Cool neighborhoods where to stay in Florence: Sant’Ambrogio
Visiting Florence is certainly beautiful, but you have to deal with many and continuous solicitations: everywhere you look, there is something to notice and admire or even – if you want – to deepen! So it becomes important to choose an area where to stay in Florence that allows you to immediately immerse yourself in the heart of the city: Ambassador’s word!
And that’s what I do when I go on a trip to a place I don’t know, certainly not if I’m going for two days in a small village, but if the destination is a city or a nourishing itinerary then yes, I try to have my must sees come first. Then yes, of course, the unexpected and changes in plans are also the salt of the journey, but the entire trip can not be left to chance!
Neighborhoods where to stay in Florence center
- Santa Maria Novella to the northwest, named after the Basilica;
- San Giovanni to the northeast, named after the Baptistery;
- Santa Croce to the southeast, named after the Basilica;
- Santo Spirito to the southwest in Oltrarno, i.e. on the other side of the river, named after the Basilica.
Consider that each district of Florence is in turn divided into four zones, each with its own banner. The four large districts compete in the Florentine historical soccer, also called “calcio in costume“, an incredible spectacle, at the limit of legal brawling, which takes the lines of an ancient game that in Latin was called harpastum.
Each of these neighborhoods offers numerous B&Bs and vacation rentals, but only on Fairbnb.coop can you find the most sustainable ones for the city, because they are regularly registered and linked to important solidarity projects in favor of the local community.
If you plan to travel this winter season make sure that you #travelwithyourvalues! If you book your vacation rentals in Florence on Fairbnb.coop, we donate half of our platform fee to the local projects Pane Quotidiano, which distributes food and other aid to the needy, or Casa Amica, an independent housing project for people with disabilities: you choose which one we will support.
In this article, I would like to focus on the area of Sant’Ambrogio, included in the Santa Croce district. It is in fact an area of the city that I love very much and in which I live today.
Sant’Ambrogio is still very genuine even if very central, perhaps the last remaining among the most central to be still inhabited and frequented by many Florentines.
It is perhaps for this reason that it can be chosen as the area where to sleep in Florence if you want to have the main attractions at hand but you really want to experience the city as a local would.
Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Florence, known for being the site of the ancient Ghetto of the city, the part of the city where the Jewish community lived, which is one of the largest in Italy. Even today this area is home to excellent Jewish restaurants and interesting museums, but it also hosts one of the most important markets in the city.
Genuine Tuscan food at the Market
Located in Piazza Ghiberti, just a 10-minute walk from Piazza del Duomo, Sant’Ambrogio Market is a favorite among Florentines. It’s not as famous as the Central Market, which is located in the San Lorenzo district, but I prefer it: Sant’Ambrogio is more relaxed and quiet and you won’t find too many tourists or crowds. It offers a wide selection of stands with vendors selling fruit, vegetables, sweets, but also meat, fish and cheese, and flowers; it is open from Monday to Saturday, from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm.
In the market square, I suggest you a delicious stop at Semel, here only fresh and seasonal ingredients, high quality and low price! The formula is a sandwich and a glass of wine for 5 euros, bold combinations such as wild boar and polenta or anchovy and orange puntarelle just to name two…
One of the oldest and largest synagogues in Italy
Florence, as mentioned above, is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in Italy. The Tempio Maggiore of Florence is one of the largest synagogues in central-southern Europe and one of the most beautiful; the central dome is one of the most photographed monuments of the city. You can admire it from the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, but it is also worth visiting the temple inside to see its beautiful architecture and Moorish style. You can visit it every day of the week, except Saturdays (better to book). If you have extra time, you can also visit the museum located on the second floor.
Eat the best Kosher cuisine in Florence at Ruth’s
If the ancient history of the Jewish community of Florence has fascinated you and you want to stay a little more immersed in tradition, there is Ruth’s, the best Jewish restaurant in town, located a few steps from the temple. Here you can taste authentic kosher delicacies, such as hummus, pita, artichokes “alla giudia”, couscous and many vegetarian options.
The Literary Café
For an aperitif or an after dinner drink, to rest a bit after a long walk, to have breakfast calmly and without the noise of traffic while reading the newspaper or working on the computer, go to the literary café Le Murate, a really nice place, a multipurpose space obtained from a former prison, now a meeting point where you can also attend exhibitions, readings, debates, concerts and various performances.
On the last Sunday of the month there is another place to visit in Sant’Ambrogio: the Flea market that only on that day takes the place of the daily food market. Here you will find everything more, including antique furniture, design objects, clothes, vintage accessories, paintings, handmade objects, prints, jewelry, antique books, and many other interesting things. Certainly a great opportunity to find a thought for someone to take a little gift from Florence to!
Brunch and more
Finally, a venue in the former Monastery of Sant’Ambrogio! After 35 years and thanks to massive recovery and renovation works, the medieval complex of Via Carducci is back in operation in all its beauty with an ambitious and multi-faceted project: the birth of the first School of Coffee, an international Academy, the first permanent training center in Europe, hosted in a place open to the public! An extremely pleasant place to spend some time, it offers a complete service of breakfast, brunch and aperitif, every day from 10 am to midnight.
Where to stay in Florence in Sant’Ambrogio
Do you like the idea of making Sant’Ambrogio your base in the Tuscan capital? Know that you’ll receive many tips on what to do in Florence during your stay, where to do your shopping, and enjoy the delicacies of the cuisine of Florence also from your hosts, who are usually locals!
Downtown Florence, for example, is the apartment in Sant’Ambrogio that I manage with my partner: we will be happy to meet you and open the doors of our neighborhood. The apartment, spacious and comfortable, is on two levels on the third floor (no elevator) of a historic building. The furnishings include both antique family furniture and modern and functional elements: nothing will be missing from your stay.
Other great places to stay in Florence are Domus Fernanda, managed by Federico on the second floor (with elevator) of a building built in the thirteenth century, and Roof Terrace, where Laura awaits you, together with, as the name suggests, a panoramic terrace overlooking Florence Cathedral. If you are visiting Florence with your family or with a large group, I suggest you the vacation apartments managed by Niccolò together with Paolo and Lorenzo: A Casa Signoria and Agnolo Garden, which can accommodate up to 7 or 6 people respectively.
Whichever vacation rentals in Florence best meet your tastes and needs, choosing Sant’Ambrogio will give you a holiday full of authenticity and with the main monuments and things to see in Florence – Piazza Signoria, the Duomo, the Basilica of Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery – all just a few minutes walk away.
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