The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)

$

Istituto Gould
Beds in single, double, triple, and family rooms, with and without private bathrooms; street-facing rooms can be noisy; housed in 17th-century palazzo just south of Cappella Brancacci; institutional, but well run. Via dei Serragli 49; tel. 39 055 212 576. www.istitutogould.it/foresteria

Ostello Archi Rossi
Popular hostel five minutes’ walk from the railroad station; some private rooms, otherwise dorm rooms of between three and nine beds; pleasant garden and terrace; evening meals available. Via Faenza 94R; tel. 39 055 290 804. www.hostelarchirossi.com

$$

Hotel Alessandra
“A traditional favorite of the fashion show devotees in September, who love its discreet charm, fair prices, and nicely understated air.”—Jonathan Buckley, co-author, The Rough Guide to Florence & Siena. Part of a 16th-century palazzo near the Ponte Vecchio; 27 two-star rooms. Borgo Santi Apostoli 17; tel. 39 055 283 438. www.hotelalessandra.com

Bellettini
“A great location for sightseeing near the San Lorenzo church and Cappelle Medicee—plus air-conditioning in all rooms, which is a bonus at this price.” Sally Roy, author, AAA Italy Travelbook. Twenty-eight rooms, a handful with shared bathrooms available at a lower rate; breakfast included. Via dei Conti 7; tel. 39 055 213 561. www.hotelbellettini.com

Hotel Bretagna
“Ask for a room with a river view.”—Jonathan Buckley. The riverfront location west of Santa Trinità bridge is not as central as some; older one-star rooms are less expensive and have choice of shared or private bathrooms. Newly renovated wing is Residenza d’Epoca Bretagna. Lungarno Corsini 6; tel. 39 055 289 618. www.hotelbretagna.net

Hotel Casci
“There can be few more charming—or helpful—hotel proprietors in Florence than the Casci’s Lombardi family.”—Leonie Glass, editor, Charming Small Hotel Guides: Italy. Excellent location a minute from the Duomo; frescoed main salon is a memorable setting for breakfast; 24 rooms. Via Cavour 13; tel. 39 055 211 686. www.hotelcasci.com

Hotel La Scaletta
“Three of the 13 rooms [20, 21, and 22] in this two-star hotel let you look over the Boboli Gardens—they’re the ones you want.”—Sally Roy. In the quieter Oltrarno district; all rooms have air-conditioning; spacious roof terrace for drinks in summer. Via de’ Guicciardini 13; tel. 39 055 283 028. www.lascaletta.it

$$$

Porta Rossa
“Great character and period charm: If possible, try to book one of the tower rooms.”—Mark Ellingham, founder, Rough Guide publishing. An inn since the 14th century, with many illustrious past guests, including the writers Byron and Stendhal; 78 rooms in a central but quiet location at the western edge of the historic center. Via Porta Rossa 19; www.hotelportarossa.com

Hermitage Hotel
Superb location virtually on top of the Ponte Vecchio; popular, so book well ahead to secure one of the 28 rooms; beware the relatively small bathrooms and street noise in front rooms, despite double-glazing; roof terrace. Vicolo Marzio 1-Piazza del Pesce; tel. 39 055 287 216. www.hermitagehotel.com

Palazzo Magnani Feroni
South of the Arno in Central Florence; intimate 16th-century palazzo with central courtyard; intimate; 12 suites. Choose the quieter courtyard-facing “Giuseppe” and “Beatrice” Deluxe Feroni Suites; roof terrace offers a 360-degree view of the city. Borgo San Frediano 5; tel. 39 055 239 9544. www.florencepalace.it

Palazzo Niccolini
“This little-known, privately owned palace on the edge of the cathedral square is one of Florence’s most evocative places to stay; feels as you’re staying at the rather grand home of a friend.”—Fiona Duncan, founder, www.thehotelguru.com, independent hotel-review site. Seven rooms and three lavish suites—Junior Suite preserves some fine original frescoes. Via dei Servi 2; tel. 39 055 282 412. www.niccolinidomepalace.com

Hotel Torre Guelfa
“Not may cities can offer a hotel that occupies part of a redoubtable medieval tower. The roof garden is a summer delight.”—Leonie Glass. Thirty stylish, airy rooms; good location close to Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Borgo SS. Apostoli 8; tel. 39 055 239 6338. www.hoteltorreguelfa.com

$$$$

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol
“If you want an Old World, traditional Italian five-star hotel, this is the best in the city.”—Jonathan Buckley. Founded in 1894; Stravinsky stayed here; modern facilities complement antiques, tapestries, and 16th-century Florentine paintings. Via dei Pescioni 2; tel. 39 055 26 651. www.royaldemeure.com

Relais Santa Croce
Elegant and exclusive 24-room hotel; housed in same 18th-century palace as the Enoteca Pinchiorri restaurant; frescoed salons and sumptuous rooms in period style. Via Ghibellina 87; tel. 39 055 234 2230. www.relaisantacroce.com

J.K. Place
Stylish town house boutique hotel with 20 rooms and suites; Master Rooms 1, 6, and 12 all have views of the piazza. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7; tel. 39 055 264 5181. www.jkplace.com

Villa San Michele
“Aim for rooms in the main building and dine on the outdoor terrace even if you’re not staying here.”—Fiona Duncan. Former monastery in the hills above the city, partly designed by Michelangelo; beautiful rooms in understated Tuscan style, sublime gardens, and pretty outdoor pool; regular free shuttle to city center. Via Doccia 4, Fiesole; tel. 39 055 567 8200. www.villasanmichele.com

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