The Best Places to Stay in Florence for Tourists
Our definitive guide to the best of the best in the Cradle of the Renaissance.
Travelling to Firenze for the first time? This glorious Renaissance city is romantic, historic, beautiful and delicious. There are churches to visit, bridges to cross, museums to explore and restaurants to enjoy. As a seasoned traveller with
expensive high quality taste, we know you’ll want to be right in the centre of it all.
Thanks to this guide to the best places to stay in Florence for tourists, you’re sure to see and admire the very best of the Tuscan capital. And grazie to the fastidious nature and expertise of our Plum Guide home critics, we know your home away from home will provide all the comforts you need and deserve while on holiday.
When it comes to the best place to stay in Florence for tourists, you will want to plant roots around the historic city centre, somewhere between the Duomo, Santa Croce and Ponte Vecchio neighbourhoods. This will put you in the optimal position to explore by foot, thereby keeping your old bones in shape and maximising your ability to really get under the skin of the city. Read on to discover why these neighbourhoods are top of the list when it comes to where to stay in Florence.
Duomo is the neighbourhood directly surrounding the Florence Cathedral, better known as the Duomo di Firenze. For those of you who go crazy for dates and history – don’t worry, nerds are cool these days – take note that construction on this vast gothic structure was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the 13th century while the dome, from which the building now takes its name, was added in the 15th century and designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
Duomo is undoubtedly the most central neighbourhood in the city, and a stone’s throw from the majority of popular tourist destinations including the Uffizi Gallery, home of Michelangelo’s David and the Palazzo Vecchio. For the art lovers, this lovely flat, complete with its original wooden beamed ceiling, is right on the Piazza della Signoria which means you could literally wake up and walk into the Uffizi.
If that sounds like your morning from hell, skip the museum for now and go straight to the Caffe Rivoire, also on the piazza and dating back to 1872. Famous for its chocolate pralines and marrons glacés, this is the perfect local spot to enjoy a coffee and a treat before heading out for the day.
Duomo is not the best place to stay in Florence for tourists if you don’t like crowds. It’s full of hotels, boutiques and restaurants and this means pretty heavy foot traffic and a decent amount of cars and taxis buzzing about as well. However, you can’t beat the beauty of the area nor the convenience. Staying here means you are basically living amongst the finest monuments, museums and squares in the city, many of which feature on our 7 day Florence itinerary.
The second neighbourhood on our guide to the best places to stay in Florence for tourists is Santa Croce. This area centres around the Basilica di Santa Croce located along the Eastern edge of the centro storico – or for those of you who didn't pay attention in Italian class, the historic city centre. The beautiful church is a must-visit when in the city with its splendid Giotto frescoes as well as the tombs of Florentine icons of yore, Michelangelo and Galileo.
This enviable Santa Croce home is located in the historic Palazzo Mori Ubaldini degli Alberti - try saying that five times fast - which for more than one hundred years has been recognised as an integral component of Italy’s artistic heritage. The interiors are lavish and include a frescoed living room ceiling. Don’t let your teens loose in here unless you’re happy with them conducting multiple photo shoots for their social media. Hey, at least that way you’ll know exactly where they are.
Eating, of course, is one of the best things to do in Florence. Thankfully, the Santa Croce neighbourhood boasts delicious restaurants lining its narrow medieval streets. Sant’Ambrogio Square and the Via de’ Benci are among the best places in the city to enjoy aperitivo hour al fresco, while nearby Sant’Ambrogio Market sells bountiful fruit and vegetables, should you wish to cook at home some nights. This is the ideal place to stay in Florence for tourists who want to feel like locals while still being in the city centre.
The area surrounding the romantic Ponte Vecchio is our last recommendation in our guide to places to stay in Florence for tourists. The medieval bridge from which the neighbourhood takes its name links both sides of the Arno river and is the most famous and oldest bridge in the city. Like Duomo and Santa Croce, you’ll be super centrally located crashing here. What could be better than staying along the river while still being in walking distance to the city’s top attractions, restaurants and museums?
The streets around Ponte Vecchio are lined with kitsch souvenir shops, artisan jewellery boutiques and traditional Florentine trattorias. Like Duomo, it can be quite busy and touristy but with a home as luxurious as The Academy, we don’t guess that will stop you. More like a museum than an apartment, this home is filled with sculptures, antiques and oil paintings and also features an expansive terrace. Or you could try Limonata, a flat which dates back to 1100 and boasts a beautiful terrace overlooking the rooftops.
Museo Galileo is definitely one not to miss when staying around these parts. One of the most popular attractions in the city, this institution is focused on science history as opposed to art history, so will surely make a welcome change for some of you.
Have our homes piqued your interest? You'll be glad to discover that each of them have been professionally vetted by our very picky home critics, so rest assured you're in for a great night's sleep.