So, you’ve finally decided to book that trip to Italy that you’ve been dreaming of and you’re wondering where to stay in Florence (Firenze)?
In this blog post, we’ll give you a breakdown of where to stay in Florence based on the type of vacation you’re planning, whether it’s a family getaway or a solo trip. We’ll also answer some FAQs and recommend fun activities to do around the city.
*This post was written by my friend, Alex Stasulli, a native Italian who grew up in the Dolomites. Her frequent trips to Florence allow her to give you the best advice possible.
Where to Stay in Florence 2022: Best Areas
Oh, Florence, home of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri, the Medici family, and countless others who made history. Florence is perhaps the most charming city in Tuscany, or in the whole of Italy… or in the entire world.
No matter which part of the city you stay in, you’re bound to have the trip of a lifetime. But here we’ve handpicked 4 of the best neighborhoods in Florence to help you get the most out of your holiday.
1. SAN GIOVANNI – Where To Stay In Florence For First Time Visitors
If you’re visiting Florence for the first time, hands down the San Giovanni district is the best place to stay. This is the heart of the city close to the Duomo (Florence’s iconic cathedral).
San Giovanni is the historic center of the city, all the main attractions are condensed in this area. You will never have to walk more than 5 minutes before stumbling onto the next must-see site.
Especially if you’re on a tight time schedule, San Giovanni is the best place to set up camp. If you stay in this neighborhood, you could just do a 2-day whirlwind tour of Florence and still get a great feel of the city.
Where To Stay In San Giovanni
If you’re wondering where to stay in San Giovanni, Florence’s most popular neighborhood, consider the following options:
📍Locanda Dei Guelfi
This charming B&B is located on the 3rd floor of a historic building, offering an authentic old-world feel. All the rooms are air-conditioned, with an ensuite bathroom, flat-screen TV, hairdryer, and other basic amenities.
The guest rooms feature exposed wooden beams, stylish parquet floors, and antique furniture. But Locanda Dei Guelfi’s main selling point is its private rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Duomo and Florence’s skyline.
➡️ Click here to book your stay at our top choice, Locanda Dei Guelfi!
📍Arte’ Boutique Hotel
If you’re looking for something a little more glamorous, you can’t go wrong with this stylish boutique hotel. Arte’ is exceptionally well-located, just 1,000 feet from the Duomo and only 650 feet from the Accademia Gallery.
Each room is carefully curated and comes with all modern amenities, including free Netflix. You will be mesmerized by the chic Italian interior design at this hotel! Guests can also enjoy incredible views from the rooftop terrace and a buffet breakfast.
Best Things To Do In San Giovanni
✔️ Visit the Iconic Duomo
Your first stop in Florence must be the Dome of Santa Maria Del Fiore, most commonly referred to as the Duomo. Constructed by Filippo Brunelleschi and opened to the public in 1436, the Duomo represents the epitome of Renaissance architecture.
The Duomo is also home to 5 statues carved by Donatello. You can even climb to the top of the Duomo for a bird’s eye view of Florence.
Note: Be sure to book your Duomo tour in advance to skip the lines. ➡️ Click here to book Florence’s top-rated Duomo skip-the-line tickets!
✔️ Try local delicacies at Pegna
Opened in 1860, Pegna is a little gourmet food shop offering the best of Tuscan produce. This is the perfect place to stop for a snack or to pick up some foodie souvenirs after a long day of sightseeing.
2. OLTRARNO – Where To Stay In Florence With Family
If you’re wondering where to stay in Florence when traveling with family, we recommend Oltrarno.
Florence is divided into two parts by the Arno river. The northern part is the historic city center; then, once you cross over the famous Ponte Vecchio, you’ll find yourself on the south side of the city. This area is known as Oltrarno and literally means “across the Arno”.
Oltrarno is a great place to stay if you’re traveling with family. This neighborhood is less densely packed and fast-paced compared to the central San Giovanni area. Here you’ll find a calmer, more authentic atmosphere, with plenty of parks, antique shops, age-old artisan workshops, and family-run restaurants.
This is the perfect mid-way point between Florence’s main attractions and the rest of the city. Oltrarno is a great base camp for venturing into the historic center or taking family day trips out into the picturesque Tuscan countryside.
Where To Stay In Oltrarno
📍 Hotel Lungarno
“Lungarno” means “along the Arno”, so imagine waking up to stunning riverside views of Florence’s old town. This child-friendly luxury hotel is located just 350 feet from the Ponte Vecchio.
Owned by the Ferragamo family, the Hotel Lungarno offers guests a chic and comfortable stay. The rooms are individually furnished with Italian white marble bathrooms. Guests can enjoy the onsite Borgo San Jacopo restaurant which has been featured in major cuisine magazines, as well as the Picteau Lounge Bar.
📍 Soprarno Suites
This boutique hotel has 10 rooms in total and offers a fashionable stay for excellent value. Located in a prime position, just a 5-minute walk from Ponte Vecchio and only 350 feet from Pitti Palace.
Family rooms are available to book. Each room features stunning Renaissance decorative ceilings and stylish retro furniture. Soprarno Suites offers guests all the modern comforts, including air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a continental breakfast.
➡️ Check prices for your dates at Soprarno Suites by clicking here!
Best Things To Do In Oltrarno
✔️ Walk across Ponte Vecchio
The direct translation of Ponte Vecchio is “Old Bridge”. The current bridge dates back to 1345, but there has been a crossing over the Arno river here since Roman times. So, it really is an old bridge!
This closed-roof bridge has been the gold trading center of Firenze for centuries, to this day it still houses many jewelry shops and souvenir stands.
✔️ Stroll through Boboli Gardens
Located on the grounds of Boboli Palace, the Boboli Gardens are an attraction all in themselves. Dating back to 1594, these gardens were commissioned by Cosimo Medici. Today, the Boboli Gardens are still the largest green space in Florence.
3. SANTA MARIA NOVELLA – Where To Stay In Florence On A Budget
If you’re wondering where to stay in Florence on a budget, Santa Maria Novella is a good area to make your home base. Located right next to the city’s main train station, it’s easily accessible without hiring a car or paying for taxis. Then all of Florence’s main attractions are only a 10-15 minute walk away.
Santa Maria Novella is mostly a residential area, but due to its proximity to the train station and other main public transport hubs, it’s a well-connected bustling part of town.
Just be aware that the streets closest to the train station are a bit more ‘industrial’ looking and lack the old-world charm of the historical center. However, once you get away from the main train station strip, you’ll find yourself in an eclectic residential neighborhood between the Arno river and Santa Maria Novella church.
Where To Stay In Santa Maria Novella
📍 Nancy House
This quaint B&B is just a 6-minute walk away from Santa Maria Novella church and 0.6 miles away from Palazzo Strozzi (Strozzi Palace). Florence Airport is also just 4 miles away.
The rooms are plain, simple, and clean with ensuite bathrooms. Air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV are also included in each guest room. All guests have access to a private terrace at Nancy House as well.
📍“Living Santa Maria Novella” Airbnb
Just a 4-minute walk from the train station, this remodeled one-bedroom condo is located on the 4th floor of a historic building with fantastic views over the Florentine roofs and church domes.
This bright and airy self-catering apartment is perfect for couples or friends splitting a budget. Just note that, like many old buildings in Florence, there is no elevator to reach this top-floor penthouse.
Best Things To Do In Santa Maria Novella
✔️ Walk around Piazza di Santa Maria Novella
The Piazza is the town square in front of Santa Maria Novella church, in fact, it’s one of the main squares in Florence. Established in the 13th century as an add-on to the church, the Piazza is a great place for people watching and soaking in the Tuscan sun.
Just grab an Italian gelato, coffee, or glass of wine at one of the many cafes lining the square and watch the world go by.
✔️ Go on a day trip
If you’re enjoying an extended stay in Florence, we recommend hopping on a train from the nearby station and going on an excursion.
With return train tickets as low as €8, you could visit other famous Tuscan towns like San Gimignano, Siena, or Luca.
4. SANTA CROCE – Where To Stay In Firenze For Nightlife
This neighborhood is named after the Basilica di Santa Croce (“the church of the Holy Cross), but don’t be fooled by its saintly appearance… This is where you can find the best nightlife in Florence.
Santa Croce is famous throughout Italy for its party scene. Between Piazza Santa Croce, Via Dei Benci, and Via Verdi you will find numerous trendy restaurants, cafes, and clubs. This area is incredibly busy over the weekend with locals and tourists.
Over the centuries, Santa Croce has been known for its leather-working artisans and still today you can browse many fine Italian leather shops. Santa Croce square is also a popular spot with many markets, concerts, and festivals taking place here.
Where To Stay In Santa Croce
📍 N4U Guest House
This is a truly unique and spectacular B&B located in a historic tower that’s over 1,000 years old! N4U Guest House is centrally located between the Uffizi Gallery and Piazza Duomo.
Each room has its own distinct decor where art deco furniture meets ancient stone walls and frescos. All rooms have large windows offering stunning city views and guests can tuck into the fresh buffet breakfast served daily.
➡️ Book your stay ahead of time at N4U Guest House by clicking here!
📍 Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
This trendy hotel is located right on the Arno riverbank with views of Basilica di Santa Croce and just a 10-minute walk away from another historic town square, Piazza Della Signoria (“the noblemen’s square”).
The elegant rooms include all modern amenities such as flat-screen TV and air-conditioning, and some rooms have a private balcony. Plaza Hotel Lucchesi also has an onsite restaurant, but its best feature is the rooftop pool with outstanding cityscape views.
➡️ Save money and book your stay ahead of time at Plaza Hotel Lucchesi by clicking here!
Best Things To Do In Santa Croce
✔️ Visit the Basilica di Santa Croce
Completed in 1294, the Basilica di Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in the world and is known as the ‘Parthenon of Florence’ as its home to nearly 300 tombs.
This church was the burial place for the great and the good in Florence, such as Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Rossini to name a few.
✔️ Grab a cocktail at FUK (Florence Unpopular Kafé)
This is a pleasant cocktail bar with a laid-back atmosphere, designed to make you feel at home. The staff is friendly and welcoming, just tell them what type of drink you’re in the mood for and they’ll create one of the most delicious concoctions you’ve ever had!
Visiting Florence, Italy: FAQs
We hope that we’ve already answered most of your burning questions about where to stay in the breathtaking city of Florence and why. But just in case we haven’t covered everything, below are answers to some more frequently asked questions:
Should I Stay Near The Duomo?
As we discussed earlier in this blog post, the San Giovanni neighborhood next to the Duomo is the best place to stay during your first time in Florence.
But even if you’re a returning visitor, the Duomo area is always a safe bet if you want to be in the heart of the city and want to reach all the landmarks with minimal walking.
How Many Days Is Enough For Florence?
We recommend dedicating at least 3 days to visiting Firenze. Between all the museums, churches, art galleries, and palaces, if you stay less than 3 days you will feel too rushed and probably have to remove a few stops from your itinerary.
And you will definitely want to allow yourself some free time off the clock just to wander the ancient streets and soak up Florence’s charm. Afterward, may I suggest wandering up to Lake Como for a couple of days – because when in Italy!
Is It Better To Stay In Tuscany or Florence?
If you’re trying to decide between staying in Tuscany or Florence, this will entirely depend on what type of holiday you enjoy and how much time you have.
If a quick city break is all you’re after, then just focus on Florence. But if you’re more of an adventurous and active traveler, then you would definitely enjoy staying outside of the city in the picture-perfect Tuscan countryside and going on excursions.
Here is a great little road trip itinerary for Tuscany if you have more time!
The Wrap-Up: Where To Stay In Florence, Italy 2022
So, there you have it. Whether you’re traveling with friends and want to soak up the Florentine nightlife, or you’re planning a romantic city stay with your significant other, Florence will deliver all of that and more.
Florence will transport you back in time, our favorite thing to do is simply lose ourselves down the cobbled streets, imagining all the famous historical figures who walked there before us centuries ago.
No doubt this enchanting city will forever have a piece of your heart.