Despite the fact that the old center of Florence is eminently walkable, there’s something to be said for finding a place to stay that’s just around the corner from the city’s most famous landmark – its gorgeous Duomo, or cathedral. One of the highlights of my first trip to Italy was that I could see the Duomo’s bell tower from my hotel room window – and the bells served as my alarm clock.
Now, you may not appreciate church bells waking you up in the morning (especially if you’ve enjoyed Florence’s nightlife the night before), but these hostels near the Florence Duomo have plenty of other redeeming qualities that make them well worth checking out for your stay in this Renaissance city. (And if the bells bug you, that’s nothing a good pair of earplugs can’t fix, right?)
Below, you’ll find a map of central Florence with the Duomo marked by a star. Around it, you’ll see icons representing the hostels I’m highlighting in this article, so you can see exactly where they’re located in relation to the Duomo. To get more information on each hostel, you can either click on the map icon or you can scroll down to the brief description underneath the map.
Hostels in Florence Near the Duomo
Florence Hostels Near the Duomo
When it comes to proximity to the Duomo at a great price, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than the Academy Hostel. From the building’s front door on Via Ricasoli, turn your head to the right and you’ve got the side of the Duomo in your sights. I stayed at Academy in 2008 just after the hostel opened, and I thought it had more going for it than just the location.
Although Academy Hostel is in an old building, it was completely redone before it opened and (at least when I was there) still boasted gleaming white walls everywhere. The dorm rooms are bright and modern, with furniture that’s easy to move around and configure however you like. Guests get free breakfast, linens, towels, internet access, and WiFi.
Leonardo House isn’t a hostel, but it’s a pretty inexpensive place to stay (especially given its location a minute from the Duomo), and if you’re traveling with a few friends you could share a room and end up paying hostel prices per person.
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There’s plenty to like about Leonardo House, including the free WiFi, free towels, free linens, and free help booking tickets at Florence’s museums (it sure beats waiting in long lines). And although it’s close to the center of the action in the city it’s in a quiet area just about equidistant from the Duomo and the train station.
Hotel Pensione Ferretti
The Hotel Pensione Ferretti is another non-hostel, but again I think it’s worth including because of its good prices and great location. The hotel occupies part of a 17th century building roughly midway between Florence’s main train station and the Duomo, and has 16 rooms available.
Not all the rooms have en suite bathrooms, but with so few rooms even if your room doesn’t have a bathroom you won’t be sharing with a huge number of other travelers. Hotel Pensione Ferretti offers free WiFi to guests, but its continental breakfast will cost extra. (My advice? Skip the hotel breakfast and have coffee and a pastry at a local bar, like the Italians do.)
International Student House Florence
The next three hostels on this list are clustered in the same general neighborhood, and they’re all actually closer to the Santa Maria Novella train station than they are the Duomo. But as I mentioned in the introduction, the old city center is pedestrian-friendly and it’s still a quick walk from the Duomo to the hostels listed here.
International Student House Florence has primarily dorm-style rooms, although there are a few small private rooms available in another building for (as they put it) “those romantic travelers.” There’s a kitchen for guest use, and the staff is helpful and friendly. Linens are free, but you’ll need to bring your own towels or rent them at the hostel.
Archi Rossi Hostel
One of Florence’s most popular hostels is Archi Rossi Hostel, or Ostello Archi Rossi. They’ve been in business for years, and many happy guests have left messages all over the walls – the interior walls are almost entirely covered either with fantastic murals (many inspired by Florence’s artistic treasures) or fun graffiti. You may be handed a pen and challenged to find a blank spot.
Archi Rossi Hostel offers free internet, free WiFi, free breakfast, and free daily walking tours of Florence (available only in the busy season). In addition to the spacious and well-lit common rooms, there’s also a pretty outdoor patio that serves as a common space as well. There’s plenty of hang-out space, actually, which is good – guests are asked to stay out of their rooms during the midday cleaning period.
You can read my review of Archi Rossi Hostel to learn more about it.
With only five rooms on offer, Locanda Daniel isn’t exactly the kind of place you think of when you think of a hostel. And in truth, it’s not trying to be. When you stay at Locanda Daniel, you’ll feel more like you’ve got the keys to your own Florence apartment. Because, in fact, you do.
Locanda Daniel occupies an apartment in a building on Via Nazionale, a busy street near the train station. Luckily, although all but one of the rooms overlooks this busy road, the windows all have double-paned glass so street noise is kept to a minimum. The small double room in the back boasts a view of the Duomo. There are no en suite bathrooms, but you’re not sharing with many people, and you’ll get internet access, bed linens, and towels for free.
You can read my review of Locanda Daniel to learn more about it.
Photo by: david__jones