A Curated Guide of Where to Stay in Florence
These are the seven best areas to stay in Florence to explore the Tuscan capital
All your bags are packed, you’re ready to go, but do you actually know where to stay in Florence? Thanks to our neighbourhood guide on the romantic, Renaissance-lover’s dream city, that is no longer a question. And if you have any other questions, the chances are that our comprehensive Plum Guide research has found an answer to that too.
When it comes to the best area to stay in Florence, you can’t get more central than the neighbourhood surrounding the Duomo cathedral. This means you’ll be able to hit your number one sightseeing destination almost without leaving the comfort of your ultra high thread count duvet. Feels good, doesn’t it? The Duomo is located halfway between the churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce, and is the midpoint between the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio to the south and San Marco and the Accademia to the north. There really is no better HQ from which to explore the Tuscan capital, especially when you can spend downtime staring at beamed ceilings like in Plum Guide's Duomo hideaway Ladyship.
For all you history nerds buffs - and don’t lie, we know you’re out there - Duomo is one of oldest areas in the city with many of the roads still following the original grid laid down by the Romans.
The Ponte Vecchio in the heart of pre-Renaissance Florence is the oldest bridge in the city so staying near here is both wildly romantic and means your Instagram-obsessed kids can pose for selfies galore while you’re still drinking espresso in bed. You’re also a stone’s throw from the Uffizi where you can look at paintings until you never want to see another painting again.
Try The Old Ford out for size, where you can not only view the bridge from your own floor-to-ceiling window, but practically hear the water flowing across the stones in the Arno below.
If part of your reason for travelling the world is to look at old churches - and before you ask, no, there’s no shame in that (well, not much anyway) - you might consider San Miniato when deciding where to stay in Florence. The stupendous Romanesque basilica of San Miniato al Monte stands high above the city, offering glorious views with the added bonus of being off the beaten track. You’ll avoid the usual throngs of people as you stroll home to your spacious Plum Guide property.
Feel truly in the soul of the city by staying near Florence’s university, the Accademia, at the northern end of the historic city centre. You’ll be steps from two must-see Florentine churches, San Marco and Santissima Annunziata, but you’ll also be far enough from the hustle and bustle that there won’t be as many tourists around to annoy you and remind you you’re actually on vacation, not living out your retire-in-Italy dream. At the end of a long day spent planning your next pasta, lounge on Fendi-designed bed at the luxury Plum Guide apartment The Patron to give yourself the rest you deserve.
If you want to feel like a local, or at the very least stop being treated like such a tourist, then this is the place for you. The bulk of visitors to the Tuscan capital don’t really roam east of Piazza Santa Croce, so although this area is still conveniently central, you should be pretty much safe from people with pamphlets offering yet another peek at the David.
The streets around here tend to become especially alive after dark, with this neighbourhood being home to some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. Don’t miss the cocktail hour, known as aperitivo in Italia, along Vie de’ Benci before tottering home to your trendy Plum Guide property.
Santa Maria Novella
You may recognise the words Santa Maria Novella as the luxury Florentine apothecary that’s been selling posh bath and homeware products to those with rubies in the saddlebag since the time of the Medici. But apart from being the namesake of an almond soap that smells good enough to eat, this is also one of the best areas to stay in Florence.
Avoid the roads near the train station and opt for a home closer to the San Lorenzo section, or past Santa Maria Novella church nearer the river.
Oltrarno translates as “across the Arno’ and in terms of where to stay in Florence it’s a beautiful and authentic option. Once the artisans’ neighborhood, the streets around here are still dotted with various craft workshops. Although the neighbourhood started as more working class, a Cinderella (or Cenerentola in Italian) story began when aristocrats decided to build palatial houses here, most notably the Pitti Palace.
A stay here means that you’ll be essentially waking up in the Ponte Vecchio's backyard, while still having a quiet space to come home to.