The Best Hotels in Florence

The Tuscan capital is one of the world’s art and architecture meccas and its hotels show off the best of its craftsmanship. The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is a Renaissance palazzo decked out in ornate frescoes, gilded chandeliers, and antique furnishings. Michelangelo designed the facade of Belmond Villa San Michele. The daughter of celebrated Italian architect Claudio Nardi is responsible for the tasteful rooms (Mies van der Rohe tables and Louis XIV chairs) at Riva Lofts.

Via di Campestri, 19/22, 50039 Vicchio di Mugello FI, Italy
How tempting is it to run off to a rustic Tuscan villa? To just drive the rolling, vineyard- and olive grove–lined hills of Tuscany until you find the perfect one to painstakingly, lovingly restore, à la Under the Tuscan Sun, where you can produce your own olive oil and wine, grow your own vegetables, go for long bike rides in search of Etruscan ruins, and befriend the locals in the nearest village despite speaking nary a word of Italian? That’s pretty much what a stay at the Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort is like, except they’ve done the heavy lifting for you. The Pasquali family spent two years transforming the 17th-century villa, once the domain of the noble Florentine Roti Michelozzi family, into a rustic retreat and working olive oil farm. Now, guests can waltz in and lounge by the pool, take long walks through the orchards, sample the house olive oils, dine alfresco on fresh local cuisine, and learn to cook Tuscan specialties with the chef. The surrounding countryside is yours for the taking, with horseback riding, biking, and hiking excursions on nature trails up to Monte Giovi.
Borgo Pinti, 99, Florence
It should come as no surprise that, in the heart of historic Florence, a 15-minute walk from the Duomo, presides a Renaissance palazzo—the home of Florentine nobility for centuries. Decorated with ornate frescoes, gilded chandeliers, and antique furnishings, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze’s soaring halls and suites are fit for a king. The hotel is surrounded by 11 manicured acres of gardens—the Giardino della Gherardesca—their hidden pathways, serene pools, and ancient trees made for romantic promenades and hours curled up with a book. The dining rooms are among the most sought-after in Florence, and the elegant terraces buzz at all hours with a who’s who of Florentine clientele coming to pay their respects to this grande dame.

A bastion of true Renaissance luxury in a bustling city, the Four Seasons treats all guests like they’re the master of the house: no request too much, a gourmet meal offered at any hour, the most restorative and soothing spa treatments available at the snap of a finger.
50135 Settignano, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy
The Belmond Villa San Michele knows something about history. Michelangelo designed its facade, Franciscan monks tended its gardens, and Brigitte Bardot stayed here. But, like any elegant host, it’s not brash about its pedigree. Manicured Italian gardens—designed by 15th-century friars—beckon you for sun-soaked strolls. The colonnaded loggia is a pleasant place for a sunset aperitivo or candlelit dinner, especially with a view of Florence and the Arno Valley. The hotel’s expansive rooms are already decked out in the most tasteful, almost understated interpretation of Renaissance luxury—terra-cotta tile floors, heavy wood furnishings, just a dash of red velvet, and plenty of cream-colored walls—and then the panoramic views, original frescoes, and modern Carrara marble bathrooms steal the show. There’s a real-deal cooking school, where the chef actually works with each person in hands-on preparations—no demonstrations-only here. Other perks include the hillside pool, the concierge service that can get you into the Uffizi outside of operating hours, and, from the Loggia Restaurant, a view of the ancient Roman road that once connected Florence to Fiesole.
Vicolo dell'Oro, 5, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
A hotel with the words “gallery” and “art” in its name would be remiss not to include at least a nod to the art world in its decor (though more than a few establishments have been known to throw up a wall-sized painting by a well-known artist and declare themselves art hotels). As Florence’s pioneering design hotel, the Gallery Hotel Art doesn’t skimp. Virtually the entire ground floor, from the lobby through to the lounge and trendy Japanese-Mediterranean-Peruvian fusion restaurant, is one giant gallery, its sleek white decor acting as the calming, understated counterpart to the contemporary art and photography not often found in this city.

Indeed, don’t underestimate the groundbreaking nature of this hotel. Design hotels may be a dime a dozen these days, but when the Ferragamo family’s Lungarno hotel collection launched with this modern getaway designed by Michele Bönan, its clean-lined furnishings and chrome, white, and natural wood hues were a challenge to a city outfitted in rich brocades and dark wood antiques. As such, the Gallery Hotel Art isn’t the flashiest stay, but it is the kind of place you can relax and unwind and feel like you aren’t living in the Renaissance days.
Via della Scala, 18, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Hundreds of years ago, at the height of Florence’s Renaissance heyday, visitors to this cultural capital wouldn’t have stayed in the kinds of luxury hotels that now line its picturesque streets. Rather, the well-heeled would have come at the behest of friends, lodging in private homes whose unassuming facades in the best neighborhoods belied their sumptuous interiors and private gardens, outfitted with art and artifacts collected from around the world.

A guesthouse to its core, Casa Howard continues this Florentine tradition; there is neither lobby nor restaurant, and the owner Massimiliano Leonardi di Casalino lives in his own apartment here while in town (note, it can be rented when he’s away). Jennifer Howard Forneris, one of the design-conscious proprietors who has since passed away, was the daughter of renowned textile designer Luciano Forneris. She gave each room its own look, with finds from her and Leonardi di Casalino’s world travels. A media room is the sole common area, and a hammam steam room and an on-site concierge service are the only nods toward traditional hotel services. Insider recommendations are personalized according to guests’ preferences, and the honor bar feels more like a friend’s (well-stocked) fridge.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 7, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
JK Place Firenze is a far cry from Florence’s obsession with all things Renaissance. Set amid the buzz of Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, this onetime private mansion is decked out in black, white, peach, gray, and chrome, with inflections of 1950s movie stars, 1970s pop art, and ornate 19th-century architecture. The reception feels like a library, and the breakfast room is a glassed-over former courtyard with a hefty antique wooden communal table. Free drinks, fresh fruit, and homemade treats (and bubbles at cocktail hour) can be found at all hours in the guests-only lounge area. Impress your well-heeled friends by inviting them to dine on the piazza terrace, presided over by the appropriately black-and-white Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, before moving downstairs to the clubby J.K. Pink Room. Slip upstairs to your individually designed room for a divine night’s sleep, then awake ready to take on one of the world’s most historic cities.
Borgo S. Jacopo, 14, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Somewhere between a luxury yacht and a royal residence, the Hotel Lungarno seems like the sort of place where Audrey Hepburn’s Princess Ann, of Roman Holiday, would have felt right at home. A 16th-century private residence on the southern banks of the Arno, next to the iconic Ponte Vecchio, the hotel was the first entry into the Ferragamo family’s Lungarno hotel collection, lovingly restored by renowned Florentine architect/designer Michele Bönan. With rich navy carpets, stained-wood furnishings, crisp white linens, and as many large, river-facing windows as he could get away with. It comes as no surprise, either, that the house restaurant is considered among the best in the city. Even if the food and the atmosphere weren’t top-notch (and they are), the sunset views of the city lights reflected in the river would be worth it.
Via degli Strozzi, 4, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
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.
Piazza Ognissanti, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
If every Renaissance palazzo had been as luxurious as the St. Regis Florence, it seems unlikely the Renaissance would ever have ended. Designed in 1432 by Filippo Brunelleschi, this riverside palace just northwest of Florence’s centro storico spent some time as the grande dame Grand Hotel Firenze before being reborn as a modern luxury hotel—with all the trappings of a Florentine noble’s palazzo, of course (think antique Murano chandeliers, and 16th-century frescoes and tapestries). Each of the 99 rooms and suites has been adorned with rich velvets and brocades, the famously comfortable beds crowned with drapes like a king’s boudoir, and, in some rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows open onto Juliet balconies overlooking the Arno, some with views all the way to the picturesque Ponte Vecchio. In the restaurant and bar, latter-day royalty dine on Michelin-starred Tuscan cuisine and eye one another over bubbles and classic cocktails. A decadent spa awaits to soothe away the stresses of a day running around town, and the St. Regis’ signature butler service ensures that even the smallest of whims can be satisfied. This is Old World luxury as it should be.
Viale Michelangiolo, 78, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
It must have been painful for the noble Florentine Grassi family to part with Villa la Vedetta; family memories and ancestral heritage are one thing, but those panoramic views of the Florence skyline—the kind you can get only from the top of the Viale Michelangiolo, less than two miles from the Duomo—are another entirely. Fortunately for discerning view-seekers, the new owners restored the 18-room villa with a few doses of Fellini to complement the city’s inherent Michelangelo. Original marble floors in some rooms, new parquet floors in others, and just a few Renaissance-style paintings are paired pleasantly with minimalist red leather chairs, a splash of zebra-print here and there, 1950s art prints, and crisp white walls throughout. Indeed, between the cozy, well-stocked library and the expansive pool deck where one could soak up the sun and the views for hours, the villa still feels quite a bit like a quirky, artsy relative’s home, to which you’ve been given the keys for a week. Good thing these relatives have a discreet and friendly staff who can whip up a caprese salad and a glass of chianti upon request and send a car to drop you off in town.
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