Bed and breakfasts in Florence, Italy – a guide

Bed and breakfasts in Florence, Italy – a guide

From the domed top of Il Duomo to the daffodil-hued Ponte Vecchio, the arcades of the Uffizi to the old home of Galileo, Florence is a city brimming with amazing sights and monuments. It’s not for nothing that the town is considered one of the most romantic in the whole world. To seize your moment between its piazzas and palazzos, a bed and breakfast in Florence is a great pick. They are local, enchanting, and steeped in character…

The style of Florence’s B&Bs

A stone-built Italian villa in the countryside of Tuscany

Florence is known for its style. Flurries of over-the-top Baroque carvings rise here, elegant Renaissance palaces fringe the Arno River there, medieval stonework laces the cathedral on the main square – it’s a stunning place. But the eye-catching looks don’t have to stop when you enter that B&B…

Live like a duke or lady in Florence’s most luxurious B&Bs

There are so many age-old palazzi – Italian palaces – in Florence that there’s even enough to make some seriously high-class bed and breakfasts. Delve inside and you’ll be greeted by boutique halls with soaring ceilings and hand-painted mural art that mimics Rome’s Sistine Chapel. The rooms themselves can have vaulted roofs and chiseled stonework from the medieval period, along with windows that gaze out to the glowing marble rises of Giotto’s Bell Tower.

Agriturismo – an escape to the Tuscan country

You’re not limited to inner-city bed and breakfasts in Florence. You can break away from the snaking Arno and into the surrounding Tuscan hills, too. Just a short drive from the outline of the cathedral, you can find rustic farming estates that have been converted into agricultural guest houses. They’ll have shimmering pools with views of the Apennine Mountains, hiking paths on the doorstep, and traditional Italian home design – think big communal kitchens and cypress-shaded lawns.

More modern bed and breakfasts in Florence, Italy

Back amid the weathered alleys and café-fringed piazzas of the city center, there are another breed of B&Bs here that might be of interest if you’re after something a little more up-to-date. These tend to sit in outer suburbs, in blocks built in the 1900s. The surrounding streets are likely to be quieter, though you might need to hop public transport to get to the mighty Duomo.

An area guide to bed and breakfasts in Florence, Italy

An Italian villa has grassy lawns and terracotta-topped outdoor seating areas

It’s not true that the closer to the cathedral you get the better the location in Florence. This ancient city has all sorts of corners and districts, each with their own vibes. It’s also likely that the character of bed and breakfasts will change as you jump from one to the next.

A skyline marked by the Duomo

The maze-like web of lanes and streets that swirls around the Duomo is the beating heart of the city. Delve one way and there’s the Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s masterwork David. Delve the opposite direction and you find the cloisters of the Uffizi Gallery – some say it’s the greatest museum on earth. Cafés, bars, Tuscan kitchens, traditional Florentine B&Bs – it’s all here.

A bed and breakfast near Florence’s train station

Loads of travelers on a cross-Italy trip will search for a stay that’s right by the railway station. That’s not altogether a bad idea. Just some caveats – the district is Santa Maria Novella, which has two distinct quarters. The streets immediately by the platforms are gritty and rough-around-the-edges, with hawkers and traffic. For something a little more refined, walk five minutes to the south where palaces and pastel-painted homes mingle by the Arno’s banks.

Over the Ponte Vecchio

Strolling over the iconic Ponte Vecchio that links the bustling north side of Florence to its more lived-in southern districts can work wonders for the B&B search. It means swapping the big sights for narrow streets where neighborhood cafes serve espressos to chatting locals. You can even scale the hillsides of San Niccolo to find elegant mansion bed and breakfasts with jaw-dropping panoramas of the city.

Escaping to Tuscan countryside

Even uttering the words “Tuscan country” is enough to get the spine tingling. And it’s true – Florence sits in the heart of Italy’s most vaunted region. Just a short drive east and you can be lost in the wide Valdarno, which has wooded hills and villas shrouded by Mediterranean cypress trees. Go south and you enter quintessential Tuscany, the home of Siena’s redbrick walls and the wine valleys of Chianti.

Chasing bargain bed and breakfasts in Florence, Italy

An Italian country home has seating areas underneath its pine trees Image

Florence might be one of Italy’s most striking cities, but it’s certainly not one of its cheapest. In fact, you may need to bulk up the travel budget a little to enjoy the priceless works of the Uffizi and the taste-bud-tingling menus of Tuscan fare to the full, which is where the handy booking hints below come in…

Skip the hubbub of summer

European vacationers cram into the plazas of old Florence between June and August, while soaring numbers of day trippers from Rome and the rest of Tuscany only add to the crush. Of course, that has the effect of sending B&B rates into overdrive, which means budget hunters are always best-off waiting for September or October.

Choose places that aren’t right in the center

The general rule of thumb with bed and breakfasts in Florence is that the farther you go from the Duomo the cheaper things get. There are some exceptions, however, like with the grand villas of San Niccolo and the most luxurious country estates in the Tuscan hills.