From cosy guest houses with an eccentric touch to modern riverside suites with rooftop views, Florence’s best B&Bs are a great alternative to hotels for those seeking personalised hospitality and accommodation in amazing locations.
Bed and Breakfast
Suite at Velona’s Jungle | Courtesy of Velona’s Jungle / Hotels.com
Set on the third level of a mid-century palazzo in central Florence, Velona’s is a chic B&B with a rainforest-inspired theme. A mix of contemporary and vintage design, the interiors have original marble and parquet floors with black-lacquered wood trim and jungle-printed textiles. Each of the hotel’s four spacious suites is individually decorated in unique colour palettes and larger rooms include extras such as canopied beds and chromotherapy showers (a shower using coloured lights, believed to promote health and balance). A vegan-friendly breakfast is offered until noon, serving fresh pastries, artisan jams and organic yoghurt. Though many are drawn in by the decorative style, it’s the personal and friendly service of the Velona-Grecchi family that will keep you coming back.
Just off Piazza d’Azeglio on the east side of the historic heart of Florence, 1865 is a modern guest house with elegant flair. Deep-red velvet walls, plush leather sofas and a large gilded mirror create a cosy atmosphere in the quaint reception, which doubles as a breakfast room. In contrast, the five individually designed guest suites are contemporary, with muted colours and simple, tasteful furnishings. Every morning, the owners prepare breakfast with local market-fresh ingredients like warm brioche, eggs any way you like them and pecorino cheese. Be sure to ask about the ‘secret Florence’ tour, which includes museums and restaurant bookings.
Centrally located just off the Piazza della Signoria, this B&B combines genteel Florentine design with genuine hospitality. It dates from the 15th century, and the interiors are decorated in a traditional style with frescoed ceilings, antique furniture and personal touches creating an atmosphere that is both elegant and inviting. There are 1o guest rooms, each named after a different Renaissance artist, which have original coffered ceilings (or frescoes), fine fabrics and parquet flooring. A decadent breakfast of homemade cakes and pastries, as well as more filling fare such as eggs and bacon, is served on the third floor (or via room service) every day. More than just a place to rest your head, this family-run B&B also offers cooking classes and sailing tours for those seeking adventure.
On the west end of Via della Scala near the Novecento Museum, Casa Howard is an endearing and eccentric B&B. A fusion of elegance and eclecticism, the bold interiors bring together antique furnishings and modern luxury. This small B&B has 12 guest rooms, each with a unique theme, including the cosy book-filled Library Room, the unique and spacious Studio Room and the dramatic black and white Drawing Room. An Italian-style breakfast is brought to your room on a silver platter with warm pastries, Parma ham and honey straight from the owner’s farm. From massages and beauty treatments to painting lessons and quad bike rides in the countryside, everything you could want can be arranged by the friendly concierge at this one-of-a-kind Florentine guest house.
Across the road from the famous Duomo, Niccolini is an 18th-century palazzo built on the former site of Donatello’s sculpture studio. The interiors are refined, with walls covered in frescoes, warm terracotta flooring and soaring arched entryways. Five individually decorated rooms provide a romantic getaway amidst antique furniture and hardwood floors, while deluxe suites boast enchanting city views and a full-size Jacuzzi. Breakfast is served in the grand salon, which more than lives up to its name; enjoy the first coffee of the day and an array of pastries among Italian tapestries, large gilded mirrors and ornately painted ceilings. The owner is on hand to answer questions and offer excellent recommendations for things to do in Florence.
A short walk from Piazza San Marco by the Northern Gate, Antica Dimor Johlea is a peaceful B&B located in a calm, quiet neighbourhood. Filled with antique knick-knacks and colourful rugs, the atmosphere is more like that of a stylish, comfortable home than a hotel. The six charming guest rooms boast four-poster beds with fine silk curtains, tiled flooring and an energetic colour scheme. Breakfast is served daily with eggs, fruits and cheeses, and there’s endless coffee and cakes available all day, perfect for a quick bit of refreshment in between sightseeing. In the evening, pour yourself a glass of wine from the honesty bar and head to the rooftop terrace for 360-degree city views.
Steps from Santa Croce Basilica in the historic centre, La Maison du Sage occupies a 16th-century building with a ’20s vibe. Light maple wood furnishings and hardwood flooring, offset by raspberry red corridors, create a chic yet understated atmosphere. The Art Deco inspiration continues in the 18 individually designed rooms, decked out in colours of duck-egg blue, deep pink and dusty green. A breakfast of fresh fruit, brioches and locally baked cakes is served from 8am until 10am on every floor, and an aperitivo is offered from 6.30pm in the evening, giving you the chance to mingle with other guests and staff.
Situated across from Pitti Palace in the historic city centre, this B&B of the same name occupies a grand 16th-century building. Original frescoed ceilings, herringbone wood floors and antique furnishings create an aristocratic atmosphere. The hotel’s four genteel rooms are bright and airy, each individually decorated in true Florentine style (the magnificent floor-to-ceiling fresco in the King Suite is a must-see). An Italian breakfast of cakes, pastries and fruits is served every day in a refined salon with white tablecloths and delicate crockery by warm and welcoming staff. After fuelling up for the day, head out to Ponte Vecchio, or the beautiful Giardino di Boboli just a short walk away.
Located on the north bank of the Arno just next to Ponte Santa Trinita, Palazzo Alfieri is a stylish B&B in a serene setting. Tall windows and chic modern furniture make the space feel luxurious without being too fussy. Set across two separate buildings, contemporary rooms range in size from the elegant Executive Annex to the Prestige Suite, which is decked out with 18th-century frescoed ceilings and panoramic river views. A well-presented Italian buffet breakfast is served in the adjacent café, offering a spread of eggs, sweet pastries and sausages along with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. After a long day of sightseeing, the rooftop bar is the perfect place to relax with a negroni with the Duomo as your backdrop.
Guest room at San Pier Novello | Courtesy of San Pier Novello / Hotels.com
Tucked away behind the Giardino di Boboli in the Oltrarno district, San Pier Novello is set inside a beautifully restored building built in 1349. Original hardwood floors, fragmented frescoes and an eclectic collection of recycled antique and vintage furniture make this B&B a truly special environment. The four uniquely designed guest rooms vary in size and shape, but all offer a comfortable and elegant space to relax. An Italian breakfast with pastries, meats and cheeses is served every morning in a rustic-chic dining room surrounded by frescoes from the Scuola dell ‘Orcagna. It’s owned by a family of Florentine artisans, and you’ll feel welcome to explore your artistic side at this quaint gem within easy walking distance of the popular and creative district of Santo Spirito.