Just outside of Florence there are magnificent rolling hills and breath-taking Tuscan landscapes, which can provide a stark and welcome difference to the busy city center. You will also find real, traditional Tuscan food, and you will find that it is often at a better price than in the city. Staying in the areas around the city of Florence can be a wonderful alternative.
Best towns to stay just outside Florence
1. Fiesole - so convenient
Fiesole is an Etruscan town just outside of Florence that is home to expansive panoramas of the Arno Valley. As well as incredible views, there are also many churches and several ancient Roman ruins to explore. You can easily reach the centre of Florence by bus. Simply take the number 7 bus, and you will arrive in the city in about 15 minutes. Buses run every 15 to 20 minutes from 6am to 12am.
There is also plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from if you want to stay in the quiet of the countryside.
2. Mugello - for nature
Mugello is another town just outside of Florence, which is about 20 minutes outside of Florence. Mugello is an area that is relatively untouched by tourism and has incredible green landscapes full of animals. Mugello offers places where you can go hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and practice water sports, all within a few kilometres of the city of Florence. There is also a scenic train that will get you to the city from here.
Other Towns - well connected to Florence
There are many other towns that you could stay in, that are all about 30 minutes away from Florence by train, and all have wineries nearby. Some places you could look into are Empoli, Montelupo, Pistoia, and Prato. A little further out, within an hour, Montecatini, Borgo San Lorenzo, San Miniato, Greve in Chianti, and San Casciano.
Types of accommodation outside Florence
Agritourism - Farmhouse stays
Agritourism is a type of accommodation that is based on a farm. In the area surrounding Florence, these accommodation style can range from vineyards, to dairy farms, to olive groves, or frescoed villas. These types of accommodations cannot have more than 30 paying guests at any one time and can only earn a certain percent of their income from hospitality, so the atmosphere is mostly based on honest work in the countryside.
There are differing levels of luxury, but most of these farm style accommodations are rustic and cosy and are likened to staying with relatives in the countryside. The best part about staying in these places is that the countryside is right next to Florence without actually being in the city, so you can experience traditional hospitality while still being able to access the city.
Vacation Rentals - spacious and comfortable
Another option for staying in the countryside is looking at vacation home rentals. These are houses that people normally live in but rent out to people as an alternative to traditional accommodation. These are often a lot more private and spacious than other accommodation styles, especially with the countryside as a backdrop.
Look for places like this on websites like AirBnB, or alternatively you can check on websites such as www.bed-and-breakfast.it or www.discovertuscany.com for a range of options.
Hotels in Florence outskirts
There are also plenty of traditional hotel options in these areas if you are wanting something simple and easy to navigate. Some highly recommended options include
- Villa Somelli
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Florence Novoli
- Hotel Il Borgo di Villa Castelletti.
Where to stay if you are driving
Outside Florence is also a good place to stay if you are driving around Italy. You will be able to find parking facilities that are not always accessible if you are staying in the Florence city centre. If you are want to avoid staying in Florence because of the restricted driving areas, it can be possible to find hotels that offer parking, or places that are not within the restricted area. But there are many options for staying outside of the city that do not involve navigating these restrictions.
Florence is a wonderful, historic city that is well worth the visit, but there are many beautiful accommodation options just outside the city that offer an escape from the crowds and a chance to experience the Tuscan countryside. Here are just a few different accommodation options near Florence:
1. Relais Villa Antea
Via Francesco Puccinotti, 46, 50129 - Florence
This luxury, family-run B&B is in an 18th century villa, and it is advertised as being an authentic Florentine experience.
- In an 18th century, traditional Florentine Villa
- Close enough to walk into the city centre, but out of the main hustle and bustle in a quiet, safe neighbourhood
This accommodation is about a 15 minute walk into town to attractions such as the Accademia gallery, and there are also two bus lines that go past (the front desk can give maps and information on this). Their website gives information on how to reach them from all the major transport options.
2. Hotel Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli
Via Sandro Pertini, 2/9, FLORENCE, 50127, Italy
This hotel is situated in a scenic park in the Novoli area of Florence, and offers a taste of Tuscany hospitality before you have even gone to discover the rest of the city
- Garden setting with free parking facilities
- Restaurant in the hotel, plus buffet style breakfasts
- 10 minutes away from the city centre by bus
The Hilton garden is in the Novoli area, and the bus stop to get into town is a short walk away public bus services are €1.50 for a one way ticket into town to see all the major sites.
3. Monsignor della Casa Country Resort
This luxury resort is a beautiful Tuscan escape just outside the city of Florence, and offers a relaxing taste of the countryside.
- Large, garden-like grounds
- Swimming pools, spa pools, and other amenities like tennis courts
- Outside of the city of Florence in the Tuscan countryside (not close to the main attractions of Florence)
This luxury resort is outside the city of Florence, and is about a 30 minute trip by car or train to the city. This is definitely an escape from the busy city.
4. Villa Somelli in Empoli
Via Maremmana II Tratto 35, 50053 Empoli
Villa Somelli is another traditional Tuscan Villa in the countryside, and offers an escape with its garden-like grounds and swimming pool area.
- Beautiful Tuscan villa-type accommodation
- Choice of staying in apartments or the Villa
- Swimming pool and large grounds
- Stunning views of the Tuscan countryside, with the castle, vineyards, olive groves and rolling hills
This accommodation is a bit out of the way if you are wanting to get to Florence for some sightseeing, so it is best if you have your own rental car. Taxis cost around €20. Using public transport (taking a bus then a train) will take about 1.5 hours. This is truly a Tuscan getaway location
5. Borgo di Villa Castelletti
Via di Castelletti, 15 - 50058 Signa, Firenze (Italy)
This is a charming and elegant B&B just outside the city of Florence, giving it a perfect balance of Tuscan countryside and city exploration.
- Buffet breakfast and restaurant on site
- Swimming pool
- Nestled in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, yet relatively close to the city of Florence
This accommodation is approximately half an hour out of the centre of Florence. You can go to Signa station (either take a ten minute taxi, or drive yourself and park in the ample free parking), then catch a train into town (tickets are about €2.60).
The hotel can also arrange transfers from the airport and train station if you contact them in advance.
6. Poggio al Sole
Strada Rignana 2, Badia a Passignano, I-50028 Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Firenze
Poggio al Sole is a great example of traditional Florentine Agritourism, and this winery-come-hotel will give you a wonderful escape from the city in a unique accommodation setting.
- Garden and swimming pool
- Different breakfast everyday
- Stunning views of the countryside and of Florence down in the distance
- Farmhouse/Winery type accommodation (Agriturismo)
- Located just 15 minutes away from Florence by public transport
Poggio al Sole is located in the town of Fiesole, just 10 miles outside of Florence. You can reach the city centre by taking the public bus for about €1.50 and get there in around 15 minutes.
Many of my favourite places are already listed on this website. But there’s one - my favourite - which is not even mentioned!
I’m talking about Chianti Rufina, the less known Florentine Chianti. If you go east from Florence for about 15 km you will come across Pontassieve. This is the main town in Chianti Rufina. The little town is not so special but when you get there you should totally head for the countryside. Many of the greatest wines made in the surroundings of Florence come from these wonderful vineyards, and the best oil is made here!
Not only is it a wonderful place, it also has very exclusive accommodations! The little farm called “Lavacchio” - that you’ll recognize when you stumble upon a big red windmill - is specialized in organic products and has big villas converted into lovely apartments for you to accommodate.
It has a restaurant - its speciality is obviously Tuscan food! - swimming pools and also will rent you Vespas for riding all around Chianti Rufina!