If you’re a fan of Florence’s world-famous Santa Maria Cathedral – otherwise referred to as The Duomo – than do we have the hotel for you. Literally across the street from the architectural marvel is Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo, a small 13-room hotel carved out of a 14th Century building. The classically Florentine-styled spot has a high attention to detail when it comes to personalized service and a location that is beyond belief when it comes to views of the church just outside.
If you’re a budding artist, it’s hard not to get inspired when you learn that the famous Renaissance sculptor Donatello had a workshop in the building.
Throughout the hotel, you’ll find original frescoes, terra cotta or hardwood floors, vintage Florentine style, and antique furnishings. All rooms come with flat screen TVs and have turn down service.
A rare, and pretty sweet, amenity, the hotel offers guests portable batteries for their wireless devices.
Shower/bathtub combinations are typical in standard rooms, while bigger suites separate the two. Guests will also find towel heaters and bidets. The top floor suite of the hotel not only has the best views of The Duomo, but a giant Jacuzzi to soothe your muscles after climbing to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome.
The lobby is decked out with original cotta Toscana floors and also serves as a sitting room and the breakfast area. Red and white couches along with lounge chairs are strewn throughout. Guests can enjoy coffee, tea, and pastries all day.
If you book more than three months in advance, the hotel offers a 25% discount.
Breakfast is complimentary and buffet style. On the ground floor is a restaurant owned by the hotel called Le Bottega Di Donatello which serves savory pizzas and pastas.
Walking through Florence is a breeze since the city is so small. Being next to The Duomo, the hotel is in a central part of the city that features many museums, shops, restaurants, and bars. We wouldn’t recommend renting a car here as the city center rules are fairly egregious.
Michelin-rated La Giostra (4-minute walk) is the ideal spot for classic Florentine fare. For a unique dining experience inside a 6th Century tower, head over to Santa Elisabetta (3-minute walk) inside the Hotel Brunelleschi for a romantic and intimate dinner.
A local favorite, La Ménagère (8-minute walk) is a classic indoor/outdoor joint with a solid food & drink selection and occasional live music. It may seem a little kitschy, but Hard Rock Café Florence (4-minute walk) has a sweet happy hour that lasts two and a half hours with half-priced drinks and appetizers.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The hotel is literally next door to The Duomo and provides guests with one-of-a-kind vistas that no other hotel can match. In addition, the central location offers guests an opportunity to get to many other attractions by foot with ease. The hotel is small, and with that you sacrifice things like a spa or gym, but this spot is for art-lovers who want to soak in the history of the Renaissance and get inspired by the former presence of Donatello and Brunelleschi’s architectural masterpiece right outside the front door.