Florence has a huge choice of accommodation. But which are the best areas to stay in? Here we give you a panorama of the different areas in Florence to help decide what suits you best.
Florence is a relatively small city and you can walk pretty much everywhere. You can choose to be right in the middle of it all, near Piazza Duomo or Piazza Signoria, or maybe you prefer the more laid back hip area of the Oltrarno.
How to choose accommodation in Florence
Near Santa Maria Novella train station. Around the station and San Lorenzo Market it can be quite busy, and not as well manicured as other parts of the city. But it’s very convenient if you’re planning day trips from Florence to nearby destinations and using public transport (the main bus terminals are all around the train station). There’s a lot of budget accommodation in this area, and a few long established four star hotels. The Duomo can be reached on foot in ten minutes from the station.
Around the Duomo. If you want to be right in the middle of it all, choose a location between the Cathedral, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Signoria. Here you’re never far from the main attractions, and it’s busy and lively at all hours of day and night. You have a choice between budget hotels and pensioni or charming boutique establishments tucked away down the quieter streets. For a room with a great view, why not look for a hotel overlooking the Arno river, near the Ponte Vecchio?
Santa Croce area. This is one of the hot spots for Florentine nightlife. It’s an area with lots of artisans around, and plenty of bars, cafes and pubs to enjoy in the evening. It’s a young crowd, so don’t come for peace and quiet. The artistic highlight of this area is the magnificent Santa Croce Church.
Oltrarno is getting more and more popular, with plenty of private accommodation and B&B’s. it’s removed enough from the city centre that you can still get a sense of the real Florence, even if that is changing fast with the increase of tourist accommodation in the area. Around Piazza Santo Spirito and Borgo San Frediano it’s very lively at night, as is the San Niccolò area, but as a general rule it’s less busy than the other side of the river.
Away from it all. Further south is the area around Porta Romana, the southern gate to the city centre. It’s a lovely, green area with plenty of accommodation on the hills that rise up to meet Piazzale MIchelangelo. There are buses that connect Porta Romana with the centre or you can walk. It takes around 30 minutes to get from the Duomo to Porta Romana on foot.
Parking. Always ask the hotel about additional parking fees, parking permits and permits to enter the city if you’re planning on driving to Florence city centre. This also goes for other cities like Lucca, Siena and Pisa, where there’s a ZTL ‘residents only’ area in the centre.
Breakfast is usually continental (bread, croissants, fruit juices and coffee) but bigger international chain hotels also offer cooked breakfasts, and smaller boutique hotels might treat you with fresh, quality pastries. If you don’t fancy breakfast at your hotel, you’ll often a better quality cappuccino and pastry at a bar around the corner.