A full guide to where to stay in Florence, Italy for first-time visitors (+ the best hotels and apartments with parking and near the Duomo).
Florence (Firenze in Italian) is the capital of the Tuscany region in Italy. It is known for being the birthplace of the Renaissance. The city centre is an open-air museum full of culture, art and historic sites.
Florence is one of Italy’s most popular destinations. Yet, unlike Rome for example, it’s relatively small and walkable.
The Arno River divides the city into two parts. The north part is the historic city centre, where most of the attractions are (including the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio). This is the area where you’ll spend most of your days.
If you look at a map, you’ll see a yellow ring. This boulevard follows the former medieval city walls. It circles the oldest part of the city. This is the place where you would like to stay for your first time in Florence.
In the south part, you’ll find Palazzo Pitti and Piazza Michelangelo (the best view of Florence). Numerous bridges connect the two riverbanks and the most famous one is Ponte Vecchio.
Considering the above, the historic city centre is the best place to stay in Florence for first-time visitors. In my hotel guide, you’ll also find the best places to stay in Florence for one night, honeymoon and near the train station.
I also have some tips for you if you’re arriving by car (including the best area to stay and some hotel recommendations).
Note that Florence is not a cheap city (and it’s also a very touristy destination). If you want to find accommodation at a good price and convenient location, book months in advance.
I spent a few days in Florence (arriving by train from Bologna). As this was my first time in the city, it was important for me the hotel to be as close to the historic sites as possible. In addition, I wanted easy access to the train station.
If you’re visiting for sightseeing (and planning a few day trips), I recommend staying in the area between the Duomo and the Central train station. In this way, you’d be within walking distance of everything.
Most popular hotel in Florence
In a hurry? Looking for a comfy hotel with a great location and an excellent rating? Then check out the Grand Hotel Baglioni – it’s one of the most popular hotels in Florence.
Grand Hotel Baglioni has a perfect location – at walking distance to Duomo and super convenient for transport links (not far from the train station). It’s the best place to stay for sightseeing, dining out and as well as day trips around Tuscany.
Why book – ideal location, rooftop restaurant, smartphone with free international calls and mobile internet
Where to stay in Florence first time
- Duomo (San Giovanni district) – for sightseeing
- Santa Croce – for dining out and sightseeing
- Santa Maria Novella – for one night and transport links
- Outside the city centre – if you’re travelling by car
- Ponte Vecchio – for honeymoon
San Giovanni – best area to stay in Florence first time
The best area to stay in Florence is the San Giovanni district. This is the area around the famous Duomo. Here you’ll find the most popular tourist sites, including Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia and Palazzo Vecchio. San Giovanni is also the best place to stay in Florence for first-time visitors.
San Giovanni is the heart of historic Florence, where the magnificent Duomo and Piazza della Signoria are. The neighbourhood takes its name from the famous Baptistery of San Giovanni, opposite the Duomo. In fact, it’s a small area concentrated with historic sights, art galleries, cobblestone streets and authentic trattorias.
If you can’t find affordable accommodation in San Giovanni, the Santa Croce district is a very good second option. Santa Croce is located within the yellow ring (for which I talked earlier) east of San Giovanni.
Staying in Santa Croce will put you at walking distance from the major tourist attractions. In addition, you’ll find lovely little trattorias and many leather shops in the area. The only disadvantage in comparison to San Giovanni is that the train station is a little further away (about a 30min walk).
In general, try to choose a hotel in the area within the yellow ring and north of Arno River. There are many affordable hotels in the area (if you book early enough) and you’d be near the attractions.
Why stay in San Giovanni
- It’s the best location if you’re visiting Florence for sightseeing (everything is no more than a 5min walk).
- You can explore Piazza del Duomo early in the morning when it’s empty of tourists.
- You’ll be easily first in line at Galleria dell’Accademia or Uffizi Gallery.
- Take a guided walking tour with TakeWalks, that will show you the city’s highlights, including Michelangelo’s David and Duomo.
- Take a stroll along Via Tornabuoni, one of the city’s most expensive streets (home to tens of luxury shops and boutiques).
- Climb to the top of the dome of Florence’s cathedral for panoramic views of the medieval city.
- The Central train station is about a 10min walk (this makes it easy for day trips).
Hotels near Duomo (Best for couples)
Hotel De La Ville is one of the most popular hotels around Duomo. It’s located on the famous pedestrian shopping street, Via Tornabuoni, and less than a 5min walk from Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. The hotel features air-conditioned rooms with a classic Florentine décor.
Why book – next to Duomo and Uffizi Gallery, fabulous complimentary breakfast with freshly baked Italian pastries
Set in the heart of Florence, this hotel is just a few steps away from the famous Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Excellent breakfast with organic products served on the panoramic-view terrace.
Why book – next to Ponte Vecchio, big rooms with comfy beds and beautiful city views
Hotels near Duomo (Best for families)
Located less than a 2min walk from Duomo, FH55 Hotel Calzaiuoli is the best place to stay in Florence for families. The complimentary breakfast features delicious traditional Florentine pastries and Tuscan savouries.
Why book – easy walk to main historic sites, spacious comfy rooms
Set in the 16-century palace, Hotel del Corso has an ideal location in the heart of the medieval city. It also features a terrace with an amazing view of the city’s cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore.
Why book – ideal location between Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio, the air-conditioned rooms are quiet and spacious
Best luxury hotels near Duomo
This is the most popular 5-star hotel in Florence, near Duomo. And if you look for a truly special holiday, this is the place to stay. Featuring a 13-century tower, marvellous frescos and elegant design, the hotel is the perfect fusion of old and new.
Why book – elegant air-conditioned rooms with exquisite frescos, delicious truffle dishes at the Savini Tartufi Truffle Restaurant
Situated next to Palazzo Strozzi, this 5-star luxury hotel features an intimate and elegant atmosphere. Golden Tower Hotel is the ideal place for all who look for a dream Italian vacation. It is one of the few hotels in the city centre, where you can find a wellness centre.
Why book – next to Palazzo Strozzi, a fabulous free spa with a hot tub, Turkish bath and sauna
Best apartments near Duomo
Set in a historic building on the corner of Piazza della Signoria, these apartments are as central as they can get. Close to all historic attractions, this is the best place to stay for a couple of days in Florence.
Why book – next to Piazza della Signoria, easy check-in, close to a supermarket (at Ponte Vecchio)
If you look for an apartment right next to Duomo, look no further (this is the best place). Located just a 2min walk away, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the cathedral directly from the apartment.
Why book – location is near Duomo, spacious apartments next to a grocery store
Santa Maria Novella – Where to stay in Florence for one night
The best place to stay in Florence for one night is the Santa Maria Novella district. This is the area closest to the Central train station. You’ll be right next to transport links and at the same time only a 15min walk to the famous Duomo.
The neighbourhood is named after the incredible Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, one of the oldest churches in Florence.
Santa Maria Novella is also the perfect neighbourhood for all travellers planning to explore Tuscany on day trips. In less than 2 hours by train, you can be in Pisa or Siena.
Why stay in Santa Maria Novella
- This is the best area to stay in Florence for convenient transport links and day trips.
- You can easily take a shuttle to Florence or Pisa airports.
- Very practical area if you’re travelling with a lot of bags (or have an early flight or train).
- Visit the impressive Medici Chapels, the final resting place of the Medici family.
- Mercato Centrale, a huge market, is just around the corner. A great place to shop for authentic food or souvenirs.
Best places to stay in Florence for one night
This elegant hotel has a themed décor inspired by the magical world of Haute Horlogerie. Overlooking the charming Piazza Santa Maria Novella, it’s a perfect base for one night stay. The complimentary breakfast is served in a top floor room that boasts amazing views of the square.
Why book – 400m away from the train station and Duomo, breakfast room with nice views
An elegant hotel set in a historic building right on the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The location is fantastic, at walking distance to the Central train station, Duomo and luxury shops.
Why book – between the train station and Duomo, rooftop bar, spacious air-conditioned rooms, unlimited prosecco for breakfast
Best hotels in Florence near the train station
If you prefer to stay right next to the Central train station (because of an early flight or train), take a look at the hotels below. All of them are conveniently located in less than a 2min walk to Florence train station.
Situated opposite the Central train station, this is one of the closest hotels you can book. The location is perfect if you plan to explore Tuscany or have an early train. In addition, you’ll be less than 15min walk to the main attractions. Modern and comfy rooms with air-conditioning.
Why book – opposite the train station, free coffee and water, 24-hour front desk
This is the best place to stay if you look for a hotel with convenient transport links. Not only the train station is less than 2min away, but there is a central bus station next to the hotel.
Why book – next to the train station and central bus station, 24-hour front desk with luggage storage room
Where to stay in Florence with a car
The best area to stay in Florence with a car is right outside the city centre. This means outside the yellow ring (if you look at a map). The city centre is a limited-traffic zone (aka ZTL area) open only to those with permits or to residents (find more info here). There are cameras everywhere and you’ll probably be fined if you enter with a car in the city centre.
If you’re arriving by car there are two options:
- leave your car on parking outside the city centre and stay near Duomo
- book a hotel outside the city centre
Stay in the city centre (leave your car in a parking lot outside the city centre)
This is your first option. I recommend it if you plan to spend at least 3-4 days in Florence (and you won’t need your car during this time). Book your accommodation near the Duomo, so you can easily explore the city and won’t waste time in transportation.
If you prefer this option, take a look at the beginning of the article for the best accommodation near Duomo.
Stay outside the city centre
If you’re visiting Florence for less than 2 days (or planning to explore Tuscany on day trips), this is the better option for you. Book a hotel with parking located on the edge of the city centre (near the yellow ring). In this way, you won’t pay additional for an expensive parking lot (most of them are super expensive).
Moreover, you’ll be less than a 30min walk from the Duomo. It’s not a short walk, but you’ll have your car at hand for day trips around Tuscany.
If you prefer this option, take a look at the hotels below. All of them are conveniently located on the border of the ZTL area (still within walking distance to many tourist sites).
This is one of the most popular hotels outside the ZTL area. The location is fantastic for exploring the historic centre. Plus, it’s right next to the Santa Croce neighbourhood, an area full of authentic trattorias (perfect for dining out). Free street parking is available outside the hotel and you can find a paid private parking nearby.
Why book – street parking, private parking nearby, 20min walk to Duomo
If you look for a more upscale experience, stay at The Moon Boutique Hotel. The hotel offers beautiful boutique rooms in eclectic style. All of the rooms are air-conditioned and some of them feature a spa bath or a private sauna.
Why book – large and safe private parking, 20min walk to Duomo
If you look for a hotel outside the ZTL area, but still close to the attractions, 3110 ArtHotel is the best bet. It’s only a 15min walk from the main sites. Plus, there is a bus station next to the hotel, so you’ll be in no time right in the city centre.
Why book – private parking garage, 15min walk to Galleria dell’Accademia, air-conditioned rooms
Where to stay in Florence for honeymoon
The best place to stay in Florence for a honeymoon is near Ponte Vecchio. The area around the famous bridge is perfect for visitors interested in sightseeing, shopping and dining out.
You’d be at walking distance to all major attractions, including Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti. In addition, Oltrarno and Santa Croce districts, famous for their romantic trattorias and cafés, are just a step away.
This is one of the most romantic areas in Florence, especially if you book a hotel with a river view. Note that it’s better to choose accommodation on the north bank of the river. In this way, you’ll be closer to most of the tourist attractions.
For more information (including the best couple activities), take a look at my guide to the most romantic things to do in Florence.
Why stay near Ponte Vecchio
- You’ll be at the heart of Florence, just a short walk from historic sites and luxury shops.
- Take a stroll along the river after sunset (or watch the sunset from Ponte Vecchio).
- Perfect area for dining out with numerous small romantic restaurants.
- Some of the most romantic luxury hotels are around Ponte Vecchio (see my recommendations below).
Helvetia&Bristol is one of the best places to stay in Florence for a honeymoon. Set in a 19th-century historical palace, the hotel boasts a luxurious interior enriched with fine fabrics, chandeliers and antiques. Each of the rooms features a unique character and comes with a marble bathroom.
Why book – 100m away from a high-fashion shopping street, luxurious rooms with an old charm
Set directly on the south bank of the Arno River, the hotel boasts stunning views of Ponte Vecchio. Rooms have an elegant design with blue tones while in the bathrooms you’ll find Italian white marble and Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries. The hotel features its own art collection with more than 450 works, including Picasso and Cocteau.
Why book – location on the riverbank next to Ponte Vecchio, Michelin-starred restaurant
Best places to stay in Florence first time
|Hotel Spadai||9.6||See 1,960+ reviews|
|Grand Hotel Baglioni||8.7||See 1,470+ reviews|
|Hotel De La Ville||8.9||See 1,140+ reviews|
|Hotel della Signoria||9.2||See 1,060+ reviews|
|FH55 Hotel Calzaiuoli||8.9||See 1,400+ reviews|
|Hotel del Corso||9.2||See 1,600+ reviews|
|I’m a full-time travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. I love to travel and to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.|
2 Replies to “Where to Stay in Florence (For First-Time Visitors 2023)”
Thank you very much! You help me, really ❤️☺️
I’m happy it was useful to you, Maria. 🙂