Where to stay in Florence

Where To Stay In Florence, Italy In 2024 (6 Best Areas)

Where is the best place to stay in Florence? Is it the buzzing heart of the historic centre? The vibrant hood of Santa Croce? The ever-so-trendy streets of Oltrarno (our favourite area!)?

Florence is undeniably one of the best places to stay in Italy for art lovers and Florence is the perfect base for visiting the picturesque Tuscany. Over the course of multiple trips to Florence, we’ve had the opportunity to stay in a couple of different areas. Using the experiences garnered on those holidays, we’ve created a guide to where to stay in Florence that focuses on the 6 best areas of the city for visitors.

Some of these places are famous for their food (Santa Croce), while others have the best-value accommodation such as San Lorenzo.

By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly which area to stay in Florence to suit your needs, whether the occasion is a romantic getaway or a whirlwind tour through the major attractions.

Where To Stay In Florence: At A Glance

Best Places To Stay In Florence Map

Here’s a quick summary of the best areas to stay in Florence Italy before we get into more detail:

➡️ Historic Centre: Best neighbourhood to stay in Florence for first-timers. 🌟 TOP PICK ➡️ Arte’ Boutique Hotel

➡️ Santa Maria Novella: Perfect location for day trips to nearby Italian cities. 🌟 TOP PICK ➡️ Dedo Boutique Hotel

➡️ Santa Croce & Sant’Ambrogio: Best area for a vibrant food and drink scene. 🌟 TOP PICK ➡️ Boutique Hotel La Casa di Morfeo

➡️ Oltrarno: Trendy and chill district for artisan workshops and family fun. 🌟 TOP PICK ➡️ Palazzo Mannaioni Suites

➡️ Piazzale Michelangelo: The place for the greatest views and the most romantic picnic spots. 🌟 TOP PICK ➡️ Hotel David

➡️ San Lorenzo & San Marco: Where to stay in Florence on a budget. 🌟 TOP PICK ➡️ B&B Lorenzo de’ Medici

#1 Historic Centre – Best Area To Stay In Florence For First Time Visitor.

Crowded streets at the Florence Historic Centre.
The busy streets of the historic centre.

LOCATION: Right in the middle of the action, the historic centre of Florence is the busiest part of town. You’ll find many lovely hotels near the Duomo (more formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore), as well as plenty of dining options and shops.

Aside from the Duomo, the area also contains Florence’s main square, the Piazza della Signoria, as well as the Uffizi Gallery and many fabulous palazzi.

WHY STAY HERE:  The historic centre is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Florence Italy if this is your first trip to the Tuscan capital. Many of the must-see attractions of the city will be within 5 minutes’ walk from your hotel, making it incredibly convenient to see a lot with minimal effort.

Consider starting off at the Piazza della Signoria. On our initial visit to Florence, we unobtrusively popped a squat on some stairs here and just absorbed the general atmosphere of the place while crowds of people flowed by.

Almost certainly the first thing you’ll notice is the imposing Palazzo Vecchio with its striking crenelations and clock tower. Make sure to go inside the palace at some point to see the ornate state rooms, including the Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred), which is an almost ridiculous ode to excess.

Historic Centre is the best place to stay in Florence first time.
Ponte Vecchio.
Duomo, Florence.
The view from Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Nearby, you’ll also see a replica of Michelangelo’s David (the real thing is in the Galleria dell’Accademia), as well as many other sculptures beneath the arches of the Loggia dei Lanzi.

Just south of this square is the Uffizi Gallery with its fabulous collection of Renaissance works by such masters as Da Vinci, Botticelli, and Raphael. This is undoubtedly one of the best areas to stay in Florence Italy if you love your art!

In our opinion though the most impressive place to see in the Historic Centre is the Piazza del Duomo. It’s here you’ll find the unofficial symbol of Florence, its domed cathedral, as well as Giotto’s impressive bell tower and the Baptistery of St. John. 

As for shopping, there are loads of boutiques for apparel, jewellery, and assorted souvenirs scattered amidst the streets between the Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria. If high fashion is your thing though, we recommend heading westwards to Via Tornabuoni, where the haute couture houses have their premises.


  • Clamber to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome in the Duomo.
  • Explore the impressive architecture of the Piazza Della Signoria.
  • Discover the stunning Renaissance sculptures of the Bargello Museum.
  • Marvel at one of the world’s most treasured art collections at the Uffizi Gallery.
  • Stroll across the historic Ponte Vecchio with its attractive selection of independent boutiques.


🌟 Ristorante “Bottega di Fattoria-Trattoria Toscana” – We popped into this cute little place after visiting the Duomo, which is just a street over. Given the location, we were pleasantly surprised by the prices, but it was the delicious traditional dishes and the warm service that really made the experience. Don’t miss the wild boar pappardelle, a Tuscan classic done right.

🌟 Coquinarius – There’s a heavy emphasis on wine bottles in the décor at Coquinarius, which is appropriate considering the quality of the restaurant’s vino selection. Helped along by the sommelier, we tucked into full-bodied glasses of red that paired nicely with the menu’s rich, meaty dishes.


  • Loads of stuff to do and see
  • Close to most of the major Florentine sights
  • Filled with restaurants and shops


  • Very crowded and noisy
  • Quite a few tourist traps
  • Generally more expensive
🌟top Pick🌟
best place to stay Florence for a boutique stay

Arte’ Boutique Hotel

This is where to stay in Florence if you want to be in colourful, stylish accommodation in the heart of town. Many of the rooms boast views of the cathedral.

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟
best places to stay in Florence Italy

Dante States Apartments

If you’re looking for cool places to stay in Florence with plenty of space, the Dante States Apartments have studios and apartments decked out in evocative period furnishings.

#2 Santa Maria Novella – Best District To Stay In Florence For Day Trips.

Santa Maria Novella is one of the most convenient areas to stay in Florence.
Church of Santa Maria Novella
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio.
Inside the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio.

LOCATION: Centred on the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, this area is a leisurely 10 minutes’ walk from the Duomo and a marginally longer 15 minutes from the Piazza della Signoria.

It’s here that you’ll find Florence’s main train station, named after the basilica, as well as its largest public park, Parco delle Cascine.

WHY STAY HERE: This is where to stay in Florence if you want to be within walking distance of the historic centre but reside in slightly more affordable accommodation. It’s especially good as an HQ if you plan to make Florence your base while visiting nearby cities like Siena, Pisa, and Bologna on the train.

Santa Maria Novella isn’t just ideal for going elsewhere, however. The eponymous church is a real gem and probably one of the top three religious buildings we’ve visited in Florence. Started in the 14th century and worked on for 100 years, it has a memorable marble façade and contains the mesmerising Holy Trinity by Masaccio.

Just a few streets to the south, the Chiesa di Ognissanti is another noteworthy landmark of the area. Although the exterior isn’t particularly special (at least compared to other Italian churches), the interior contains a beautiful array of well-preserved frescoes.

If you walk west along the Arno River, you’ll come to the Parco delle Cascine, which is a popular spot for picnicking in the summer months. We managed to snap up some bargains here at the weekly market, which takes over the main walkway of the park on Tuesdays with stalls selling produce, snacks, clothing and more.

Santa Maria Novella is also one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Florence for quirky curiosities. For example, we were surprised to stumble upon the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica, a striking perfumery and toiletries store whose roots lie in monastic herbal remedies.

Then there’s the Museo Novecento, which houses 20th-century art – a bit of fresh air after days of (admittedly lovely) Renaissance painting and sculpture.

Although parts of Santa Maria Novella (particularly around the train station) might seem grittier and rougher than other bits of Florence, we never had any problems wandering around during the night.


  • Gaze up at the intricate marble façade of the Church of Santa Maria Novella.
  • Promenade down the riverside through the Parco delle Cascine.
  • Examine the frescoes of Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli at the Chiesa di Ognissanti.


🌟 Ostaria dei Centopoveri – A 5-minute walk from the Church of Santa Maria Novella, this osteria serves up big hunks of Florentine steak, loads of pizza options, and delicious seafood linguine. Come hungry because in our experience the portions are big, even though the prices are small.

🌟 La Grotta Di Leo Srl – What this unassuming neighbourhood spot lacks in presentation it makes up for in flavour. Very nearby the train station, it’s a convenient place to head for dinner after coming back from a daytrip if you like a casual vibe and a broad menu of dishes to choose from.


  • Less expensive than the historic centre
  • Close to the train station for day trips


  • Not as pretty as other parts of Florence
🌟top Pick🌟
best area to stay in Florence Italy

Dedo Boutique Hotel

The simple, modern rooms with inclusive breakfast are a savvy option for people who want somewhere clean and comfortable to bed down at the end of a long day.

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟
where to stay in Florence Italy

B&B Kingsman

Right beside the train station, the slightly blingy but decently sized rooms at this bed and breakfast can accommodate couples or families.

#3 Santa Croce & Sant’Ambrogio – Best Place To Stay In Florence Italy For Local Flavour.

Piazza Santa Croce.

LOCATION: East of the city centre, Santa Croce and neighbouring Sant’Ambrogio somehow manage to feel like a separate sphere of Florence despite being only a short walk from the main tourist attractions.

Filled with some of the best boutique hotels in Florence, this is one of our favourite places we’ve stayed in the city. Life here feels authentically local – and the fact that it also contains an amazing food market doesn’t hurt either!

WHY STAY HERE: This is one of the best places to stay in Florence Italy if you’re looking for a vibrant district that’s set slightly back from the main tourist areas. 

That’s not to say you won’t still find, for instance, some of the best hotels with pools in Florence here, just that we felt as though everything was geared more for the local populace rather than out-of-towners.

Sant’Ambrogio in particular is somewhere that bursts with cozy trattorias, neighbourhood cafes, and artisan shops. The market is an excellent place to go for fresh produce, cured meats, and cheeses. Keep an eye out for stalls selling the distinctive local specialty, panino lampredotto (tripe sandwich).

Just north of the market are a couple of notable religious structures. The more impressive to look at is the Tempio Maggiore (Great Synagogue) of Florence. Only completed towards the end of the 19th century, its copper dome stands out on the skyline, but the mosaics inside are even more dazzling.

The Chiesa di Sant’Ambrogio might not be as dramatic, but it is many hundreds of years older and provides a quiet space for contemplation.

While Sant’Ambrogio is more about the food, Santa Croce is where a lot of the city’s youngsters come to party. If you’re someone who likes a night out as part of a vacation, this is one of the best places to stay in Florence Italy.

There are also some notable historical highlights in the area. Probably the most impressive is the Basilica di Santa Croce, which has 16 different chapels to explore, each with their own little wonders.


  • Visit the Basilica di Santa Croce to see the Giotto frescoes.
  • Wander past the impressive Florence National Central Library, Italy’s largest library.
  • Make a pilgrimage to see the Eucharistic Miracle at the Church of Saint Ambrose.
  • Explore the Tempio Maggiore of Florence and its collection of Jewish art.


🌟 Osteria Vecchio Cancello 2 – If you don’t fancy eating at the Sant’Ambrogio Market, this charming restaurant a street over has character in spades. While we were initially lured in by the attractive décor, we were delighted to discover that the dishes were just as appealing, proving that Sant’Ambrogio is one of the best areas to stay in Florence Italy for good food.

🌟 L’Ortone – The recipient of the Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide, L’Ortone takes traditional Tuscan cuisine and gives it a modern makeover. The fried tongue when we visited was particularly delicious, but you can’t really go wrong with any of the menu.


  • Excellent food options
  • Buzzing nightlife
  • Less touristy


  • Often noisy at night
🌟top Pick🌟
where to stay in Florence for first time visitor

Boutique Hotel La Casa di Morfeo

There are just a handful of bijoux, personality-filled rooms available within this handsome townhouse, each one individually decorated with unique pieces of furniture. 

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟
what neighborhood to stay in Florence

Residenza Marchesi Pontenani

This is one of the best places to stay in Florence on a budget. For a very reasonable price, you can rent a whole apartment, complete with a kitchenette.

#4 Oltrarno – Best Area In Florence To Stay For Families.

Oltrarno neighbourhood is one of the best places to stay in Florence for families.

LOCATION: Literally meaning ‘beyond the Arno,’ Oltrarno is situated south of the Arno River. Several parks and gardens are dotted around the place, which has more of a laidback vibe to it than the other areas we’ve mentioned so far.

Depending on where you stay here, the Duomo can be between a 15- and a 20-minute walk. 

WHY STAY HERE: There are two main but very different reasons to stay in Oltrarno. One is that it’s among the best neighborhoods to stay in Florence if you’re after a trendy, bohemian vibe. 

Not so long ago, the district underwent a bit of a revival, turning it from slightly downtrodden into rather hip. Many traditional artisan workshops line the streets here, in between cool bars and fashionable restaurants.

The other reason to base yourself in Oltrarno is because it’s less hectic than north of the river, making it a good option for where to stay in Florence with kids. You’ll also be able to find quite a few aparthotels with more space for families.

The biggest attraction is, hands-down, the Palazzo Pitti. The Medici family’s grand Renaissance residence contains five separate museums within its walls. Our favourite area was the Royal Apartments, where you can get a taste of the mind-blowingly sumptuous lives of the Florentine nobles.

Behind the Palazzo Pitti you’ll find the Boboli Gardens, which is an extensive green area that’s nice to explore when the sun is shining. 

Basilica di Santo Spirito.
The streets of Oltrarno neighbourhood.

There’s no area of Florence devoid of an historic church or two. In Oltrarno, the most notable one is the Basilica di Santo Spirito. We’ll admit that we were slightly underwhelmed by the bland exterior, but it’s well worth venturing inside to see the baldacchino and the tranquil courtyard garden.

For more impressive religious artwork, however, head further west to the Brancacci Chapel, which has some wonderfully vivid frescoes.


  • Traverse the expansive rooms of the Palazzo Pitti with their over-the-top décor and excellent collections.
  • Examine the altar of the Basilica di Santo Spirito, before heading out to the piazza for a drink and some people watching.
  • Enjoy the calming open spaces of the Boboli Gardens.


🌟 Osteria Cinghiale Bianco – Housed inside a 13th-century tower, the Osteria Cinghiale Bianco specialises in wild boar ragu, but there are also some sweet treats on the menu that we can wholeheartedly recommend, including panna cotta with caramel sauce and that old favourite tiramisu.

🌟 il Pacchero – Pizza e Cucina – As the name suggests, pizza and paccheri pasta are the specialities here. The main attraction, though, is the view of the Arno River. Make sure to book in advance if you want a window seat.


  • Chill neighbourhood
  • Very trendy
  • Good nightlife


  • Some areas can be noisy at night
🌟top Pick🌟
what area to stay in Florence

Palazzo Mannaioni Suites

Get a suite with a balcony overlooking the Church of Santo Spirito and you’ll swear this is the best location to stay in Florence Italy. 

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟
best area to stay Florence

Santo Spirito Venti

The clean white rooms here have space for up to four people, making them ideal for families. Specify in advance how many singles/doubles you want.

#5 Piazzale Michelangelo – Best Part Of Florence To Stay In For Stunning Views.

Piazzale Michelangelo is where to stay in Florence for couples.
The view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Piazzale Michelangel neighbourhood.
Piazzale Michelangel neighbourhood.

LOCATION: The Piazzale Michelangelo is famous for its views, which take in the whole of downtown Florence. 

There’s not so much in the way of attractions here, but it is arguably the best neighborhood in Florence to stay if you want to relax away from the worst of the crowds.

WHY STAY HERE: This is where to stay in Florence for couples who want to enjoy a romantic hideaway. It may not be as close to the Duomo and the city’s other major sights, but that also lends the area a quieter, more secluded feel that perfectly sets the mood.

Although most of the San Niccolo neighbourhood is largely ignored by tourists, you will definitely find plenty of people flocking to the Piazzale Michelangelo itself. Watched over by a bronze cast of the stature of David, it’s the go-to place for panoramic views of Florence.

We found the walk up to the square only mildly strenuous, but it’s also possible to catch a bus to the top if it seems too steep for your sensibilities. 

The area around the Piazzale Michelangelo has several picturesque places to explore. If you’re visiting in spring, pop into the nearby Giardino delle Rose and/or the Giardino dell’Iris to see the carefully cultivated collections of roses and irises in full bloom.

Just 5 minutes to the south, the Basilica di San Miniato is an 11th-century beauty of a church. Perched atop a hill, it’s another place you’ll find great views of Florence, often with fewer people.

If we haven’t already convinced you that the Piazzale Michelangelo is the best neighborhood to stay in Florence for views, we’re going to finish this section off with one more recommendation: the Bardini Garden.  

This underrated spot is a soothing place to relax and gaze down at the city in quiet contemplation. The villa within the grounds occasionally holds exhibitions, so make sure to check ahead to see if there’s anything interesting on.


  • While away an afternoon hanging out in the Piazzale Michelangelo with great views, a bottle of wine, and some picnic foods.
  • Climb to the top of the Gate of San Niccolò and gaze down from the remains of Florence’s city walls. 


🌟 Boccadarno – We recommend this place for anybody who enjoys splendid seafood dishes paired with crisp glasses of white wine. The signature spaghetti is particularly divine. It’s not a bad place to come for an aperitivo either!

🌟 Dogana di Mare – Forget about Florentine specialties. Dogana di Mare is all about seafood dishes in a chic setting. The menu mainly focuses on sushi, sashimi, and poke, although they have a surprisingly extensive martini selection as well if you just want a light meal and a drink.


  • Unbeatable views
  • Quieter neighbourhood


  • Quite far from the main attractions
  • Fewer accommodation options
🌟top Pick🌟
where is best to stay in Florence

Hotel David

One of the more unique places to stay in Florence Italy, the Hotel David is a cozy lovers’ bolthole with complimentary breakfast, a terrace, and a homey shared lounge.

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟
Florence where to stay

Sognando Firenze

Not far from the Ponte San Niccolo, this property is a simply decorated, affordably priced B&B that is steps away from a handy bus stop for getting into town.

#6 San Lorenzo & San Marco – Best Area of Florence For Cheaper Accommodation.

San Lorenzo

LOCATION: San Lorenzo is to the north of the historic centre and to the east of Santa Maria Novella. While this district isn’t at the top of many tourist itineraries, there’s actually no part of it that isn’t a short walk from the Duomo.

San Marco, on the other hand, is noticeably further out. Found on the northern side of San Lorenzo, it’s one of the best places to stay in Florence Italy if you’re hunting for a bargain.

WHY STAY HERE: San Lorenzo is one of the best neighborhoods in Florence Italy for foodies because it contains the Mercato Centrale. Here, you’ll find lots of gastronomic souvenirs as well as a gourmet food hall selling things that you’ll (mostly) want to try, although the squeamish may not warm to the idea of cow stomach sandwiches.

Just south of the Central Market you’ll come across the San Lorenzo complex, including the Basilica di San Lorenzo. What we found especially fascinating about this church is that because its marble façade was never built, you can see the building ‘unclothed,’ as it were.

There are several different areas to explore here, including the Medici Chapels, where the highly decorative tombs of Florence’s first family are to be found. Another area we particularly enjoyed was the Sagrestia Vecchia (Old Sacristy), designed by Brunelleschi, who as we’ve already mentioned also designed the dome of the Duomo.

Up in San Marco, meanwhile, the Galleria dell’Accademia is arguably the most important place to see, if only for a single reason: Michelangelo’s Statue of David. The rest of the collection pales in comparison, but for art aficionados this one is a bucket list item, as evidenced by the huge queues that assemble outside. Book in advance! 


  • Take a brisk turn around San Marco’s Basilica, then head next door to the San Marco Convent Museum to see the paintings of Fra Angelico.
  • Take a break from the Florentine queues with a visit to the underrated Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, then cross the piazza and visit the Museo degli Innocenti, which details the history of the former orphanage.
  • Contemplate the naked brick façade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
  • Visit the Medici Chapels and marvel at the power of money and influence.


🌟 Trattoria Zà Zà – This slightly maze-like restaurant has hidden depths, in the sense that it’s actually a lot larger than it seems! The slightly bonkers mishmash of baroque decoration is all part of the pageantry of the Trattoria Zà Zà, which serves up a long list of Tuscan items not far from the Mercato Central.

🌟 Il Vezzo – Quirky in a completely different way, Il Vezzo has more of a kooky modern vibe going on. The Florentine steak is a must for meat eaters, fully justifying its price. We went to a lot of places with friendly, capable staff, but the service here was next level.


  • Cheap accommodation
  • Good food options


  • San Marco in particular is further out
  • Not particularly trendy
🌟top Pick🌟
where should I stay in Florence

B&B Lorenzo de’ Medici

Perhaps the best place to stay in Florence with family, this B&B often has deals on suites that will fit four people and includes breakfast.

🌟Mid-Range Pick🌟
best places to stay Florence

Locanda Dei Guelfi

Aside from the decent price per square metre of these comfy rooms, the highlight of Locanda Dei Guelfi is the fantastic rooftop terrace, which has views of the Duomo. 

Where To Stay In Florence Italy: FAQ

Where to avoid staying in Florence?

We would probably avoid staying in Piazzale Michelangelo or San Marco if you want to be in the heart of action. On the other hand, there are benefits to being a little further out, such as a less touristy vibe and more affordable accommodation.

How many days in Florence is enough?

You can rattle through the main attractions over the course of a long weekend. If you want to absorb more of a feel for the different areas and get off the beaten path, consider spending a week in the Tuscan capital.

Is Florence walkable?

Florence is a very walkable city, which might be why the city hasn’t invested in a metro system. All the best neighborhoods to stay in Florence that we’ve mentioned in this post are at most 30 minutes from the centre on foot, though most are about half that. 

Is Florence an expensive city to visit?

We didn’t find the restaurants and attractions in Florence particularly punchy pricewise, but the hotels definitely are wince-inducingly expensive. San Marco is where to stay in Florence if you’re on a budget, as you get more bang for your buck.

What is the best time to go to Florence?

April to June is a pleasant time to visit, before the heat and the crowds become too extreme. That’s also when the gardens are in full bloom. Alternatively, September and October are also temperate and tend to see moderately fewer tourists.

Where To Stay In Florence Italy: Final Word

Having given you a solid overview of where to stay in Florence for different types of holidays, we’re going to sign off by saying something that should give you plenty of confidence about booking a hotel in the city: there really isn’t a bad area to stay. 

None of the parts of Florence we’ve seen and mentioned here have seemed dangerous or sketchy. It’s just a matter of taste. Even the furthest out districts really aren’t much of a journey if you don’t mind a short bus ride. 

Wherever you end up staying, we’re sure you’ll have as much fun in the Tuscan capital as we did!

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