Welcome to Tuscany’s most beautiful, most romantic and most exciting city. The capital of the Renaissance, Florence spans the River Arno, in central Italy. Its palaces, riverbanks and back-streets have starred in hundreds of movies and decorate thousands of paintings.
Florence’s compact, walkable centre is hemmed in north and south by rolling hills of grape vines and olive groves. So, you can stay with peace, quiet and a private swimming pool just a few minutes from the centre.
At Tuscany Now & More we take pride in our service. We have 30 years’ experience matching every guest to the right villa. Someone from our small team visits or stays in every Florence villa we list and knows the area. This is why we keep our portfolio small — and probably why the world’s leading luxury travel magazine says we’re Tuscany’s best villa company.
Every Tuscany Now & More villa has a private swimming pool, free use of our concierge service, for pre-trip arrangements and an emergency number available 24/7 while you are in-destination. Your concierge can arrange a private chef, daily maid service, or shopping delivered to your villa, and memorable experiences like Tuscan cookery classes in your holiday rental’s kitchen.
To see what real travellers think of our service, and the experience of staying in a Tuscany Now & More luxury villa, read our verified reviews.
Florence was (and remains) the capital of the Renaissance. For two centuries, the arts thrived like never before. Under the patronage of the powerful Medici family, in the 1400s and 1500s, this was the centre of the Western world. The legacy of this period is unrivalled anywhere on the planet and is preserved on the walls of the Uffizi Gallery, in the corridors of the Palazzo Vecchio, on the massive dome crowning the cathedral, and in churches like Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.
Work left by Florence’s painters, sculptors and architects still draw millions every year. The Uffizi houses the world’s best collection of Renaissance painting: Giotto, Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and many, many others are all here. Michelangelo’s David — aka “Il Gigante” —originally stood almost right outside until 1872, when the statue was moved to a room at the Accademia designed to show him off. Cross the famous Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) and there are still more masterpieces on the walls of the Pitti Palace.
Away from all that art, living here is good, too. The Chianti hills are on the doorstep; a steady stream of fine wine still flows through the city gates. Chianti’s first-rate wineries and spectacular landscapes are within easy range of our vacation rentals and luxury villas near Florence.
Florence was also Italy’s first fashion capital. It is still home to design icons like Gucci and Ferragamo. Luxury shopping and street markets here are among the best in Italy.
This is a knockout destination for art lovers.
The monuments of Piazza del Duomo are icons of Italy. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore was begun by Gothic architect Arnolfo di Cambio, and always intended to have a domed roof. Trouble was, neither the Florentines, nor anyone else, had any idea how to make such a big one across. Then Filippo Brunelleschi came along in the 1440s with a solution. His revolutionary double-skinned dome (the cupola) is the crowning achievement of Renaissance architecture. You can climb to the top for the best views over the city. (Though this is definitely not for claustrophobes or anyone with a fear of heights!)
The octagonal Baptistery beside it has more ancient roots. No one is sure exactly when it was built, but definitely before the 8th century. Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise — its bronze east doors, facing the cathedral — show scenes from the Old Testament. They took a couple of decades to make, unveiled in 1452. Restored originals are exhibited at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
Across town, the nave at Santa Croce is lined with monumental tombs of famous Florentines, including Michelangelo (he died in Rome but his body was smuggled back home); Macchiavelli; and Dante (actually a memorial, because he died in exile, in Ravenna). Two chapels inside were frescoed by Giotto di Bondone, sometimes called the Father of the Renaissance. You might even recognize his Peruzzi Chapel from “A Room with a View”.
You will find one of Italy’s grandest gardens within Florence’s city limits. Behind the Palazzo Pitti, the Giardino di Boboli is laid out in formal Renaissance style, with ordered walkways, secret views of the palace and skyline, and hidden corners like the Isolotto (complete with dancing fountains).
This garden was the backdrop for the first opera ever composed: Jacopo Pieri set “Euridice” to music for the 1600 marriage of Maria de' Medici and Henri IV of France.
Florentine flavours are bold, seasonal and straightforward, and the city’s trademark cooking style is typically no-nonsense. Flame-grilled beef from the Chianina breed of cattle makes an authentic bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine beef steak). Plus, alongside traditional spezzatino (veal stew), roast meats, and trippa alla fiorentina (tripe cooked with tomatoes), a new generation of chefs offer a lighter interpretation of Florentine cooking using bountiful produce from the Tuscan countryside, right on the doorstep. Truffles are abundant, in season, if you fancy a treat. Many of our villas near Florence offer truffle hunting trips.
Florence fights it out with Sicily for the claim to have invented gelato, an ice-cream-like dessert made with fresh milk. The city’s gelato parlours are some of the best in Italy. Nearby Prato is home to biscotti di Prato — “Pratese biscuits”, made from almond flour, more commonly called cantuccini. Wrapped in their royal blue packaging, they make a great gift to take home.
Just south of Florence are a few of the world’s great red wine regions. Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Chianti Classico are produced within growing zones where the quality of Tuscany’s native Sangiovese grape is strictly controlled.
Florence is the most cosmopolitan city in central Italy. If you want craft beer (it’s thriving in Tuscany) or a well-mixed cocktail, you’ll find it here. A heady combo of Campari, gin, sweet red vermouth, the Negroni was invented in Florence, in 1919, for a thirsty Italian count.
After Milan, Florence is Italy’s best shopping city. The main haute couture drag is Via de’ Tornabuoni. Along here, and in side-streets like Via della Vigna Nuova, you’ll find major names in Florentine fashion, as well as Milanese and world designer labels like Prada and Armani. Florence also has the flagship store for internet fashion sensation Luisa Via Roma.
The Mall and other outlets near Florence sell end-of-line items from top-end Italian couture brands at discounted prices, including by the famous “Florentine Four” fashion designers: Gucci, Pucci, Cavalli and Ferragamo. Borgo degli Albizi, and the eastern part of the centre more generally, has a young feel to its fashions and vintage stores.
There has been a “pharmacy” on the site of the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella since it was founded by Dominican friars in the 1600s. The present apothecary shop sells top-end fragrances and skincare for everyone (even your family pet).
Leather manufacture is a Florentine tradition. Although lots sold in city shops and markets is imported, the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School) trains the next generation of artisans and sells only their students’ hand-made wares. Turn up during school hours (weekdays only) and you can watch trainee artisans at work. Our guide to buying leather in Florence will help you find the best in the city.
Florence also has many street markets. Much-photographed Mercato di San Lorenzo is stuffed with souvenirs; the Mercato Centrale is Florence’s covered food market, selling everything from salami and cheeses to Chianti wine. The upper floor is Italian street food heaven.
Every traveller is different, so there is no such thing as the “best” villa near Florence; only the best Florence holiday rental for you. When you contact Tuscany Now & More, you will talk to someone who has stayed at the villas which interest you. It’s our golden rule — and why we stick to a focused, specialist portfolio of around 139 handpicked villas.
For a first-time visitor to Tuscany, Florence has the largest concentration of sights, things to see and do, and places to shop. It is the regional capital. Florence has the Uffizi Gallery; Michelangelo’s “David”; Medici villas, palaces and tombs; Renaissance gardens; countless painted chapels and much more.
Several fun daytrips are right on your doorstep when you stay in a Florence villa rental, too. The Chianti, hills to the south and within easy reach of the city, is one of the most famous wine zones in the world. If you have an idea of “classic Tuscan scenery” in your mind, you will find it in around here. (And as an alternative to a villa near Florence, you should also consider renting a Chianti villa; then browse our Chianti villas.)
The sights of nearby Siena include the Campo, Palazzo Pubblico and Duomo, each of them unchanged since medieval times. Another location for culture vultures renting a villa in Tuscany is Lucca, birthplace of the composer Puccini, with a museum and summer opera festival dedicated to him.
Spring temperatures are pleasant over most of the Tuscany region, including Florence. You should expect an average daytime high of 23℃ (73℉) and lows of 11℃ (51℉) overnight. Easter weekend is busy in Florence for the Easter Day tradition, the Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart). This festival stars 150 white oxen, an antique cart filled with fireworks, and a very big bang.
Summer in Florence is high season. The daytime temperature rises to an average high of 30℃ (86℉), with 17℃ (62℉) overnight typical. This is the ideal season for relaxing by your private pool, especially during the heat of the day. Cultural festivals happen outdoors close to Florence, from the Palio di Siena horserace to the open-air Puccini Festival, with live opera beside the composer’s lakeside home near Lucca. Both places are around 90 minutes’ drive from your Florence villa.
Despite cooler temperatures, autumn and winter in Florence are still lots of fun. The sun shines on most days, with an average daytime high of 13℃ (55℉) and overnight lows of 4℃ (39℉). Low season means you can enjoy the city at your own pace. You can easily find a table at city restaurants like La Bottega del Buon Caffè or at the Osteria di Passignano in the Chianti hills.
For much more month-by-month detail, read our guide to when to visit Florence.
If you are interested in learning more about what makes us different, you can read the Tuscany Now & More story.
Everyone renting a villa near Florence with Tuscany Now & More gets free use of our renowned concierge service. If you want shopping stocked in your fridge on arrival, or a private chef to cook everyone dinner for a special occasion, just ask. Making your holiday lettings extra-special is all part of our service. While in Italy, our 24-hour ground staff are available by phone or WhatsApp.
Checking in & out
You should check in at your Florence holiday rental between 4pm and 7pm. We can accommodate different arrival times — just communicate this in advance to our office staff. Upon arrival, the villa owner or caretaker will inspect the property with you and demonstrate appliances, equipment and utilities.
Check-out is 10am on the last day of your holiday rental. The villa owner or caretaker will arrive at 9am to settle any outstanding payments. If you want to depart earlier, you can let us know in advance.
Both the luxury villa and your private swimming pool will be cleaned prior to your arrival. Some holiday villas have additional cleaning and pool/garden maintenance scheduled during the week. Maid service included with the vacation rentals involves cleaning and tidying, but does not cover making beds, kitchen cleaning, laundry or ironing. Extra services can be organised via our dedicated travel concierge team.
Bed linen & towels
Our Florence holiday rentals include bed linens, bathroom and swimming pool towels for all guests. These are provided weekly. Extra services and changes can be organised via our concierges.