the Accademia Gallery, the Basilica della Santissima Anunziata, and the Museo degli Innocenti.

In San Marco to the east, you’ll find the National Archaeological Museum and the Piazza Della Santissima Annunciata. The Giardina Dell Gherardesca and the neighboring Giardino di Palazzo Caponnii are two lovely landscaped parks over on the Eastern side of the suburb.

Stay here if you are traveling on the budget, you want to stay central, but not right in the center, you want to be close to the central rail station Firenze Santa Maria Novella.

Best places to stay in San Lorenzo and San Marco:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN SAN LORENZO

3. Santa Maria Novella, where to stay in Florence for families

Where to Stay in Florence Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella is a district of Florence over on the west side of the historic center. You will find the city’s central train station here, but the area surrounding the station is a bit down-at-heel and not a very attractive place to stay. But this is a large area, and as you head south from the station, the area around the Piazza de Santa Maria Novella is very appealing indeed. This part of town also enjoys a long stretch of riverfront

Santa Maria Novella has an abundance of hotels, apartments, and places to stay. There’s something for all budgets, and you will find by and large that the closer you stay to the station, the more economical the accommodation is. As you head to the South and towards the river Arno, there are some very appealing higher-end hotels. 

The central and southern parts of Santa Maria Novella are excellent for exclusive shopping, dining, and drinking. In particular, you will find some excellent restaurants and bars on the riverfront.

One point to note about dining in Florence is that most cafes and restaurants offer very affordable food to take away and charge more for the same dishes if you sit at a table. This means, of course, that if you are a budget traveler, eating to go is a great way to save money. Having said that sitting at a table in a beautiful part of town and watching the world go by is something you should try at least a couple of times while you’re here.

Santa Maria Novella is immediately to the west of the historic center, and so it’s straightforward to get to all of the major sights of the city. One of the local highlights of the area is the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria Novella Church, an ancient church housing some beautiful Renaissance decor and art. You also have Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, Cappelle Medicee.

Stay in Santa Maria Novella if you’re looking for designer shops, you want a good choice of accommodation for all budgets, you’re looking for excellent restaurants, you want to stay close to the historic center of Florence.

Best places to stay in Santa Maria Novella:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN SANATA MARIA NOVELLA

4. San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo, where to stay in Florence for city views

Where to Stay in Florence Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is an area of Florence that lies to the south of the river Arno and just to the Palazzo Pitti’s east. the neighboring District of San Niccolò spreads out to the east and south up into leafy hillside with spectacular views of the historic center of Florence.

These areas have a wonderful spread-out and open feel, and they’re a nice place to stay if you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of the most central parts of town yet still be conveniently placed for all the sights. These areas are full of pretty little parks, and this open environment should appeal to families since they offer safe places for the kids to play.

The Piazzale Michelangelo it’s one of the highlights of this part of the city. It’s a large open Piazza up on a hillside that you can climb up to from the river using the stairs of the Rampe di San Niccolo. It’s well worth the walk because the square offers one of the best views across the city.

Where these two areas meet the Arno River, you’ll find all kinds of excellent places to dine, drink, and shop. The riverside is a thriving and cool little area full of trattorias and art studio, and it’s an excellent place for a night out.

Stay in San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo if you want a central location with an out-of-town feel, you are looking for the best area to stay in Florence with family, you want some of the cities best views, you want to be close to a thriving Riverside area, you want lots of parks and green spaces.

Best places to stay in San Niccolò & Piazzale Michelangelo:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO

5. Santa Croce, best area to stay in Florence for nightlife

Where to Stay in Florence Santa Croce
Santa Croce

Santa Croce is the area immediately surrounding the Piazza of the Basilica of Santa Croce. This striking building houses the graves of Renaissance greats like Michelangelo, Rossini, and Galileo. 

This area is so close to the center of Florence that many people classify it as a part of the historic center, even though it is beside the Arno River to the east.

Santa Croce houses the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, which is Italy’s largest public library.

As with most of Florence, if you head south to the riverfront, you will find the streets packed with great little restaurants and bars. One of the most enjoyable things about this part of town is that even though you’re so central, it isn’t too touristy.

If you want to enjoy the same dining and nightlife as the locals, this is the perfect place to stay. Here you can soak up the atmosphere of this fascinating city without being surrounded by other tourists.

Stay in Santa Croce if you want great shopping and dining, you want an affordable central location, you want excellent local style dining and nightlife.

Best places to stay in Santa Croce:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN SANTA CROCE

6. Sant’Ambrogio, one of the safest area to stay in Florence

Where to Stay in Florence : Sant’Ambrogio
Sant’Ambrogio. source:Jameson Fink

Sant’Ambrogio is an area of Eastern Florence surrounding (and named after) the Church of St Ambrose.

This part of the city is home to the University of Florence. Because of this, it’s an excellent place for budget travelers to head. There are lots of bargain places to eat and drink, and the huge Santa Regio Market sells all kinds of fresh produce, so you can save even more money by staying in a self-catering apartment.

While it might seem like this suburb is on the outskirts of Florence, you need to remember that Florence is a very compact and pedestrian-friendly city. All of the delights of the historic center are only a ten or fifteen-minute walk to the west.

Stay in Sant’Ambrogio if you want to shop in the huge Santa regio market, you want to be a little way out from the center, you’re traveling on the budget.

Best places to stay in Sant’Ambrogio:

  • Hotel Bodoni This budget hotel is located in quiet area, within walking distance to major landmarks such as Florence Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery, and this accommodation in florence italy near train station Santa Maria Novella Train Station.
  • Boutique Hotel La Casa di Morfeo Located on the historic Via Ghibellina, close proximity to Piazza della Signoria square, Ponte Vecchio bridge, and Santa Maria Novella Train Station.
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7. Florence Hills, the best area to stay in Florence for adventurers

Where to Stay in Florence Hills

If you really aren’t a city person, and you’re only happy when surrounded by the countryside, then you can still enjoy Florence on day trips from outside the city.

Florence sits in a basin surrounded by the Florence Hills, which feature fabulous countryside and some beautiful little towns and villages.

Here you can surround yourself with fields of olives and grapes and sample spectacular local wines and produce in homely village restaurants. You will find spacious hotels and delightful guest houses as you explore this region. 

Staying out in the Florence Hills is an excellent idea if you are traveling by car. Florence Hills is the best area where to stay in Florence with a car. There is much pleasure to be had from cruising through the twisting roads that snake around the hills, stopping off at points of interest, and taking in some of the spectacular views of Florence and the surrounding countryside.

Stay in Florence Hills if you want to enjoy Florence from a distance, you want to stay in some spectacular countryside, you have your own transport.

Best places to stay near Florence Hills:

  • Hotel Villa Betania This is very nice, family-run hotel, set within 20 minutes walking from Ponte Vecchio bridge. There’s also easy to reach from Siena, San Gimignano, and the Chianti wine road.
  • Sangaggio House B&B This bed and breakfast is located in a quiet area with 5 minutes bus ride to the city center and the Santa Maria Novella Railway Station stop is just a few steps away.
🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN FLORENCE

8. Boboli & San Miniato al Monte, the best area to stay in Florence for walking

Where to Stay in Florence Boboli
Boboli

These two neighborhoods of Florence are on the south side of the Arno River but are effectively part of the historic center.

They are predominantly wealthy residential neighborhoods that immediately surround the spectacular Palazzo Pitti and the Giardano Boboli.

As I mentioned earlier, the Palazzo Pitti is a must-visit with its collection of fascinating museums.

Since this area is so central, it’s a great place to stay if you want to explore Florence on foot. These areas aren’t the best choice for budget travelers, but if you can afford it, they’re a great place to stay.

Stay in Boboli & San Miniato al Monte if you want to be in a central and upmarket, you want great high-end hotels with spectacular reviews, you can afford the best, you want to be close to lots of museums.

Best places to stay near Boboli and San Miniato al Monte:

  • Casa Botticelli This 3-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a TV, a private bathroom with a bidet and free toiletries, and free wifi.
  • Soggiorno Pitti This guest house is right in front of the former royal palace of Florence, in a historic residential building. It offers en suite rooms with parquet floors and air conditioning.
🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN FLORENCE

9. Santissima Annunziata, where to stay in Florence for families

Where to Stay in Florence : Santissima Annunziata
Santissima Annunziata/Paul VanDerWerf

Santissima Annunziata is the part of Florence that spreads out to the northeast of the historic center. There is plenty of historical interest in this part of town, including the Galleria dell Accademia which houses what is probably the world’s most famous sculpture, Michelangelo’s David.

The center of this area is a lovely old plaza packed with spectacularly ornate Renaissance buildings.

Despite being an easy walk from the historical center of Florence, this area retains a remarkably relaxed and peaceful vibe.

For this reason, it’s an excellent place to stay if you’re looking fot the best neighborhood in Florence Italy with family or if you want a place that’s a little more chilled-out than some of the other central parts of town.

There’s a good range of accommodation at all budgets here, and some excellent restaurants too.

Stay in Santissima Annunziata if you want a peaceful area suitable for families, you want a central location with a relaxed atmosphere, you are traveling with your family, you want to see Michelangelo’s David.

Best Places to Stay in Santissima Annunziata:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN SANTISSIMA ANNUNZIATA

10. Ponte Vecchio, the most famous bridge in Florence

Where to Stay in Florence Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio

If the historic center is the heart of Florence, then the small area around the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge is the center of the heart. I guess you’d call it Florence’s epicenter

If you stay around here, then you’ll be surrounded by an almost daunting number of spectacular old squares, historic buildings, and galleries. To the south of the river, these include the church of Santa Spirito, the Palazzo Pitti with the beautiful Boboli Gardens next door.

Walk across the Ponte Vecchio or any of the other nearby bridges, and you’re in the historic center, close to the Uffizi gallery, the Palazzo Vecchio and the Museum of the History of Science. And, just to the west, you can explore the beautiful church of Santa Trinita or visit the Palazzo Davanzati.

There are some fabulous hotels and guesthouses here occupying some of the city’s lovely ancient buildings. If you want to splash out and soak up the atmosphere of the city, then book yourself a room that looks out on the river Arno, the Ponte Vecchio, and some of the other architectural treasures. It won’t be cheap, but you only live once, right?

Since this area is tourist central, you will find an abundance of places to dine, drink, and shop. Everything is set up for visitors, so if you want a central and convenient base for your explorations of Florence, then the Ponte Vecchio area is a perfect choice.

Stay in Ponte Vecchio if you want to be smack bang in the center of Florence, you’re happy to pay for a room with a view, you want the Uffizi, and the Palazzo Vecchio, on your doorstep, you want to stroll beside the beautiful River Arno.

Best places to stay near Ponte Vecchio:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN FLORENCE

Check out my virtual tour of the best places to stay in Florence in this video:

Where to stay in Florence: Best Areas to Stay in Florence, Italy

See more:

11. Santo Spirito-San Frediano-Oltrarno, where to stay in Florence for local vibe

Where to Stay in Florence : Oltrarno
Oltrarno/Huw

If you want to stay in a central spot in Florence but fancy being just a little way out of the historic center, then all you need to do is step across the river to the nearby neighborhoods of Oltrarno, Santo Spirito & San Frediano.

These three areas are so central that you can easily explore all the major sights of this UNESCO world heritage site on foot.

There are plenty of things to see on the historic center’s south side, including the Church of Santo Spirito and the spectacular Palazzo Pitti. This vast old palace joins up with the Uffizi Gallery on the North shore via a walkway across the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

The palace contains several museums, including the Old Royal Apartments, a Costume Museum, a display of ornate carriages, and a modern art gallery. Next door is the beautifully landscaped Boboli Gardens, an oasis of green in the center of ancient Florence that offers spectacular views of the city.

In addition to all of the spectacular historical sights, you’ll be pleased to discover that these urban neighborhoods are packed with really cool restaurants, bars, and cafes.

This part of town is the artistic center of the city, and there are lots of cool little craft shops selling all kinds of exciting stuff.

The most central of these Southern areas is Santo Spirito, right next door to the Palazzo Pitti and the Ponte Vecchio. It’s really just an extension of the city’s historic center but on the south side of the river Arno. You also have Piazza Santo Spirito, Basilica di Santo Spirito, and Santa Maria del Carmine to check out.

In the busiest months of the Year, this area can get quite crowded, so if you want to be just a little bit away from the crowds, then you should stay in San Frediano, which is still central but don’t get quite as thronged with visitors.

Stay here if you want to be within walking distance of all the sights, you want some of the best views in Florence, you want excellent tourist facilities, you want to stay in one of the coolest parts of the cit, you want a Bohemian atmosphere and some cool shopping.

Best places to stay in San Frediano and Santo Spirito:

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12. Novoli, in northwestern Florence

It was only as Florence expanded in the 19th Century that Novoli became part of the city. It remains suburban in contrast to the hectic life that Florence in general offers. You will still find some historic landmarks, notably two churches. Donato in Polverosa and Santa Maria a Novoli both date back to the Renaissance.

Villa San Donato is now largely in ruins, but this palace is still worth a visit. It had many functions throughout its history but today, it is a private museum with 14 rooms.

There is limited accommodation in Novoli, but you should be able to find a B&B or room to let if you do your research.

Stay in Novoli if you are looking for a sedate pace of life, simple accommodation is perfectly acceptable, and you do not like a city centre base.

Best places to stay near Novoli:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN NOVOLI

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So, there you have it, that’s all you need to know about Florence. I’m guessing that now you’ve read this, you’re getting excited about planning your trip. So go ahead, you should know which area will suit you best by now, get your hotel booked and have a wonderful stay in this internationally renowned marvel of a city.

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