Florence’s rich history has made it a draw for both history and art lovers, attracting millions of tourists each year to the city to explore the many galleries and museums while taking in the rich culture of Italy.
My time spent in Florence has always been an enriching experience, and each visit allowed me to explore a little deeper and check out various areas of Florence and see what each had to offer.
In this article, I will detail each of the main tourist neighborhoods to help you decide where to stay in Florence to get the most out of the experience. Don’t worry too much about getting everything in, after one trip you will want to come back!
When to Go:
What to Do:
Best Places To Stay in Florence
Looking for a quick reference on where to stay in Florence? Don’t worry, we got you covered with a quick look at our top picks.
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel — Solo Experience Hotel
- 💎 Best Luxury Resort — Hotel L’Orologio
- 🤑 Best Budget Hotel — Loggia Fiorentina Hotel
- 🏨 Best Boutique Hotel — Room Mate Luca
- 👪 Best Hotel For Families — Hotel del Corso
- ⛷ Best Hostel for Solo Travellers — PLUS Florence
- 💑 Best Hotel for Couples — Bretagna Heritage – Alferie Collezione
The 5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Florence
Now that we have your accommodations sorted, let’s take a look at the different areas in Florence and highlight the best bits.
Best Area for first-time visitors to Florence.
The center of Florence, both geographically and historically, is home to the neighborhood of Duomo. It is by far the most famous district in the city due to it containing many of the major attractions including ‘The Duomo” which the area gets its name from.
For first-time visitors to Florence, Duomo is an extremely popular choice for lodging regardless of whether you are flying solo or rolling with a family. Pizza and ice cream shops, cobbled streets, cafes, and charming locals‚ what’s not to like, right? Exactly!
All in all, Duomo is a fun, safe, and well-known neighborhood that has an abundance of activities and sights.
Duomo Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for First-Time Visitors
- Best Hotels – Hotel Bodoni • Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy • Hotel Perseo • Hotel Duomo Firenze • Duomo View • B&B Hotel Firezne Laurus Al Duomo
- Best Hostel – Academy Hostel • Hotel Bavaria • Bed and Breakfast Il Bargello
- Best Apartments – Venere di Botticelli Suite • [Duomo] Elegente Apartameno • Raffaelo Al Duomo – Residenza Bufalini
- Where to Eat – Panini Toscani – $, Caffè Duomo – $$, Amalfi Al Duomo – $$
- Where to Drink – JJ Cathedral Irish Pub, Empire Rooftop view American Bar & Pool – Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
- Top Attractions – The Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile, Accademia Gallery, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Campanile, Battistero di San Giovanni, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Museo delle Illusioni Firenze, Piazza della Repubblica, Museo Leonardo da Vinci, Uffizi Gallery
2. San Marco
For those looking to explore Florence on a budget.
Another neighborhood in Florence that is near the city center, but somewhat more relaxed is the San Marco district. Classic art, more cool attractions, museums, and local shops fill the diverse neighborhood.
And, besides having nearly just as much to see as in the Duomo district, San Marco is also home to many of Florence’s main budget accommodations.
So, for students, backpackers, or families on a tight budget this neighborhood is where you will save the most money.
San Marco Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for those traveling on a budget or as a family
- Best Hotels – Hotel Orto de’Medici • Residenza Conte di Cavour & Rooftop • Boutique Hotel Hugo
- Best Hostels – PLUS Florence • Piccolo Hotel
- Best Apartments – Florence Apartment great location – Hosted by Sweetstay • Discovering Florence • Mamo Florence – Cavour Apartments
- Where to Eat – All’Antico Vinaio – $, Dioniso – $$, Pizzeria Starita Firenze – $$
- Where to Drink – Ciapetti Bar Pasticceria, Kitsch Deux
- Top Attractions – Museo Nazionale di San Marco, Piazza San Marco, Giardino di Palazzo Pandolfini, Galleria dell’Accademia, Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica
3. San Spirito & San Frediano
For those looking for a vibrant nightlife
Two neighborhoods located on opposite sides of the river that runs through Florence, San Spirito, and San Frediano make one awesome district for partying and nightlife. Vibrant and artsy, the dual neighborhood is one of the most lively in the city. After dark, the area gets even more wild and more fun.
Not the best place to stay in Florence if traveling with family, but if solo or as a couple looking to blow off some steam, few areas in Florence have as much excitement to offer.
Sunset cocktails, rooftop terrace parties, dancing, singing, and mingling with other tourists and locals are all part of the appeal of San Spirito and San Frediano.
All that said, there are quite a few interesting attractions, museums, and architectural beauties to behold in San Spirito and San Frediano as well, for the history and art buffs.
San Spirito & San Frediano Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for those looking to indulge in a vibrant nightlife
- Best Hotels – Relais II Cestello • Casa Santa Nome di Gesu • SPIRIT OF FLORENCE Boutique Rooms • B&B Bonsignori
- Apartments – Santo Spirito Apartment • San Frediano Elegant • Acacia Firenze – Cocco
- Where to Eat – Gustapanino – $$, Trattoria La Casalinga – $$, Berberè San Frediano – $$
- Where to Drink – Loggia Roof Bar – Hotel Palazzo Guadagni, Rasputin, MAD Souls and Spirits
- Top Attractions – Basilica di Santo Spirito, Giardino Torrigiani, Palazzo Pitti, Porta di San Frediano, Chiesa di San Frediano in Castello, Piazza del Carmine, Cappella Brancacci
4. Santa Croce
Coolest Place to Stay in Florence
One of the best-kept secrets when it comes to where to stay in Florence is a little neighborhood called Santa Croce.
It is hands down one of the coolest places to stay in Florence according to recent travelers’ reviews. Much like San Marco, Santa Croce is close enough to Duomo and the city center to be more than convenient, yet far less hectic.
If culture is what you are looking for on your trip to Florence, you will have a hard time finding a better district to stay in than Santa Croce, besides the city center of the course. The neighborhood is absolutely authentic. All of the best sights to see including museums and events are within walking distance.
There are also more than a few bars, restaurants, cafes, and clubs to choose from as well. And aside from option number three on this list, there are probably more young people hanging around in this district than anywhere else in the city.
Santa Croce Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for an authentic and cool experience
- Best Hotels – Hotel Privilege • Maison Santa Croce • Michelangelo’s Place • Lei Stanza dei Ghibellini
- Apartments – Mamo Florence – Rosa Apartment
- Where to Eat – SchiacciaMatta – $, Bisteccheria Santa Croce – $$, La Buchetta Food & Wine Restaurant – $$
- Where to Drink – Note di Vino , Kikuya Pub, Viktoria Lounge Bar
- Top Attractions – Basilica di Santa Croce, Pazzi Chapel, Basilica of Santa Croce, Tabernacolo, Monumento a Dante Alaghieri, Tomba di Michelangelo Buonarroti, Casa Buonarroti
5. Santa Maria Novella
The best area for families with kids
Last but not least, for those who will be visiting Florence with family, including children, Santa Maria Novella is perhaps the best area to stay.
Due to being home to the main train station in the city, it is one of the first areas travelers encounter when visiting Florence for the first time and one of the most well-connected areas. It is a great base camp for further exploring the area, as well as getting right to sightseeing the moment you arrive.
The district is full of energy, with people coming and going, shopping, dining, and sightseeing. The neighborhood is home to elaborate city squares, exquisite architecture, and dozens of other historical and cultural attractions.
The district is also home to Parco Delle Cascine, one of the most expansive parks in Florence. If you have children or pets, this is a huge benefit of staying in Santa Maria Novella.
Santa Maria Novella Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for families with children
- Best Hotels – Casa Howard Firenze – Residenza d’Epoca • Hotel Magenta • Mama’s Home Florence
- Best Hostels – YellowSquare Florence • Ostello Bello Firenze
- Apartments – New Hostel Florence • Florence Feel Apartment • Bonnie Boutique Apartment
- Where to Eat – Trattoria Osteria Dall’Oste SMN – $$, Ristorante Storico Sabatini – $$$, Parione – $$$
- Where to Drink – Public House 27, The Arts Inn, The Joshua Tree Pub
- Top Attractions – Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Santa Maria Novella Museum, Santa Trinita Basilica, Church of Santi Michele e Gaetano, Borgo Ognissanti, Museo Novecento, Museo Marino Marini , Palazzo Strozzi, Museo Ferragamo, Palazzo Davanzati
FAQs About Where to Stay in Florence
What are the best places to stay in Florence for tourists?
Any of the central districts listed here would be great options for tourists, as they each have their own attractions. However, generally the best two places to stay are the Duomo area and the Santa Maria Novella area.
These two locations are next to each other, to the north-east of the Arno River. Santa Maria Novella is a particularly great option because it’s the home of the train station, where many tourists will first come into Florence.
Regardless of which area you choose, both the Duomo area and Santa Maria Novella are within walking distance to several major attractions. This includes the two iconic churches: Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo itself!) and the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.
If you stay in these areas, you’ll also be a close distance to Palazzo Strozzi, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, and of course, Ponte Vecchio. You’ll also be close to the Uffizi Gallery, one of Florence’s greatest highlights that houses famous artwork including the work of Leonardo da Vinci.
What hotels in Florence are best for families?
There’s an abundance of accommodation options in Florence, including hotels and apartments.
As hotel sizes and standards tend to be a little smaller and lower than what Americans may be used to, it’s worth looking into an apartment if you’re staying with your family. Apartments in Florence tend to offer more room.
What are the best hotels in Florence?
Hotels in Florence can be expensive, but some of the best ones are worth it. These include Hotel Duomo Firenze, which offers a spectacular view of the Santa Maria del Fiore church, Michelangelo’s Place in Santa Croce, and Hotel Orto de’Medici in San Marco.
So, Where Should You Stay in Florence?
- Duomo — The most popular neighborhood in Florence for international tourists, Duomo allows visitors to make the most of their visit, especially those wanting to experience the architecture, art, and history of Florence. This area also offers an abundance of unique accommodations all within a short distance of amazing sites.
- San Marco — Also located within the heart of Florence’s tourism scene, San Marco is a slightly quiet and slower-paced area that provides more affordable accommodations and activities. San Marco is only a short distance from the Duomo area so travelers can still check out the top attractions on a budget.
- San Spirito & San Frediano — For those traveling solo and looking to take in the vibrant nightlife of Florence, San Spirito or San Frediano is your best bet. Sunset cocktails, rooftop terrace parties, dancing, singing, and mingling with other tourists are just some of the activities you will find here.
- Santa Croce — Like finding the ‘coolest’ places wherever you travel, that resonates authenticity while offering unique dining and bars? Santa Croce will be your go-to area. It is also within proximity of the Duomo area so you can be a tourist during the day and relax like a local in the evening.
- Santa Maria Novella — Centralized location combined with ample green space, Santa Maria Novella is the ideal base camp for families who want to explore different areas of Florence via the city’s main street station.
Choosing where to stay in Florence is just the start. In reality, every corner is rich in history and packed with exciting things to do. Before you go, be sure to check out this list of some of the best places to visit in Florence as you continue to plan your trip to this corner of paradise.