The Best Boutique Hotels and B&Bs in the Oltrarno, Florence

Soak up authentic Florentine life with a stay in this historic quarter
Soak up authentic Florentine life with a stay in this historic quarter | © Catharina Lux / Alamy
Photo of Natasha Holt
1 April 2021

Cross the Ponte Vecchio and you’ll find yourself in the Oltrarno, the trendiest area in Florence. It’s home to the Palazzo Pitti, stuffed with works by Titian and Raphael, as well as the historic Boboli Gardens. It’s also the best place to see real Florentine artisans at work, away from the crowds. Here’s our pick of the best boutique stays in this Renaissance quarter, bookable with Culture Trip.

Villa Cora

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Villa Cora
Courtesy of Villa Cora / Hotels.com

If it’s good enough for the likes of Tchaikovsky and the wife of Napoleon III, it’s safe to assume the Villa Cora has the wow-factor. Overlooking the Boboli Gardens, the hotel sits on the hills just outside Florence’s Unesco-recognised historic centre. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool, where you’ll be surrounded by more than 100 different types of roses. Then sneak a peek at the ornate Baroque-style halls before enjoying a glass of J. de Telmont champagne on the roof terrace.

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AdAstra Suites

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Each room at AdAstra is uniquely decorated
Courtesy of AdAstra / Hotels.com

Just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Florence, the Ad Astra prides itself on its unique, eclectic look. Mixing the classic and the contemporary, you can expect to stumble upon everything from Pucci scarves to mid-century Italian furniture during your stay. Each room has its own roll-top bath. Enjoy a gorgeous homemade breakfast, with local cheeses, freshly laid eggs and quince jam on the wraparound terrace.

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SoprArno Suites

Suite Hotel, Hotel
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SoprArno Suites
Courtesy of SoprArno Suites / Expedia

Taking inspiration from the Sistine Chapel, the SoprArno knows that nothing says Italy like an original ceiling fresco painted by a local artist – even better when viewed from the comfort of your own standalone bath. With just 13 individually designed rooms, each one is furnished with antique furniture and bespoke art. A five-minute stroll will take you to the Ponte Vecchio.

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Palazzo Guicciardini

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Palazzo Guicciardini_77600b23
Courtesy of Palazzo Guicciardini / Expedia

With Renaissance frescoes covering the walls and original terracotta tiled floors, sleeping at the Palazzo Guicciardini feels like you’re staying in a beautiful museum. Not surprisingly, it used to be the home of a noble Florentine family. After a delicious buffet breakfast of croissants and locally produced meats and cheeses, you can walk to the Basilica of Santo Spirito just a stone’s throw away.

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San Pier Novello in Oltrarno

Bed and Breakfast
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Guest room at San Pier Novello
Courtesy of San Pier Novello / Hotels.com

The Malenotti family are proud Florentines known for restoring antique furniture to its former glory. Needless to say, their B&B San Pier Novello is stuffed full of such treasures, from the original artwork to the 18th-century furniture. The B&B is right in the heart of Florence. When you’re done with sightseeing, pop to the family’s shop, Piumaccio d’Oro, where they will be happy to show you their craft.

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Oltrarno Splendid

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Oltrarno Splendid
Courtesy of Oltrarno Splendid / Expedia

This 14-room B&B was originally an 18th-century palazzo. Its owners have lovingly, and painstakingly, restored its 200-year-old wallpaper, faded wall textures and unique frescoes to give it that authentic feel. Don’t worry though, the rooms have all the modern luxuries you’d expect, including freestanding bathtubs in some rooms, espresso machines and HD TVs. Tuck into the buffet breakfast, which includes locally sourced prosciutto and freshly baked pastries in abundance.

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Hostel Santa Monaca

Hostel
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Hostel Santa Monaca
Courtesy of Hostel Santa Monaca / Expedia

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly stay, then book a room in the Hostel Santa Monaca. Located in a 15th-century convent, the hostel retains the traditional Florentine old-world charm. Rooms range from simple doubles to 20-bed dorms. It’s within walking distance of Santa Maria Novella, Florence’s main train station, making it the ideal place for those who only have a few days to spend in town and want to minimise travel time. The two large common areas are a welcome feature for both lone travellers and families.

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  • Hotel Lungarno

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Rooftop at Hotel Lungarno
    Courtesy of Hotel Lungarno / Hotels.com

    Founded by the Ferragamo family, this hotel chain promises, and delivers, everything you would expect from such a renowned pedigree. With interiors designed by Italian architect Michele Bönan, you’ll see elegance everywhere you turn in Hotel Lungarno. The hotel even boasts its own private art collection with works by Picasso and Jean Cocteau, among others. Luxury in-room perks include iPads and Bose sound systems; ask for a room with a view of the River Arno. You’re just a few steps from the sister hotel, Gallery Hotel Art, with its Michelin-starred restaurant.

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    Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio

    Hotel
    Map View
    Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio
    Courtesy of Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio / Expedia
    Located on the edge of the Oltrarno neighbourhood, Hotel Pitti Palace is pretty much as close as you can get to the River Arno and Ponte Vecchio without being in the water. Try to get a room with a balcony, as you won’t want to miss the beautiful views from this hotel. But failing that, head to the terrace wine bar for an aperitivo before dinner, and soak up the scenery. The retractable covers on the balcony will allow you to choose whether you take shade from the sunshine or bask in it.
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    UNA Hotel Vittoria

    Hotel
    Map View
    UNA Hotel Vittoria
    Courtesy of UNA Hotel Vittoria / Expedia
    Probably the snazziest hotel in Florence, UNA Hotel Vittoria is a unique work of design and innovation. The four-star accommodation boasts an amazing array of wallpapers and architectural features; the elongated table in the dining room encourages guest interaction, and the hotel is dotted with exciting sculptures that wouldn’t be out of place in one of Florence’s art museums. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you’ll discover the Renaissance paintings adorning the halls, completing the fusion of traditional and contemporary decor. Try not to get too waylaid by the hotel’s beauty, though, as there are plenty of things to be seen outside.
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    Casa Pucci B&B

    Bed and Breakfast, Hotel
    Map View
    Casa Pucci B&B
    Courtesy of Casa Pucci Bed and Breakfast / Booking.com
    For a cosy, traditional Florentine stay, book Casa Pucci B&B. Tamara and her daughter Catalina will warmly welcome you into their home, which is housed in a 550-year-old convent. There are five bedrooms in total, each with their own private bathroom, free wifi and air-conditioning. Pets are also welcome. From here, it is only a short walk to the various sights of Florence, many of which you will be able to see from your bedroom window. This includes the Boboli Gardens, an iconic landmark that offers a calm, lush isolation from the busy streets of the city.

    Imogen Beecroft contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on April 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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