It’s no secret that Florence is Italy’s most popular tourist destination with Rome, and for many good reasons!
The cradle of the Italian Renaissance, Florence has been chosen as a home by many distinguished artists, from Michelangelo to Brunelleschi. If you’re visiting the city for the first time, you might be overwhelmed by the striking amount of awe-inspiring artwork and architecture and not be sure where to stay in Florence.
Florence is a rather compact city center with a plethora of hotels all around. Discover all about Florence’s best neighborhoods, their top sights, and how to reach them, alongside tips to plan a state-of-the-art vacation in this Italy’s living museum.
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Where To Stay In Florence
Florence’s center might be small, but like Rome, it has distinct neighborhoods with slightly different atmospheres and tourist traffic, and with exceptional attractions scattered all around. So choosing where to stay in Florence can be challenging. Your accommodation in Florence can significantly impact your experience, and you need to consider your travel needs to make up your mind. This guide will give you a well-rounded breakdown of Florence’s best neighborhoods.
The main neighborhoods of Florence
Here’s an overview of Florence’s best areas to stay in during your holiday.
1. Piazza della Signoria – The very heart of Florence’s historical center, this square overflows with Renaissance architecture and world-famous landmarks.
2. San Marco – Florence’s university district, San Marco is best known for the Galleria dell’Accademia, where you can visit Michelangelo’s David. The neighborhood boasts a good selection of budget hotels and B&Bs.
3. Santa Croce – Unfolding around the Basilica di Santa Croce, the neighborhood has several tourist attractions and is a great place to meet locals at the many cafes and bars.
4. San Lorenzo – A fantastic district for first-time travelers, San Lorenzo is within walking distance from many monuments and boasts unmissable attractions, the central market, and vintage shops.
5. Santa Maria Novella – Popular for housing Florence’s main train station, the southern part of the neighborhood features one of the city’s most beautiful churches, hip boutiques, and lively bars and restaurants.
6. Santo Spirito – Located on the left bank of the Arno River, Santo Spirito is less touristic and crowded than the city center. It is a fantastic budget-friendly area with plenty of things to see, like Palazzo Pitti and Giardini di Boboli.
Florence travel tips and how to get around
It is incredibly easy to get around Florence: you can walk everywhere and easily reach all of the city’s attractions on foot. Being a Renaissance city, Florence was intentionally designed to be people-friendly. Besides, walking around will allow you to explore the city’s narrow streets and find hidden gems!
If you are not much of a walker, Florence has an efficient network of public buses and trams that connect the various neighborhoods. The bus company that travels in Florence is Autolinee Toscane. You can purchase bus tickets at the dedicated offices, ticket machines, or the official app. With the bus ticket, you can also ride the tram, which has only two lines. Line T1 connects Villa Costanza (Scandicci) to Careggi Hospital, while Line T2 connects Piazza dell’Unità (close to Santa Maria Novella) to the Florence airport.
Another great way to get around Florence is by bicycle or e-bike. “Mille e una bici” is a program run by the City Council to encourage the use of bicycles, so you will find many shops around Florence for renting a bike. Another option is bike sharing: you just need to download the RideMovi app, follow the instructions, and hop on one of the many orange e-bikes you will find around.
To help you navigate the small but packed-with-wonders city of Florence, here’s a map of its main neighborhoods.
Plan your trip
Use skip-the-line tickets – Florence is always crowded with tourists who want to discover the same attractions. The best way to experience the city’s monuments, museums, and churches without queueing for hours is by purchasing skip-the-line tickets.
Book tickets in advance – Another downside of the crowds of tourists in Florence is that you might be unable to visit attractions you are looking forward to because there are no more spots available. So we highly suggest you purchase your tickets in advance online to ensure your entry.
Adhere to the dress code – When visiting Florence’s churches, you must wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, or you may be denied access. If you are traveling in summer, the best trick is to pack a light scarf that you can use to cover yourself.
Wear comfortable shoes – Being such a walking-friendly city, packing a good pair of comfortable shoes is a must while on holiday in Florence.
Bring a universal adapter – The type C plug is used by the majority of appliances in Italy. If you are traveling from a country that has a different type of plug, make sure to bring with you a universal adaptor.
Make the most out of your Italian adventure with the cost saving hacks!
Everything from transportation, accommodations, and even more tips.
#1 Piazza della Signoria
The city’s main square, the area around Piazza Della Signoria is the best area to stay in Florence for museums and sightseeing. You have Florence’s main attractions at a stone’s throw away, from the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, with the famous worldwide dome, to the unmissable Galleria degli Uffizi. Right in the heart of the historical center, from Piazza della Signoria starts a sequence of narrow streets dotted with charming cafes and high-end and luxury brands boutiques. The area is also perfect for foodies as popular restaurants and pizzerias surround the square.
Suggested hotels near Piazza della Signoria
BED & BREAKFAST
Residenza Della Signoria
This bed and breakfast is situated within a historic palace and is just steps away from the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, as well as several other popular landmarks. All rooms feature luxurious Italian made furniture and décor. There is a 24-hour fully equipped kitchen available for guests as well.
“Hands-down the best location in all of Firenze, one block from the Pizza della Segnoria. The staff is amazing, helpful, will hold luggage after check-out, make dinner reservations, expert tour guide, etc. The rooms and bathrooms are super-clean and super-impressive. Do not delay booking here, you will not regret it!”
Bernini Palace Hotel
This stylish hotel resides in a 15th-century building and it’s rooms include antique furniture and beautiful glass chandeliers. The hotel features a restaurant and bar, as well as a terrace with tables and chairs where guests can sit and relax while taking in the views of Florence. Florence Cathedral and Ponte Vecchio are just a 5-minute walk away!
Featuring two restaurants, a bar, fitness center and it’s own private museum, this hotel is the definition of luxury. Set in the Byzantine tower and Medieval Church, it overlooks Florence Cathedral and is within walking distance to many shops, cafes and the famous Uffizi Gallery. Rooms are elegantly decorated, cleaned twice daily, and a turn-down service is available.
Things to see near Piazza della Signoria
Piazza Della Signoria – Florence’s main square, Piazza della Signoria is a free open-air gallery through and through. The center of the city’s political life since the 14th century, Michelangelo’s famous David statue used to be right outside Palazzo Vecchio, alongside other sculptures. While many are nowadays housed in museums, you can still stroll around the Loggia dei Lanzi to admire sculptures such as Cellini’s Perseo holding Medusa’s head and Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabines.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – One of the largest churches in the world, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is the city’s emblem. The cathedral is immense, and it is worldwide famous for its large octagonal dome, designed by the 15th-century architect Brunelleschi, and the bell tower that can be seen everywhere in the city. Climb the 414 steps of the tower for breathtaking views over Florence!
Galleria degli Uffizi – An unmissable stop in the city, this art gallery is among the most visited museums in the world, and about right. Displaying an outstanding collection of Renaissance art, inside you can marvel at the masterpieces of many painters, including Titian and Tintoretto. The Galleria degli Uffizi also boasts an entire room dedicated to the artistic geniuses Raphael and Michelangelo.
Ponte Vecchio – Another symbol of the city, depicted in many postcards, is the Ponte Vecchio. The oldest bridge in Florence, it was built in 1218 when it was the only way to cross the Arno River within the city limits. The peculiar Ponte Vecchio has been lined with shops since its construction, and it is also the only bridge in Florence surviving WWII bombings.
Piazza Della Signoria – From Santa Maria Novella train station, you will need to walk for around 15 minutes passing by the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella and the Piazza della Repubblica.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – From Piazza della Signoria, walk on Via dei Calzaiuoli and proceed for 6 minutes to arrive at the cathedral.
Galleria degli Uffizi – The museum is right behind the Loggia dei Lanzi, which overlooks the Piazza della Signoria.
Ponte Vecchio – From Piazza della Signoria, walk Piazzale degli Uffizi street all the way to its end. Turn right on the Arno River promenade, and you will reach the bridge after 160 meters.
Suggested activities in Piazza della Signoria
Florence: Uffizi Gallery Guided Discovery Tour – Enter the incredible Galleria degli Uffizi with a professional guide that will disclose all the secrets of the museum’s masterpieces for an immersive experience.
Florence: Guided Cathedral Tour w/Brunelleschi’s Dome Entry – Explore the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore alongside your guide to learn the fascinating stories of Florence and the cathedral while also climbing to the top of the spectacular dome for an unforgettable visit.
#2 San Marco
A young and lively area due to the university and many language schools, San Marco is a fantastic neighborhood for its many attractions, like the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence’s unmissable spot since it hosts Michelangelo’s David.
San Marco is also an easy walk to the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza della Signoria.
With lots of cheap bars and restaurants, San Marco is a great budget-friendly accommodation option.
Suggested hotels near San Marco
BED & BREAKFAST
“The location of this building is the most important factor. It is a walking distance of every single touristic objective. Also the fact that it is a historical building makes you feel the most of the Florence experience. The staff was very friendly, attentive and helpful with everything we needed.”
Il Guelfo Bianco
This hotel is close to San Marco Church, Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio, as well as Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Accademia Gallery, Piazza del Duomo di Firenze and so many more. With a bar on-site and a buffet breakfast offered every morning, you’re sure to find comfort at this hotel.
Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti
Overlooking the beautiful Piazza Santissima Annunziata, set within a historical building, the hotel offers a bar and a unique breakfast room where a continental breakfast is served daily. It’s right next to Accademia Gallery and within a few-minute walk from Florence Cathedral.
“Great location! Great elegant apartment! Everything is new! Very clean! Very safe! Good elevator! Very close to Accademia museum, to Santa Maria del Fiori, to shops, restaurants and big squares… Would definitely stay again! Would definitely recommend it to others!”
Things to see near San Marco
Basilica di San Marco – The Basilica di San Marco dominates the namesake square, and it features an 18th-century façade with large wooden doors. On the inside, the walls were once covered by beautiful frescoes, but unfortunately, only traces remain. However, you can still admire religious-themed artworks and two stunning chapels, the Cappella Salviati, and the Cappella del Sacramento, created by a renowned Renaissance Flemish artist.
Museo di San Marco – This museum is set in the convent of the Basilica San Marco. It was designed in the 15th century by architect Michelozzo and is considered an architectural masterpiece. The museum holds the world’s largest collection of works by Beato Angelico. During your visit to the museum, you will walk through the spaces of the convent’s cells, the cloister, the refectory, and a fabulous library housing many important Renaissance literary works.
Galleria dell’Accademia – There is at least one reason to stop by the Galleria dell’Accademia: Michelangelo’s famous David statue. Carved from a single block of marble, Michelangelo’s most famous work displays outstanding details that make the statue come alive. You’ll need to queue to visit the masterpiece, but the wait is well worth it! Besides David, the Galleria contains many other art pieces in its rooms, including those from Filippino Lippi and Sandro Botticelli.
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata – This church was originally built in 1250, but completely redone in the mid-15th century. Its most striking characteristic is housing some of the art pieces by the post-Renaissance painters who helped found the mannerist school. Take a look inside the Basilica to explore chapels frescoed by Perugino, among the others.
Basilica di San Marco – From the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, proceed in a northerly direction toward Piazza di San Giovanni. Walk straight for eight minutes, and your destination is on the right.
Museo di San Marco – The museum is in the same location as the Basilica di San Marco.
Galleria dell’Accademia – From Piazza San Marco, where is located the namesake church, take Via Ricasoli and walk for as little as 80 meters. The Galleria will be on your left.
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata – From Piazza San Marco take Via Cesare Battisti and walk for 160 meters to reach the destination on the left.
Suggested activities in San Marco
Florence: Dark Mysteries and Legends Guided Walking Tour – To experience a different side of Florence join this walking tour of the city where your guide will tell you about local superstitions, conspiracies, and miracles that happened in the otherwise-shiny Renaissance cradle.
Florence: Academy and Michelangelo’s David Small-Group Tour – This guided tour will walk you around Florence’s historical center before skipping the line to enter the Galleria dell’Accademia to discover splendid Gothic and Renaissance pieces, including Michelangelo’s David.
#3 Santa Croce
You will love Santa Croce if you don’t want to be surrounded by other tourists 24/7. Just steps from Florence’s top attractions, Santa Croce gives away “village vibes” so much so that you don’t feel like being in the center of Florence. Quieter than other areas but incredibly charming, here you will find a stunning Basilica where Michelangelo and Galileo rest. For some shopping, visit the neighborhood’s market, the second largest in the city.
Santa Croce has also a lovely main square that comes alive at night, with many people gathering to sip wine and dine.
Suggested hotels near Santa Croce
BED & BREAKFAST
La Maison du Sage
This recently renovated B&B is situated right in front of the Pazzi Chapel in Santa Croce’s square, not far from, and offering stunning views of the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. All rooms include a minibar, flat-screen satellite TV, Nespresso coffee machine and a water kettle. Suites include sitting areas with a convertible couch for an additional guest.
Hotel Santa Croce
“The location could not be beat .. 4 minutes walk from Duomo in Florence’s center core. This building is 400-500 years old but they managed to offer a cozy, well air conditioned room at a reasonable price. The staff are friendly, helpful, and professional. The simple breakfast totally met my needs. Would definitely return!”
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Situated right on the river bank, this hotel offers stunning views of the Arno River. It’s just a short walk away from Piazza della Signoria, the Church of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Maggiore di Firenze. The facility features an rooftop bar and pool, as well as on on-site restaurant. Private parking and room service is also available to guests staying here.
Relais Santa Croce by Baglioni Hotels & Resorts
This 5-star hotel is known to be one of the must luxurious hotels in Florence! It features a restaurant, bar and winery, and music room with entertainment. You can expect to find a plasma-screen TV, walk-in closet, a bathroom with rain shower, and sauna or Turkish bath in your room. Santa Croce Basilica and the Cathedral are located right next to this hotel!
Things to see near Santa Croce
Basilica di Santa Croce – This Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world, but the reason why it is famous is because it is the resting place of many renowned Italians. Step inside to visit the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini, while admiring artistic gems. Pay special attention to Donatello’s sculptures, magnificent frescoes by Giotto, and the monument dedicated to Dante Alighieri.
Scuola di Cuoio – Franciscan friars founded this leather workshop venue after WWII to give war orphans a means to learn a practical trade to earn a living. The Gori family still runs the Scuola di Cuoio, which is a perfect place to learn about how leather products are created. The Scuola di Cuoio also organizes workshops and has a shop where you can treat yourself by buying their handbags.
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale – Florence has many libraries, but the most important is the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, created out of the private collection of Antonio Magliabechi. The library has beautiful rooms to visit inside. Unfortunately, in 1966, a flood damaged the library and its collections, many of which are still being restored.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio – Exploring local markets is a great way to discover a city. Santa Croce neighborhood hosts Florence’s oldest market, founded in 1873. Among the locals’ favorite meeting places, Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is the perfect venue to explore Florence’s cuisine and shop vintage and crafted items.
Basilica di Santa Croce – From Piazza della Signoria, take Via dei Gondi and walk for 5 minutes. Turn left at the intersection with Via dei Benci, and you will be on Piazza di Santa Croce, where the church is located.
Scuola di Cuoio – Take Largo Piero Bargellini on the left side of Basilica di Santa Croce, and walk for two minutes to reach the destination on the right.
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale – From Piazza di Santa Croce, take Via Antonio Magliabechi, and at the end turn left on Corso dei Tintori. After 89 meters, you will find the library on the left.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio – Walk on Borgo Allegri, that starts in front of the Scuola di Cuoio, and walk for 190 meters to turn right on Via dell’Agnolo. Turn left on Via dei Macci, and then take the second street on the left, Largo Pietro Annigoni, and the market will be on your left in about 40 meters.
Suggested activities in Santa Croce
Florence Santa Croce Church Tour – Visit the Basilica di Santa Croce with a guide who will describe in detail the immense artistic wealth of this Franciscan church, and listen to the life stories of Michelangelo and Galileo while exploring their burial places.
Private Guided Visit Florence’s Santa Croce Basilica and Ancient Leather School – Discover the history and artistic heritage of the Basilica di Santa Croce Basilica with this private tour that will also guide you to the Scuola di Cuoio to watch leather artisans at work.
#4 San Lorenzo
Situated on the northern side of the tourist area, San Lorenzo is one of the busiest neighborhoods in Florence for the presence of the city’s major market, Mercato Centrale. The many tourists and locals strolling around for their shopping and sightseeing make San Lorenzo particularly lively and a great place to meet others.
San Lorenzo also boasts priceless art treasures like the Cappelle Medicee.
Suggested hotels near San Lorenzo
Hotel San Lorenzo
“The hotel is centrally located in Florence, with easy access to the Academia Gallery and Central Market. Parking nearby was possible with suggestion from the staff. The room itself offered views of the tiled roofs of Firenze, with a balcony for fresh air. Check in and check out were easy.”
Set in a 16th-century old building, this hotel is a super short walk to the Accademia Gallery, San Lorenzo Market and Santa Maria Novella Train Station. Guests are able to relax on the rooftop terrace, where there is also a bar, and take in the amazing sites all around!
This hotel sits in the heart of Florence Historical city center and right next to the Church of San Lorenzo. Its just a quick walk to Uffizi Gallery and Santa Maria Novella Train Station, while Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and Piazza della Signoria square are about a 10-minute walk away. Enjoy views of a serene courtyard and garden while eating in the breakfast room each morning.
Solo Experience Hotel
“Fantastic and spacious room with a great view. When you open the window you can soak up the buzzing atmosphere of Florence! Staff are excellent and breakfast was great. Location couldn’t be any better – right in the heart of Florence! I have no faults whatsoever and I would highly recommend this hotel! Thanks for a memorable stay!”
Things to see near San Lorenzo
Basilica di San Lorenzo – A gorgeous new-Renaissance church, the Basilica di San Lorenzo is a harmonious masterpiece that can be fully appreciated once you step inside. Brunelleschi designed the church’s interior, which features marble pavement, columns with Corinthian capitals, broad arches, an intricate coffered ceiling, and chapels. The Basilica hosts several art treasures, including a bronze statue by Donatello.
Cappelle Medicee – Part of the Basilica di San Lorenzo, the Cappellee Medicee was constructed as the burial site of prominent Medici family members who ran Florence during the Renaissance. Walk through the crypts and tombs to reach the stunning Cappella dei Principi, the memorial chapel of the Medici princes.
Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana – This wonderful library is part of the Basilica di San Lorenzo complex. Designed by Michelangelo, the library is impressive with its elliptical stairs, the carved wooden ceiling of the reading room, and the gray-stoned walls made with the local “pietra serena”. The Biblioteca was built to house the Medici’s collection of manuscripts and books, and it is worth a visit.
Mercato di San Lorenzo – San Lorenzo neighborhood has a fantastic open-air market you should not miss. Whether you are in for some shopping or just want to walk around, in Mercato di San Lorenzo, you will find vendors selling clothes, artwork, and souvenirs. The district’s beating heart, right behind this market is the covered Mercato Centrale, where you can buy food products and stop for a lunch break.
Basilica di San Lorenzo – Facing the Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiori, take Via de’ Martelli on the left and walk until you reach Via de’ Gori. Take this street turning on the left, and you will reach the Basilica in about 65 meters.
Cappelle Medicee – You can access the chapels through the back of the Basilica di San Lorenzo.
Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana – The library is located inside the Basilica di San Lorenzo.
Mercato di San Lorenzo – From the Basilica di San Lorenzo, take Via dell’Ariento and walk it for 120 meters to reach your destination on the right.
Suggested activities in San Lorenzo
Florence: 5.5-Hour Italian Food Market & Cooking Experience – Explore one of Italy’s food capitals by strolling around San Lorenzo’s Mercato Centrale and doing the shopping for delicious products that you will then cook during this well-rounded cuisine experience.
Florence: 1.5-Hour Medici Chapel Private Tour – This private tour with a guide is the perfect way to discover the Cappelle Medicee and their fine paintings and sculptures, disclosing the Medici family’s wealth.
#5 Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella is the neighborhood with the train station, and you will just need to walk for a couple of minutes to be in Piazza Santa Maria Novella where you will find a gorgeous Basilica. The area is lovely with tree-lined streets dotted by cafes and restaurants and an easy walk to Florence’s major attractions.
In Santa Maria Novella you’ll have everything you need at your doorstep, making it among the best places to stay in Florence.
Suggested hotels near Santa Maria Novella
Casa Howard Firenze – Residenza d’Epoca
This guest house is recommended by many guides and even mentioned in magazines. The luxurious rooms here are each uniquely designed and all feature underfloor heating and exclusive local toiletries within their private bathroom. Breakfast is served to your room each morning as well! The guest house is close to Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Santa Maria Novella Railway Station and the Cathedral.
“Great location – can walk everywhere from here, so many places to eat around the area; the bed was comfortable; the bathroom had great water pressure and never ran out of hot water; the bathroom was a good size and had a toilet and bidet; the room was cleaned daily.”
Al Palazzo del Marchese di Camugliano
This 5-star hotel features a unique internal garden, 24-hour front desk, room service, and a concierge, making your stay extra comfortable. Breakfast is served daily in the dining room and complimentary tea is offered to guests in the afternoon. This hotel is close to the Cathedral, Firenze Santa Maria Novella Train Station and the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
The Place Firenze
This luxury 5-star hotel features a restaurant, a bar, a rooftop terrace and a glass-domed courtyard where breakfast is served. This hotel is located a short walk away from Santa Maria Novella Train Station, Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Uffizi Gallery. Chauffeured wine tours can be arranged here as well for all you wine lovers!
Things to see near Santa Maria Novella
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella – Another must-see church in Florence, the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella will surely remind you of the Duomo. Built throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, the church has a striking green-and-white marble façade. The best part of the Basilica is its frescoes, in particular Masaccio’s Trinità and the ones from Ghirlandaio, located inside the chapel.
Palazzo Antinori – Florence is filled with beautiful buildings, one of which is Palazzo Antinori. The former private residence of the Antinori family, the façade has interesting details and boasts a well-curated garden and courtyard. Palazzo Antinori also hosts a restaurant.
Museo del Novecento – Florence might display Renaissance art everywhere, but it also has a fantastic modern art museum you shouldn’t miss. The Museo del Novecento displays Italian paintings and sculptures from the early 20th century to the late 1980s. You’ll surely like this museum if you are into modern art expressions, including fashion and movies.
Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – This is the oldest pharmacy in the world, founded in 1221 by the friars who were in charge of the construction of the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. The pharmacy still crafts beautiful fragrances, remedies, and herbal products, but the reason to visit it is the gorgeous inside with frescoes, statues, and ancient books.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella – Getting outside Santa Maria Novella train station, you just need to cross the street and walk for 2 minutes to arrive at the church.
Palazzo Antinori – From Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, in front of the Basilica, take Via dei Banchi and turn right on Via dei Rondinelli. Walk for around 80 meters and turn slightly left on Piazza degli Antinori, and your destination will be on the right.
Museo del Novecento – From the Basilica, cross Piazza di Santa Maria Novella to get to the museum.
Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – Turn right on Via della Scala from Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, and you will be at the pharmacy in 150 meters.
Suggested activities in Santa Maria Novella
Florence: Street Food Tour with Local Expert Guide – Experience Florence with a local guide by sampling local specialties while learning about the city’s history and culture.
Santa Maria Novella Private Tour – Follow an expert guide inside the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella to discover stunning frescoes and sculptures, and once out, head to Florence’s oldest pharmacy to visit this hidden gem.
#6 Santo Spirito
On the other side of the Arno River, the charming neighborhood of Santo Spirito is filled with restaurants and cafes and has some nice parks where Fiorentini meet, so it’s perfect if you are looking for a local experience.
There’s a lot to see in the district. Unmissable are Palazzo Pitti, a gorgeous palace with a selection of Renaissance and Modern paintings, and the Giardini di Boboli, one of the most stunning parks in Italy.
The area was historically the working venue of artisans, so you will also find interesting little shops all around.
Suggested hotels near Santo Spirito
Residenza d’Epoca Toscanelli
This guest house is located just feet from Pitti Palace, while Ponte Vecchio and Strozzi Palace are close by. All rooms come with it’s own fridge, a satellite flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries. There’s a shared lounge where you can go to relax, and you can also book a car or bike to rent on-site.
Hotel La Scaletta
This hotel is situated within a 15th-century old building on the banks of the River Arno. It’s located right between Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge and Palazzo Pitti, and a short walk to Florence’s cathedral and the Duomo. The hotel features a bar and restaurant, as well as a rooftop terrace you can enjoy your meals and drinks on.
Hotel Palazzo Guadagni
“Without a doubt, the loggia is the wow factor of this hotel. I think I can spend hours in it admiring the views of Florence and the square down below. We also like the fact that the hotel is on the other side of the river but is still very centrally located. We also like the manager of the hotel. He is a shining example of what good service means.”
Ponte Vecchio Suites & Spa
This hotel is just a hop and a skip away from the famous bridge Ponte Vecchio and a short walk to Uffizi Art Gallery and Florence Cathedral. This river bank hotel features a fitness center with high-tech equipment, and a wellness center that includes sauna, Turkish bath, chromotherapy showers and a hot tub.
Things to see near Santo Spirito
Palazzo Pitti – There are many reasons to visit this splendid palace. It houses two art galleries, the Galleria Palatina and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. Another one is the Appartamenti ex Reali, the royal apartments where in the 1800s lived the sovereigns of the Royal House of Savoy. Besides exploring art and history, Palazzo Pitti is surrounded by 111 acres of terraced and manicured gardens with breathtaking views of the city.
Giardini di Boboli – Right behind the majestic Palazzo Pitti is Florence’s “green” gem: the Giardini di Boboli. Designed by some of the most famous Italian architects, including Buontalenti, this incredible park contains impressive fountains, statues, and caves that create a luxurious ambiance. Don’t miss it!
Basilica di Santo Spirito – This church is entirely designed by Brunelleschi but it is rather different from the architect’s other works which makes it worth a visit. The façade is pretty basic, but the interior boasts voluptuous baroque elements, rather out of place for Brunelleschi. Inside, you can also marvel at many incredible artworks, including a poignant wooden crucifix attributed to Michelangelo.
Mercato Antiquario di Santo Spirito – Santo Spirito neighborhood hosts the best flea market in the city! Opened in 1986, this antique market takes place in Piazza Santo Spirito, one of the most fascinating squares in the city. Visit the market to browse or shop for small antiques, furniture, handicrafts items, old books, and prints. In addition, there is an area reserved for food and plants.
Palazzo Pitti – From Piazza della Signoria you need to get to Ponte Vecchio, cross it, and proceed straight on Via de’ Guicciardini for 140 meters until your destination is on the left.
Giardini di Boboli – The gardens are right behind Palazzo Pitti.
Basilica di Santo Spirito – From Palazzo Pitti, take Via Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, turn on the first street on the left, and then immediately right on Via dei Michelozzi. The church is at the end of the street.
Mercato di Santo Spirito – The flea market takes place in Piazza Santo Spirito where the Basilica is located.
Suggested activities in Santo Spirito
Florence: Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens Walking Tour – Step back to the Renaissance period with this guided walking tour of the magnificent Palazzo Pitti and the equally remarkable Giardini di Boboli.
Florence: 3-Hour Private Wine Tour – Tuscany is famous worldwide for its wines, and with this private walking tour of Florence’s historic center, you will discover the city’s history and architecture and stop along the way to taste local wines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shoulder seasons are the best periods to visit Florence for the mild temperatures, lower prices of accommodation, and lesser tourists around. So if you prefer to visit Florence when it’s quieter, head to the city in spring (March-May) or autumn (September-October).
Florence is safe. That being said, female solo travelers can get unwanted attention, but way less than in other Italian cities. Besides, everyone should always keep an eye on their belongings as there might be pickpocketing episodes in crowded areas.
The short answer is yes. Florence is a small city, and all the main highlights are located on the north side of the Arno River. In most cases, you will need to walk no more than 10 minutes to get from one neighborhood to another.
Santo Spirito, located in the southern part of the city across the Arno River, as it is mostly a residential area.
Florence is an awe-inspiring city with incredible churches, palazzos, streets, statues, and paintings everywhere you look. The city is rather small but boasts a mindblowing amount of things to see! To help you decide where to stay in Florence during your vacation, we put together this guide with a detailed breakdown of the city’s neighborhoods and their unmissable attractions so you can make the best decision!
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.