An intimate, ancient Florentine palazzo
2 Rooms / 6 Suites
If Renaissance glory is what you are after, Palazzo Guicciardini is as good as it gets. The ancient palazzo was once home to the powerful Guicciardini family (made up of politicians and historians) and across the street from a residence where Machiavelli once lived. Everywhere in this area of the city, lovingly referred to as the Oltrarno (or “other side”) is steeped in history. Location wise, it is one of the best spots for immersing oneself in local culture. In fact, the people who stay here, primarily English speakers or Northern Europeans, are looking for a bit more of an intimate experience close to local artisans rather than stay too close to the swarms of tourists near the Duomo. Luckily, major sites like the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio, Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Vecchio are still an easy walk away.
The 15th-century palazzo also gives you that local culture, of course with a luxurious spin. Step onto the plush blue carpeting in the lobby area, with beautifully painted wood ceilings and historical prints of Florence donning the walls, and the library, where you can sit in the plush, cozy green couches and flip through magazines and books about the city. Here you can peruse made-in-Italy goods of the leather and perfume varieties that the hotel also gifts to returning guests, like Ortigia toiletries from Sicily. It’s a nod to the hotel’s surrounding area, which is known as a base for local artisans and designers like leather handbag maker Patricia Al'Kary, which is only steps away.
This Florence hotel, or residenza, is home to only eight rooms, all with high ceilings and impressive interiors. The design and feel of the rooms are the boutique hotel’s biggest appeal, as they give you the sense of being “home” in a historical Florentine palazzo. A particular standout is the stunning old-world frescoes, which are protected by the local historical association. Completed by Poccetti, the striking pastel frescoes often cover the entire ceiling or walls in the rooms. The spaces have different touches, but all reflect a very classic, Florentine blue and white scheme, with heavy curtains, wood furniture, detailed wood paneling and original flooring — one room even holds an ancient wood-burning stove (now used as decoration). Of course, the accommodations have had a technological facelift, with conveniences like touch-screen switches near the beds. There are options for combining rooms to make your own “apartment-like” ambiance.
The luxury continues in the bathrooms, which feature Carrara marble. One river-facing room offers a beautiful freestanding porcelain claw-foot tub.
There is no formal restaurant on site, but there is charming bar area that doubles as the breakfast room. Breakfast comes complimentary with your stay in the luxury hotel. The continental-style spread includes fresh pastries, cured meats and cheeses, fruit, freshly squeezed juices and made-to-order coffee.
You also can get light snacks like pizza here, or linger over a glass of Frescobaldi red wine or whiskey while gazing at an original beautiful Greek zodiac fresco above.
There are plenty of delicious dining options right outside — Il Santo Bevitore (it’s known for food-and-wine pairings, like tartare di Fassone or wild bear crostini with a glass of strong chianti classico) and next-door Il Santino (the beef marinated in smoked ponzu, and the guinea fowl stuffed with pecorino and cured egg yolk) are some of our go-to spots.
Due to Palazzo Guicciardini’s small size, there is no gym or spa on the property. But you can visit the nearby Lungarno Fitness Studio, a small gym that caters to those who want to work with personal trainers. Lungarno also offers a wellness area with a Turkish bath, a sauna and an aromatherapy shower; book treatments with the help of the hotel’s helpful staff.
The staff members are eager to assist those who need help planning their trips, even if it’s just to make dinner reservations or arrange for a personal shuttle to the airport. They strive to make your stay memorable, whether that’s arranging for a specific bottle of franciacorta (Itay’s answer to champagne) to be waiting in the room for a couple celebrating a 20th anniversary or coming to the rescue of guests with a botched last-minute tour cancellation by suggesting an alternative tour of the many of the local artisans in the hidden-gem neighborhood.