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Student housing - Hostels - Coworking in Florence (Italy)

Students, international students, interns, backpackers, roomates and digital nomads can book cheap dorms and safe private rooms in downtown Florence, close to boarding schools, high schools, colleges, halls of residence and universities, close to buses or train stations, airports or major attractions in Florence.


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Welcome to Florence

Sketchbooks at the ready: it’s time to unleash your imagination with a hostel in the nerve centre of European art. Florence was the engine room of the Renaissance, and backpackers flock to it for its jaw-dropping historic buildings and masterpiece-packed galleries, all wrapped up in winding streets and buzzing public squares. You can’t help but notice the constant stream of tourists, but Florence also has a huge community of creatively-minded international students, based here to study fine art or art history – their influence has helped develop a wealth of backpacker-friendly bars and restaurants, as well as a great range of cheap hostels in the city centre.

Climb to Piazzale Michelangelo

Unless you’ve really struck it lucky, your dorm probably doesn’t have a panoramic view of the city – so come and get one here. This is one of the most famous views in the world, and if the sweeping city panorama below you isn’t enough, there’s also a selection of Michelangelo copies to admire, including a bronze cast of David. There’s a restaurant and café, but they’re inevitably rather pricey. Enjoy the view and grab a coffee elsewhere.

Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze, Italy

District: Oltrarno

Kick back in Cascine Park

Just west of the heart of the city, the Parco delle Cascine stretches out along the north bank of the Arno. Stroll by the river, relax on the lawns with a picnic, play some football or Frisbee – it may not be the most beautifully landscaped spot in the world, but it’s an oasis of green and calm in an often frenetic city, and it’s free.

Address: Parco delle Cascine 50144 Florence, Italy

District: Porta al Prato

Cross the Ponte Vecchio

Take a walk across one of the most remarkable bridges in Europe. Originally built in medieval times, the Ponte Vecchio has a long history as a trading and money-lending street – though the buildings that line it now are mostly souvenir sellers and jewellers, and won’t be of interest to most backpackers. Above it runs the Vasari Corridor, the famous private passage built by the Medici to connect the Vecchio and Pitti palaces.

Address: Ponte Vecchio, Firenze, Italy

District: Oltrarno

Basilicia di Santa Maria del Fiore (aka ‘Duomo’)

Completed way back in 1436, the Duomo’s spectacular exterior is a long way from the austere bare stone we’re used to from cathedrals. It’s a riot of white, green and pink, with marble cladding and paintings above its monumental doors. Its vast dome is an attraction in its own right. Right in the city centre, it’s walking distance from most hostels.


Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze, Italy

District: Duomo

The Uffizi

Another gallery? Well, you’re in Florence – it comes with the territory. And you could empty all the art out of the Uffizi and still have a pretty impressive attraction. Wander its stunningly elegancy corridors ticking off classics like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Titian’s Venus of Urbino.


Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

District: Santa Croce

Giardino Boboli (and Bardini)

At this point, you’ve probably spent quite enough time indoors looking at exhibits. Cross the Arno to this classic formal Tuscan garden, full of water features, Renaissance sculpture and tree-lined walkways. For a more intimate garden with fabulous views over Florence, try the nearby Giardino Boboli – there’s a (fairly pricey) café on its spectacular terrace.


Address: Piazza Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze, Italy

District: Palazzo Pitti

The Accademia

Florence’s world-famous art gallery has Renaissance treasures coming out of its ears, but there’s one thing everyone wants to see: Michelangelo’s David. Rightly so. It’s perfectly proportioned (stop sniggering at the back…) and uncannily lifelike – if ever there was a statue you have to see before you die, this is it.


Address: Via Ricasoli 58-60 (near Piazza San Marco)

District: Santissima Annunziata

Galileo Museum

The Renaissance wasn’t all art and sculpture – explore a scientific revolution at this museum dedicated to the pioneering astronomer and inventor. As well as a collection of globes and telescopes there are films and interactive exhibits.


Address: Piazza dei Giudici, 1, 50122 Firenze, Italy

District: Santa Croce


This once unloved neighbourhood on the south bank of the Arno is enjoying something of a – wait for it – Renaissance. New traffic restrictions and a concerted regeneration effort from the city council have seen its narrow streets and old buildings zhuzhed up with cafes, restaurants and boutique hotels. There are a few good youth hostels in the area too, and the Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens are on the doorstep.

Cafes Bars

San Lorenzo

Absolutely packed with hostels, San Lorenzo is also a top spot for Florentine markets. Within it you’ll find the bustling Mercato Centrale, Florence’s huge indoor food market, which is also ringed by street stalls selling clothing, bags, souvenirs and more. A few blocks south is the San Lorenzo indoor market, famous for art and leather goods as well as food.

Backpacker-friendly Flea Market Central

Santa Croce

The streets of Santa Croce can feel like an authentic bubble on the doorstep of the hectic, touristy centro storico. It may not be quite as pictureseque, but you’ll find some cheap hostels and local restaurants and bars around Via Pietrapiana and Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti – and you’ll pay less than you would a little further west.

Affordable Restaurants Bars

Florentine New Year (March)

Florence’s years used to begin on March 25, coinciding with the Annunciation. Today the official new year is January 1, but this older tradition continues, with street markets and a colourful procession focused around the church on PiazzaSS Annunziata.

Address: Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Firenze, Italy

District: Santissima Annunziata

La Festa delle Rificolone (September)

On September 7, the ‘Festival of the Paper Lanterns’ brings a touch of light and magic to those longer, darker evenings. Locals, tourists and backpackers alike celebrate the eve of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary with a colourful procession from Piazza Santa Croce to Piazza SS Annunziata.

Address: Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Firenze, Italy

District: Santissima Annunziata

Calcio Storico (June)

Four teams from local neighbourhoods don medieval garb for a brutal mix of rugby, football and wrestling in Piazza Santa Croce. It takes place on the feast day of St John the Baptist, which Florence celebrates with street parties, parades and fireworks – all in all, a fantastic time to be in a hostel here.

Address: Piazza Santa Croce, Firenze, Italy

District: Santa Croce

Scoppio del Carro (Easter Sunday)

If your typical Easter Sunday involves packing a centuries-old wagon with fireworks, pulling it through the streets and then igniting it with a dove-shaped rocket fired from a church, you’ll be right at home in Florence. We’re not kidding. This happens. Head to Piazza del Duomo to watch the madness.

Address: Piazza del Duomo, Firenze, Italy

District: Duomo

Musica dei Popoli (October)

This concert season has been welcoming folk and world music stars since 1979 – the menu ranges all across the globe, from Spain to Pakistan to Peru. Shows generally cost €10-15 and take place at the FLOG auditorium.


Address: Via Michele Mercati, 24b, 50139 Firenze, Italy

District: Leopoldo - Rifredi

Tempo Reale Festival (June)

Backpacking is all about breaking boundaries, right? So dive into this programme of bold experimental music put together by the Tempo Reale centre. Expect challenging, mould-breaking stuff, with tickets priced €5-€10 a show.

Address: Various venues

Nextech (September)

If all that history is wearing you down a bit, book a ticket for this three-day feast of digital art and music. Gigs take place at Stazione Leopolda, close to Cascine Park – hostels in San Lorenzo make a good base.


Address: Viale Fratelli Rosselli, 5, 50144 Firenze, Italy

Da Vinattieri

This absurdly no-frills lunch spot is renowned for lampredotto, the tripe sandwich with herb and/or chilli sauce, all wrapped up in traditional Tuscan bread. Delicious street food with a price tag below €5. (Other sandwiches are available if you can’t hack tripe.)


Address: Via Santa Margherita 4r, 50100 Florence, Italy

District: Santa Croce


Don’t overthink it – if you’re looking for cheap, delicious, filling food in Italy, head out of the hostel and grab a pizza. This spot near Ponte Vecchio serves up the real deal, and a classic margherita will only cost you €6.50.


Address: Via San Miniato, 2/1, Firenze FI, Italy

District: San Niccolò

Il Frittino

Fish and chips, but not as you know it. This no-nonsense friggitoria is a great place to fill up on monster portions of frito misto – a.k.a. mixed fried seafood. Delicious fresh-cut chips too.


Address: Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti 43/r, Florence, Italy

District: Santa Croce

Phone: +39 055 050 1843

Kitsch Deux

Technically an aperitivo is a buffet of light snacks laid out to enjoy over a pre-dinner drink; but at some places the buffet can be a full meal. Kitsch is one. Head to it early evening (before 8pm), order a drink and tuck in – the whole caboodle will cost €10. The food isn’t top-quality, but the prices are very backpacker-friendly.


Address: Via S.Gallo 22, Florence, Italy

District: Leon d'Oro

Da Nerbone

Though it isn’t open for dinner, this small spot in Mercato Centrale serves up filling fresh pasta, salads and top-notch panini for outrageous prices – you’re looking at €4-€7 a head.

Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 12-red, 50123 Firenze, Italy

District: Mercato Centrale

Archea Brewery

Archea isn’t crazy cheap, but if you’re missing craft beer it’s the place to come. You’ll find Italian microbrews as well as international fare, and the mixed crowd means it’s backpacker-friendly too.


Address: Via dei Serragli, 44, 50124 Firenze, Italy

District: San Frediano

Phone: 347 711 0239

Le Volpi e L'Uva

If you’re in a hostel in Oltrarno, you’ll be within striking distance of this little enoteca. It has a good selection of Italian wines by the glass, with a focus on small, independent wineries. Decent prices too.


Address: Le Volpi e l'Uva Piazza dei Rossi, 1, 50125 Firenze, Italy

District: Pitti


If you’re looking for serious clubbing, Tenax should do the trick – it’s Florence’s biggest techno and house venue, with international DJs playing to a local crowd.


Address: Via Pratese, 46, Florence 50145

District: Pistoiese


Come summer, this outdoor bar and music venue sets up around the lake in Giardini Fortezza da Basso. Kick back with a drink, tuck into the buffet and enjoy some live tunes in a relaxed atmosphere


Address: Viale Filippo Strozzi, 20, 50129 Firenze, Italy

District: Fortezza da Basso


Arty and relaxed, Volume is typical of the cool bars popping up in Oltrarno’s former workshops. Enjoy some live music over wine, cocktails and snacks, then check out the other funky spots around Piazza di Santo Spirito.


Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 5/R, Firenze, Italy

District: Santo Spirito

Phone: 055 2381 460

Mercato Centrale

The big one – everyone comes here, from elderly locals to backpackers stocking up for a picnic. Mercato Centrale is packed with the very best that Tuscany has to offer, alongside a few great-value little restaurants. A feast for the eyes as well as the belly.

Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale dell'Ariento, Via dell'Ariento, 50123 Firenze, Italy

District: Mercato Centrale

L’Arte dei Ciompi

This charming little stores specialises in handmade stationery, including postcards, pencils and lovely leather-bound notebooks. Perfect for that travel journal you keep saying you’re going to start…


Address: Via Dè Cerretani, 18, 50123 Firenze, Italy

District: Duomo

Phone: 339 891 0460

Mercato delle Pulci

Spend a quiet afternoon browsing stalls piled high with antiques and bric-a-brac on the pretty Piazza dei Ciompi. It runs all day Monday to Saturday, and turns into a sprawling mega-market on the last Sunday of the month.

Address: Piazza dei Ciompi, 50122 Firenze, Italy

District: Santa Croce

Time your museum trips

Florence is all about museums, and on the first Sunday of the month they’re all free. Get up and out of the dorm early, because they inevitably get busy.

Learn to love tripe

The lampredotto is ubiquitous, thoroughly Florentine and very, very cheap. If you don’t get squeamish at the idea of cow stomach – come on, backpackers are supposed to be adventurous! – you can enjoy some great-value lunches on the go.

Free food

Look out for festivals that see grub laid on for the crowds – Festa di San Lorenzo, held in August, sees free lasagne and watermelon handed out on Piazza San Lorenzo. Also, stallholders at Mercato Centrale will usually be prepared to give you a sample… but don’t push your luck!


Florence is served by one international airport, so if you’re flying from outside Italy you’ll arrive at Amerigo Vespucci (you may also see it referred to as Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola). To reach the city centre hostels get the Vola in Bus shuttle to Santa Maria Novella train station. It runs every half-hour during the day and every hour in the evenings. The service stops at 1am. A single costs €6, and the journey takes 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, hop in a taxi – it’s a €20 fixed rate, rising to €23 at night.

By rail

Santa Maria Novella train station (Firenze SMN) is the main rail hub, right in the heart of the city. It has high-speed lines to Bologna, Pisa and Rome, and is also a hub for local buses. If you’re arriving on an international train, you may arrive at Campo di Marte, a little way east of SMN. There are rail and bus connections between the two stations – but trains are usually a better bet, as Florence traffic snarls up easily.

By bus

International Eurolines buses and inter-city SITA services arrive right beside Santa Maria Novella station.

Getting around

You can ride local ATAF buses on 90-minute tickets, which allow unlimited travel on multiple buses within 90 minutes of validation. They’re also available in multi-tickets, allowing you four 90-minute periods. It’s cheaper to buy your ticket in advance – they’re widely available from newsagents, bars and major stations (look for ATAF stickers in windows). Remember to validate your ticket when you board the bus.

Bear in mind that Florence’s roads can get congested during the day, so experienced backpackers tend to walk as much as possible. The city centre is both small and picturesque – walking is usually the most pleasant way to travel, and it is sometimes quicker too.

Voltage: 220 volts. Many modern sockets are for slim three-pin plugs, but the familiar European two-pin style will usually work in them.

Dialing code: +39 for Italy, 55 for Florence.

Currency: Euro

Language: Italian. English is likely to be understood in the main tourist areas.

Tourist information

Main office: APT Firenze, Provincia di Firenze, Via Cavour 1r, Florence, Tel 055 290832

Airport branch: Terminal 1, Aeroporto "A. Vespucci", Florence, 055 315874

Post office:

Via Pellicceria 3 (Piazza della Repubblica), Florence


Hospital S. Maria Nuova

Piazza S. Maria Nuova 1, Florence, Tel 055 27581

Policlinico di Careggi

Viale Morgagni 85, Florence, Tel 055 4277111

Emergency numbers

  • Police: 113
  • Fire: 115
  • Medical emergencies: 118

Opening hours: Smaller shops and those away from tourist areas will usually shut for lunch – 9.30 to 13.00 then 15.00 to 19.00 is a rough guide. Bars can stay open as late as 03.00.