With a name like Palazzo Vecchietti, one would expect heavy red velvet, ornately carved dark woods, and all the trappings that go along with an homage to the Florentine Renaissance. Fortunately for the modern visitor, the real Palazzo Vecchietti eschews such overwrought drama in favor of classic, understated, and no less luxurious decor that lets its historic building speak for itself. The palazzo’s foundations date back to the 16th century. The house belonged to one of the oldest families in Florence, who hired the famous Renaissance sculptor Giambologna to design the building’s facade. Renowned contemporary Florentine architect and designer Michele Bönan was behind the building’s biggest facelift, and he outfitted it with his signature retro-inflected lines, with just a few dashes of heavy drapes for good measure.
What’s perhaps most surprising about this hotel, though, is how it somehow manages to create an oasis of calm in the very heart of one of the busiest tourist centers of Europe. It’s set on Via degli Strozzi, just steps from Via de’ Tornabuoni, the Fifth Avenue of Florence. Yet, indoors, it's just as serene as it must have been when Signor Vecchietti himself arrived home from a Renaissance ball.
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At the corner of Via degli Strozzi and Via dei Vecchietti, the hotel sits in the very heart of Florence’s historic center, with a Dolce & Gabbana boutique downstairs and the café-lined Piazza della Repubblica just down the block. The Palazzo Strozzi is just a block away, and Florence’s renowned Duomo (the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) just a few more in the other direction. The surrounding streets are lined with boutiques and restaurants, and such sights as the Ponte Vecchio, the Galleria degli Uffizi, and the Palazzo Vecchio are all within walking distance.
Need to Know
Rooms: 14 rooms, five suites, two apartments. From $340. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The hotel lacks a full restaurant, but an extensive continental breakfast is served each morning in the top-floor Sala Vespucci, a bright and airy room with a long communal table. Suites and apartments have kitchenettes, and tea and coffee are available in all rooms. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a spa nor a gym.
Who's it best for: Independent travelers who want to be in the heart of the action. Our favorite rooms:Each room, suite, and apartment at the Palazzo Vecchietti has been individually designed in the spirit of a different famous Renaissance artist. With high ceilings and large windows, the Donatello Suite is largest in the house, while the elegant Michelangelo and Botticelli De-Luxe rooms both get loads of light through floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bustling Via degli Strozzi. Good to know:Booking online directly with the hotel often includes perks such as free room-service breakfast and a bottle of bubbly upon arrival.