Where to Stay in Florence for the Ultimate in Italian Luxury

Elizabeth Heath Avatar
Where to stay in Florence, Italy. Panoramic view of Florence.
Photo credit: Dominick Vietor from Pixabay

Florence, Italy, known as the “cradle of the Renaissance,” is a must-see destination for most first-time visitors to Italy. For travelers who’ve already seen Italy, it’s a favorite place to visit again and again, as you could spend a lifetime exploring its many museums, churches, hidden shops and delicious restaurants and gelato shops.

You could also spend a lifetime researching the best hotels in Florence. But who has that kind of time, especially when there’s gelato to be eaten?! To simplify your search, we’ve rounded up this list of where to stay in Florence, Italy, from luxury hotels right in the city center, to some more affordable options that still put you within walking distance of this Tuscan city’s main attractions.  

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1. Hotel Lungarno

For more than 50 years, this 5-star hotel overlooking the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio has welcomed guests into a haven of calm and luxury, all just a short walk from central Florence’s top sights. A sophisticated nautical theme reflects the river just outside, and elegant common areas invite guests to linger over coffee, afternoon tea or an Aperol spritz.

Dining options here include a Michelin-starred restaurant, a riverside cocktail bar with a terrace. This is an expensive hotel, so you may as well splurge for a room or suite with views of the river and cityscape, including the landmark Torre di Arnolfo at the Palazzo Vecchio.

Why Hotel Lungarno is a great hotel

  • Understated luxury that feels like a real “retreat” in the city center
  • A celebrated restaurant that’s a top choice for foodies
  • Family rooms that sleep up to four
  • In Oltrarno, one of Florence’s best areas, and near Piazza Santo Spirito


2. Helvetia & Bristol

This storied hotel, right in Florence’s historical center, is a jewel in the crown of Star Hotels, the largest private-owned Italian hotel chain, which has locations across Italy and elsewhere in Europe. (We love that it’s a woman-owned business, to boot.) Helvetia & Bristol has two wings, one with sumptuous and traditional 19th-century decor and another with a modern, and equally posh ambiance.

Helvetia & Bristol has something not many other Florence city center hotels can claim — a newly opened thermal spa that’s built on the ruins of ancient Roman baths. With a large pool, saunas, a salt room and treatment rooms, this underground retreat is the perfect way to cap off a hectic day of sightseeing.

Why Helvetia & Bristol is a great hotel

  • Old world luxury and charm from the moment you step inside
  • Great location in the center of Florence,  just a 5-minute walk to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo)
  • Family-friendly, with kids’ meals and a welcome kit for little ones
  • Gourmet dining, with casual to high-end options


3. Hotel Savoy

Another of the grand dames of historic Florence city center hotels, Hotel Savoy is part of the swanky Rocco Forte family of hotels. Set right on Piazza della Repubblica, it offers tranquil, classically furnished rooms. Suites really kick it up a notch, with separate sitting areas, grand marble bathrooms and city views. Some specialty suites have balconies with views of Florence, including of the piazza and Brunelleschi’s dome, which is just a few minutes away on foot.

The hotel’s bistro-style restaurant, Irene, offers a menu of sophisticated takes on traditional dishes of Tuscany, with items sourced from the surrounding countryside. In pleasant weather, snag a table on the sidewalk patio and enjoy the buzz of the piazza.

Why Hotel Savoy is a great hotel

  • Spacious rooms and suites with incredible city views
  • Plum location in a historic palace in the heart of Florence
  • Walking distance to all major sights, including the Accademia Gallery, the Santa Croce museum, and the Medici tombs at Basilica di San Lorenzo.
  • Extensive menu of tour options for families, foodies, couples and more


4. Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Set in a less touristy area of Florence, this elegant villa hotel offers the best of two worlds — a country house filled with frescoes and statuary in a verdant, parklike setting that’s still just a 10-20 minute walk to The Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria dell’Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David), Mercato Centrale and other sites.

But fair warning: once you’ve checked into this historic Florentine villa hotel, you may need to be coaxed away from its gardens, outdoor swimming pool, hushed spa complex, or Michelin-starred restaurant.

Why Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is a great hotel

  • The away-from-it-all location that’s still within walking distance of central Florence
  • Hotel offers custom itineraries, including to nearby Fiesole and other location in Tuscany.
  • Several dining options, including al fresco dining in the gardens
  • Super kid-friendly, with an 11-acre park and a kids’ club


5. Portrait Firenze

When a hotel is run by the legendary Italian fashion house Ferragamo, you can expect a stylish, luxury experience. That’s just what boutique hotel Portrait Firenze delivers. Set on the banks of the River Arno and overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, the 37 suites at this upmarket Florence hotel share a chic, mid-century modern vibe that manages to feel very much at home in its Renaissance setting.

The hotel’s location puts it within a short walk of the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, Piazza della Signoria, and, in case you still need a footwear fix, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. There’s an elegant cafe on site, plus guests have privileged access to other restaurants that are part of the Lungarno Collection of hotels.

Why Portrait Firenze is a great hotel

  • Refreshingly modern style
  • All-suites hotel, including 2-bedroom suites with swoonworthy views
  • Terrific location right on the river and close to most major attractions
  • Bars, cafes and nightlife of the Oltrarno/Piazza Santo Spirito area are just a bridge away


6. Antica Torre Via Tornabuoni 1

The history is palpable at this boutique 4-star hotel, and so is the sense of style. It’s located in a 13th-century tower that has been artfully designed in a way that respects the antiquity of the tower, whose original owners were actually mentioned in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, while imparting a decidedly cool, contemporary air.

Antica Torre Via Tornabuoni 1 is set on one of Florence’s most upscale shopping streets, with luxury fashion houses like Dior, Ferragamo, Valentino and many more just steps away. It’s also a short walk to Santa Maria Novella train station, the Ponte Vecchio and several great restaurants and gelato shops.

Why Antica Torre Via Tornabuoni 1 is a great hotel

  • In a 13th-century tower where you feel a heady sense of history
  • Incredible rooftop terrace restaurant with views of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Giotto’s bell tower
  • Rooms and suites, many with balconies and views, combine modern and antique touches
  • Hammam suite with private spa facilities


7. AdAstra Florence

Finding a great mid-range hotel in Florence is a challenge. Finding one that offers a combination of style and hominess is nearly impossible — except at AdAstra. Located in the Oltrarno side of the River Arno, this 14-room, 3-star hotel occupies two floors of a centuries-old mansion and overlooks a vast private garden. Its rooms and common areas are funky and eclectic, and invite guests to linger over coffee, a cocktail or a good book.

We love that it’s away from the buzz of central Florence but still within walking distance of all the main sights. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens are minutes away, as is lively Piazza Santo Spirito. When it’s time to check out and head on to Rome or Venice, maybe, the main train station is a 15-minute walk or an even shorter cab ride.

Why AdAstra Florence is a great hotel

  • One-of-a-kind, eclectic style
  • With just 14 rooms, a true boutique hotel
  • Located in Oltrarno, the trendy Florentine neighborhood for travelers in-the-know
  • Large terrace overlooking a grand private garden


8. Hotel Calimala

The ornate facade alone may be enough to tempt you to check into this chic and elegant 4-star hotel, but there’s plenty to offer on the inside, too. The 37 rooms, many with balconies and exposed stone walls, are done up with Art Deco details and nice extras like Nespresso makers and bath amenities made with Calimala’s signature fragrance.

But the real star here is the hotel’s marvelous rooftop bar and restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, and other landmarks of the Florence skyline. At sunset or on a warm summer night, there are few better places in the city to be.

Why Hotel Calimala is a great hotel

  • Central Florence location near Piazza del Duomo, Piazza Santa Croce and other attractions
  • One of the best rooftop terraces in the city, with dining and a buzzy bar scene
  • Just 37 rooms, for a real boutique hotel feel
  • Fitness room on-site, plus optional in-room wellness treatments


Which Florence Hotel is Right for You?

Florence is an amazing city, but it can get a little…hectic. It’s crowded most times of the year, especially in the summer. That’s why it’s really important to pick a comfortable hotel that will offer not just a good night’s sleep, but a relaxing retreat from sightseeing.

The hotels we listed here are all terrific choices. But if you have a favorite Florence hotel that’s not on this list, let us know!

Liz is a writer and editor based in central Italy, from where she writes about family, soft adventure and sustainable travel in Italy, the rest of Europe and farther afield. She’s also the co-founder and owner of Villaggio Tours (https://villaggiotours.com/), a small-group tour company offering an authentic taste of Italian village life.
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