Florence is a perennial tourist draw, boasting historic sites like the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and the stunning Duomo that attract crowds year on year. However, it’s not all about bus tours and big-chain hotels; the gem of Northern Italy is full of unique places to stay. From stylish, rustic-chic mansions to 16th-century palazzi, we’ve picked out the best boutique hotels in Florence.
With a central location on the bustling Piazza Santa Maria Novella, J.K. Place is among the most sought-after boutique hotels in Italy. From the eclectic mix of retro furniture to the framed art tastefully hung, this townhouse is a treasure trove of classic-contemporary design. Spread across three floors, the 20 guest rooms are decorated in whites and feature antique fireplaces, hardwood flooring and four-poster beds. The J.K. Lounge is the perfect place for a romantic dinner, in an intimate setting with an open fire.
Overlooking the largest private garden in Europe, AdAstra is a boutique hotel with the homely atmosphere of an eccentric aristocrat’s apartment. Inside, vast chandeliers, various frescoes and creaky parquet floors mingle with upcycled furniture and pieces of Italian design from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. The 14 rooms are elegant and understated, again with an emphasis on design. An ample breakfast buffet of locally sourced cheeses, prosciutto and Moka coffee is served from the sunny salon each morning. Afterwards, guests can recline on the sublime wraparound terrace.
In the trendy Oltrarno neighbourhood, SoprArno Suites is a stylish guest house that inhabits the top three floors of a handsome 16th-century mansion. A design lover’s dream, its authentic Florentine interiors are furnished with a mixture of vintage pieces and rare salvaged items, which complement the original frescoes that still adorn many of the ceilings. The boutique has 10 spacious rooms, each of which is centred on a unique theme. The Viaggiatore suite, for example, features framed maps and dark hardwood floors. The bistro, SottArno, serves home-made cakes and fresh-pressed panini like the sweet mortadella with rosemary.
Across the street from the wide-open Piazza Indipendenza, Palazzo Casti 1874 is a swanky modern boutique hotel inside a divine 19th-century mansion. Opened in 2015, the lofty ceilings, original frescoes and elegant staircase lend character to the stylish contemporary furnishings of the hotel’s 50 guest rooms. Relax under the shade of an umbrella in the Limonaia garden or treat yourself to a massage at the spa. After a long day of sightseeing, a dip in the pool is a great way to refresh and rejuvenate.
In the eastern area of Florence, Relais Santa Croce occupies the sumptuous 18th-century Palazzo Jacometti Ciofi. Its public spaces are impressive, with soaring ceilings, lofty arches and grand staircases. The 24 comfortable suites are finished in mod-classic style with muted earthy tones and herringbone wood flooring. Grab a cocktail in the Music Room, a grandiose salon with original frescoes and a carved stone hearth, then sit down to a gourmet dinner at on-site restaurant Guelfi e Ghibellini. Real foodies also shouldn’t miss Tuscany’s only three-Michelin-star restaurant, Enoteca Pinchiorri, which shares a building with the hotel.
On the south bank of the Arno just a short distance outside of Florence, Villa La Massa occupies a 16th-century house that once belonged to the Medicis. With pietra serena staircases, vaulted ceilings and fine brocades in rich jewel tones, this multi-layered palazzo exudes opulence. Rooms are designed in classic Florentine style with deep-red carpeting and four-poster beds draped in Renaissance-esque canopies. Pan-Italian dishes pair perfectly with a riverfront view at the charming Il Verrocchio restaurant. An aperitivo from the red-painted hotel bar, with signature cocktails from Santa Maria Novella, is also a must.
On an unassuming side street in the city centre, Palazzo di Camugliano is a boutique hotel housed inside a 16th-century manor. This is classic Florentine luxury, with interiors that boast original marble flooring, lavish frescoes and stone-carved fireplaces. Packed with precious antique heirlooms, this former family home manages to combine elegance with a comfortable, lived-in appeal. The 10 piano nobile suites range a lot in size and shape, from single rooms with vaulted ceilings and rustic terracotta tiles to a four-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchenette.
Book other local stays through Culture Trip by seeing the best hotels in Florence and best luxury hotels in Florence. Fill up the itinerary of your visit with these reasons why everyone should visit Florence, then end your day with a drink at one of the best bars in Florence. Looking for some good grub? Here are a local tour guide’s favourite restaurants in Florence.