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Where To Stay In Florence: The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide

26 March, 2022by Bounce

Planning a trip to Florence? If you are not sure which area or neighborhood is the best to stay in you will want to keep reading to find where to stay in Florence! Each neighborhood has a real Italian vibe and pulse and trying to figure out which one is best for you can be challenging. First time visitors will find this guide to where to stay when visiting Florence a valuable read.

If you have your luggage in tow as you scope out the best place to stay in Florence, locate a Florence luggage locker nearby and then stroll through the streets to see what each place offers. The historical center is a good choice when you are wanting to be in the heart of things. You may want to think about Piazza Santa Croce for affordable accommodation or a cute Air BnB.

Do you want to be within walking distance of Santa Maria del Fiore? How about staying nearby Florence's main train station so you can hop on public transit with ease? Maybe free breakfast is an absolute must. Staying near the Arno River for top tourist attractions like Boboli Gardens or in central Florence for the Pitti Palace will be at the top of the list for many. No matter where you stay in Florence, you will enjoy your time here!

Where to stay in Duomo

When you are a first time visitor to Florence, you will definitely want to stay in the Duomo neighborhood. This is where many of the historical monuments and fantastic architecture can be found. It is home to the Florence Cathedral, also called Duomo, and is the most significant and recognizable building in the entire city.

The neighborhood is home to several landmarks such as the Museo Nazionale del Bargello with its Italian Renaissance sculptures and the Battistero di San Giovanni. It is the Historic City Centre where most of the action can be found. This neighborhood is one of the most crowded, with congested streets and busy attractions, but being the pulse of the city, it is arguably the coolest neighborhood in Florence.

With several wonderful bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, you will want to stay in this neighborhood when you are here with friends or your significant other and want to be right in the middle of things. Things are pricier here than in other neighborhoods because of the high demand for lodging and eateries – but worth every penny.

You can still find a few moderately priced boutique hotels in the area and you can find a clean, friendly hostel in the heart of Florence in the Duomo neighborhood. But these do need to be booked several months in advance, otherwise, you will be paying a premium price for one of the higher-end hotels.

Where to stay in Piazza della Signoria

When you are in town for strictly sightseeing, then plan to stay in the Piazza della Signoria neighborhood. The charming cobblestone streets are the same as they were when they were first laid and the neighborhood has kept its amazing historical personality through the years. You will feel as if you are walking through a quaint medieval village as you stroll through the streets of the Piazza della Signoria.

If you are craving something a little more modern than what most of this neighborhood offers, you can head to the northern blocks where the buildings are newer and the businesses are not as set on maintaining the historical value of the area. While here, you can wander through the winding streets and find some adorable shops to watch artisans work their craft.

This neighborhood is also a busy tourist area because of the fantastic museums including the Pitti Palace, Uffizi Gallery, and Bargello Sculpture Gallery. You can stay at one of the moderately priced hotels and then walk to these great attractions. Just remember, the streets do get clogged with tourists, making it difficult to take a leisurely stroll.

Where to stay in Santo Spirito – Oltrarno

Another great neighborhood for doing things for free such as sightseeing and then relaxing over drinks at night, the Santo Spirito – Oltrarno neighborhood is located on the opposite bank of the Arno River from the Duomo neighborhood. It is not as touristy as the Duomo or Piazza della Signoria neighborhoods and is great when you want to feel more of the local vibe.

Filled with artisans, the neighborhood seems to cater more to the working class and offers reasonable hotels, restaurants, and even boutiques. You will not break the bank when you decide to stay in this neighborhood. Stroll through the streets and check out many of the large homes that were built in the early 1900s for the aristocrats that used to call this neighborhood home.

The Piazza Santo Spirito has its own festive personality and is one of the main social gathering places for the locals of the area. There are a number of great restaurants and bars that keep with the local essence that is Oltrarno and while it is not the most popular place in Florence, it is one of the most authentic Tuscan spots in the entire city.

This affordable neighborhood offers well-appointed hostels, high-end luxury hotels, and modestly priced hotels. There really is something for every budget when you decide to stay in the Oltrarno neighborhood. Just ask the locals, they will point you to their favorite lodgings and make sure you have a memorable time when staying here.

Where to stay in Piazza della Repubblica

Many people argue that the Piazza della Repubblica is the heart of Florence and it may be when you think in terms of commerce and economics. But culturally, Piazza della Signoria and Duomo neighborhoods hold more historic landmarks and are better known as tourist areas.

The Piazza della Repubblica is close to both the Piazza della Signoria and Duomo neighborhoods making it ideal to stay in so you can still reach all the great attractions without being in the overcrowded areas. This area actually dates back to the Middle Ages but many of the medieval structures were destroyed in the 18th century to make room for more modern architecture.

So while the neighborhood may be quite old, the architecture does not fit the history of the area making it a bit odd for history buffs to truly appreciate the area. Spend time in the piazza when you stay here and relax while enjoying live street performances. Listen to local musicians play while you sit in an open-air café sipping a glass of wine.

The piazza also has a few wonderful hotels and hostels that are more modestly priced than those in the more popular tourist areas. You will still want to make your reservations early to ensure you have a room waiting, preferably one that overlooks the lively plaza so you can savor your morning coffee while watching the piazza come alive.

Where to stay in Piazzale Michelangelo

Okay, so the Piazzale Michelangelo is not technically a neighborhood in Florence, but it is an amazing square that is the perfect place to stay when you are seeking peace and quiet along with fantastic views of Florence. It is a bit further than Oltrarno and is worth the extra few minutes' walk from the city center.

The streets leading to and from the Piazzale Michelangelo are usually very congested. Few of the tourists actually stick around to appreciate the wonderful square. You can bet that when you stay here, you will not have to deal with rude or rowdy tourists and can relax over an authentic Tuscan meal while enjoying live music and local performers.

While there is not a ton to do in the Piazzale Michelangelo, there is plenty to keep you busy just a few minutes away. It is across the river and is a little isolated from the different tourist centers that make Florence the tourist city it is today. It is located near Oltrarno and some may consider it part of that neighborhood, but it is more secluded than the rest of the neighborhood.

There are only a few hotel options in and near Piazzale Michelangelo but they are comfortable, clean, and affordable. Pack your bags and prepare to spend a relaxing few days in Florence getting to know the locals while exploring a few of the landmarks and attractions.

Where to stay in Santa Croce

This is one of the best neighborhoods in Florence when you are searching for the ultimate nightlife and fine dining experience. This historic area is just minutes from many of the popular tourist attractions and is one of the few authentic Tuscan neighborhoods that is a stone’s throw from the city center.

While most tourists do not venture to the Santa Croce neighborhood, those who are familiar with Florence will look for accommodations in this neighborhood so they are close to all the touristy things but far enough to still immerse themselves in the Florentine culture. One of the main attractions here is the Santa Croce Basilica.

When the sun goes down, Santa Croce comes alive and the Via dé Benic is alive with must-try restaurants and trendy nightclubs. Happy hour here has a whole new meaning and gives you a chance to visit with the locals and learn more about their culture while partaking in food and drink.

You will want to visit the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, a lively market filled with wonderful artisans and scrumptious street food. Bring your cash as the vendors here do not take cards or apps. Scour the stalls looking for the perfect souvenirs and gifts for loved ones back home. You will find some great deals.

Where to stay in Santa Maria Novella

Being closest to the main train station does have its advantages. You can hop a train and take a day trip when staying in the Santa Maria Novella district. With many attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars, this is the place to stay when you want to immerse yourself fully in the Florentine culture.

While the neighborhood may be a bit shady and chaotic, it is a fun place to stay as long as you stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Seek out a charming hotel that offers a daily breakfast buffet and views of the architecture found throughout the neighborhood.

Make time to visit the Santa Maria Novella church, it is ripe with history and cultural significance. The neighborhood does not attract many tourists so if you want to get to know the area this is definitely your chance. Check out the 600-year-old Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy which is one of the most interesting landmarks in the entire city.

Visit the Cappelle Mediccee, the mausoleum where many of the Medici family are laid to rest. It is creepy and interesting at the same time. You will find the cheapest places to stay when in Florence in this neighborhood, especially at the hotel next to the train station.

Where to stay in San Lorenzo

The San Lorenzo church is the cornerstone of this neighborhood and does see a lot of tourists throughout the year. With the Central Market also located here, tourists do make their way through the neighborhood but few find it exciting enough to stay and enjoy the moderately priced hotels.

The neighborhood is on the northern fringe of the popular tourist area in Florence and is located between the Duomo and the Central Train Station. There are plenty of places to explore when you stay here including amazing restaurants that the locals prefer instead of the restaurants that cater more to tourists.

The Mercato Centrale, or Central Market, is bursting at the seams with vendor stalls and an expansive indoor food court that can seat up to five hundred people. The street food vendors offer traditional and international fare that will have your taste buds singing.

After enjoying the food court, browse the vendors on the first level and pick up some of the best Florentine leather goods for gifts and even a few things for yourself. When you shop the market, you are not paying the higher prices that the boutiques in the touristy areas charge.

Budget or Luxury Hotels

When you stay in this Renaissance city, you may at first want to find the best luxury hotels, but there are plenty of affordable Florence hotels that are wonderful, too! The best place to stay in Florence for you may mean spacious rooms with air conditioning, free WiFi, a rooftop terrace, and a view of Florence Hills. For some, a centrally located traditional hotel near the terrific boutique shops, wine bars, and eateries is the ideal choice.

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