With its medieval stone tower just across a narrow riverside street from the Ponte Vecchio, the Hotel Continentale might be a classic Florentine pensione, decked out with rich velvets, dark wood, and Renaissance paintings. But replace that daydream with one of stylish Vespas, designer duds, and white-and-leather midcentury decor, and you’re closer to the reality of this refreshingly clean-lined retreat from the Ferragamo family’s Lungarno hotel collection.
Inspired by a later Italian renaissance—that of the fashion and cinema worlds of the 1950s and ’60s—the sleek and understated hotel is a hideaway in the heart of Florence’s historic tourist center. The city’s bustle seems to fade away as soon as you step under the giant metal clock and into the breezy white lobby. There’s nothing showy here—no bustling sidewalk restaurant, no ostentatious entrance, no snooty staff—just luxurious rooms, a decadent spa, and the coolest bar in town.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Essentially across the street from the Ponte Vecchio and its many shops, in the heart of the tourist center, the Continentale overlooks the Arno River and Florence’s southern skyline. Every major sight and museum of the historic city center is within walking distance, and the hotel’s bend-over-backwards concierge service can offer recommendations and help with reservations. Attractions like the renowned Duomo—the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore—and the Basilica di Santa Croce—the final resting place of the likes of Michelangelo and Galileo—are just a few minutes away on foot, as are the Galleria degli Uffizi, the Palazzo Pitti, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the cafés of the Piazza della Repubblica.
Need to Know
Rooms: 43 rooms, one penthouse. From $375. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:While the hotel lacks a restaurant per se, its crowning glory is La Terrazza, a lofty bar atop the medieval Consorti tower, whose riverside views of the Ponte Vecchio and Florence’s skyline are best paired with sunset and an aperitivo. Downstairs, the Sala Bianca, or White Room, is a stylized, 1950s-inspired lounge where breakfast is served each morning (for a fee), and where lunch can be delivered from the neighboring Gallery Art Hotel’s Fusion Bar & Restaurant. Room service comes from the sister hotel’s restaurant. Spa and gym details:Within the hotel’s medieval tower, the White Iris Beauty Spa offers a full range of both spa and beauty treatments (also available in guests’ rooms). In tribute to Ferragamo, the signature treatment focuses on soothing and pampering one’s feet. Continentale does not have a gym, but the concierge can arrange bike rentals and provide running and hiking trail maps; yoga classes are sometimes offered on the roof terrace.
Who's it best for: Design-conscious couples and solo travelers who miss the jet-set lifestyle of the 1950s and ’60s. Our favorite rooms:Atop the Consorti tower, the two-story penthouse is naturally the most impressive room, but any room overlooking the Arno River—including the Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites, all in the historic tower—has show-stopping views and an oversized marble bathroom. For fashionistas:The Continentale doesn’t make a show of its connection to the Ferragamo fashion house, but it does offer guests free entrance to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum and an exclusive discount at the Salvatore Ferragamo Creations Santa Trinita Boutique, home to some of the designer’s iconic collections.