Where to live in Florence? Best Neighborhoods in Florence


Santa Maria Novella, one of Florence’s oldest districts, lies right in the heart of the city and is home to the spectacular Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore. Apart from the Cathedral, the whole neighborhood is defined by significant cultural landmarks, such as the two monastic churches of Santa Maria Novella, on the west and Santa Croce on the east, as well as the beautiful  Piazza della Signoria,  which you can easily explore strolling around the medieval streets on the first encounter with your new Erasmus city. Piazza della Repubblica is yet another important stop on your city center exploration as it marks the site of the Roman city’s forum. Being as central as it gets sure comes at a cost, as the neighborhood is overloaded with tourists all year long, but also gives you access to the highest quality of life, offered by the Tuscan capital. Restaurants, cafes, bars and plenty of leisure activities are pretty much what any student needs and can be found only a few steps away!


Located at the east of the Duomo, far from the tourist tracks, Sant’ Ambrogio feels like a village inside the city, loved for its charm by international students and locals, craving a city center break. Wake up early in the morning, walk on the cobbled pavements and follow the locals in the best cafe for a coffee alfresco, on your way to the fresh food market at Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti. There you’ll find the freshest local products; from colourful vegetables to a variety of top quality meats and the finest italian cheeses. Once you discover the local specialties, head to Piazza Massimo D’Azeglio to relax on a bench, surrounded by nature. After dark, get a glimpse of “La Vita Florentina” and explore the nightlife at one of the many music bars!


San Lorenzo, centered on the Medici’s old family church of San Lorenzo -with its Michelangelo-designed tombs- has seen a major upgrade within the past few years and is now well known to be the hipster neighborhood that young people and international students mainly use as their hangout spot. The famous Via de’ Ginori houses some of the best alternative shops, cafes and bars of the area. Restaurants are also to be found in San Lorenzo’s streets, offering a great selection of homemade pizza, pasta and panini for you to dine with your Erasmus buddies and become one with the locals. Away from the tourist traps, the streets of San Lorenzo are also overflowing with stalls offering a wide range of Florentine leather goods at very reasonable prices. Far from museums but very much close to art -the art of food- San Lorenzo’s Mercato Centrale, which dates back to 1874, is the ideal place to satisfy your hunger after all the shopping and the cultural visits. This enormous indoor market will offer you a bite of local flavors in a food journey to remember!


Centralized around the Grand Piazza of the San Marco church, this colourful neighborhood, together with Piazza Santissima Annunziata, sets the northern limits of the centro storico. Offering a quick path to the Duomo, San Marco is also the shelter of Firenze’s finest cultural landmarks such as the Medici and Leonardo Da Vinci museums as well as the Galleria dell’Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David. After checking all these spots from your list, head to the Botanical gardens of the University of Florence, L’ Academia, and take a break, in the most peaceful scenery. San Marco is less packed with tourists compared to the center and is known for its numerous family owned restaurants, perfect to have dinner after a full day of visiting.


Crossing Ponte Alle Grazie, over Arno river, will lead you to San Niccolo, and it’s safe to say that this is a neighborhood of many faces. San Niccolo managed to maintain its medieval atmosphere through the years; massive walls and cobbled pavements are still very present. Stroll around the labyrinth of quiet and narrow streets in search of the trendiest wine bars and restaurants. You might even find unique street art along the way! When it comes to cultural landmarks, San Niccolo has also nothing to shy from the “centro storico”. The Tower San Niccolo, which used to be the city’s entry gate in medieval times, is one of the main attractions. Climb the hills to reach the Piazzale Michelangelo, where you will enjoy one of the most picturesque views on the Tuscan Capital, before arriving at the Basilica San Miniato Al Monte. During summertime, Giardino delle Rose is also a perfect spot to picnic with your Erasmus friends, while enjoying a unique view on the city. When the sun goes down, San Niccolo exchanges its medieval atmosphere for a much younger one. With its many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, the neighborhood is one of the trendiest among students and young people for its buzzing nightlife.


Cross the unmissable Ponte Vecchio to arrive in Santo Spirito. As you guessed it, this area is named after the Santo Spirito Cathedral. Don’t let the unfinished façade fool you, the inside of the church is definitely worth a visit, and is often overlooked by tourists. Here you are in the Oltrarno district on the other side of the river, which is reached by only a few tourists. This part of the city is one of the most authentic, mainly due to the fact that it is home to numerous Florentino natives. It also used to be a working class and artisan neighborhood so you should expect to find numerous artisans and boutiques as well as be introduced to the unique Florentino craftsmanship, while strolling. Santo Spirito is known to be one of the most lively districts in the whole Tuscan Capital, loved both by locals and international students, In the daytime, the neighborhood is quiet but bustling, with its many shops and markets. Once the artisans close their boutiques and the vendors pack up their stalls, the scene changes to a much louder one. The Piazza Santo Spirito, which holds fairs and markets of all kinds during daytime, becomes at sunset the rendez-vous point for students looking for a fun night. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs open and are swarmed by students and young people. On the cultural side, be sure to cross The Palazzo Pitti off your list, as it is one of the city’s largest architectural monuments, and was the home of the Medicis. Right next to the palace is the Boboli Gardens, a wonder of green architecture. This very garden is the home of centuries-old oak trees, sculptures and fountains. It is known to be the prototype that inspired European gardens in Europe, including the famous Versailles!

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