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What are the best Florence neighbourhoods for international residents?

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
What are the best Florence neighbourhoods for international residents?
Florence is the third-most popular Italian destination for native English speakers after Rome and Milan. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Whether you're moving to Florence for the first time or are looking for a new place in the city, here are the five best 'quartieri' to call home.


Given the city’s famous architecture, cuisine and rich cultural scene, it’s no wonder that Florence is one of the most popular Italian cities among foreigners. 

As many as 133,400 foreign nationals live in Tuscany’s capital, making up around 31 percent of the total local population. 

Florence is the third-most popular destination for native English speakers after Rome and Milan, with plenty of US and UK nationals living by the Arno.


But like most other major cities in Italy, Florence is a very diverse place and some of its neighbourhoods may be more suited to foreign nationals than others.

READ ALSO: Ten things to expect when you move to Tuscany

So, in no particular order, here are the city’s top five quartieri for foreign residents to consider.

Campo di Marte

Located about two miles east of the city centre, the Campo di Marte neighbourhood is one of Florence’s most tranquil residential areas. 

Granted, the quartiere might lack the appeal of the city centre's Renaissance architecture, but Campo di Marte’s liberty-style buildings are still very, very far from your ordinary suburban condos. 

The area also offers plenty of sport and entertainment options as it is home to both the Artemio Franchi stadium, where the local Fiorentina football team plays, and the Nelson Mandela Forum, which regularly hosts some of Italy’s biggest music events. 

Florence's Artemio Franchi stadium

The Artemio Franchi stadium is one of many local attractions in the Campo di Marte area. The Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

The neighbourhood is also suited to those who love being surrounded by nature as it is dotted by a number of parks and green areas, including the Niccolò Galli Garden and the Villa Il Ventaglio Park. 

Finally, housing in Campo di Marte is generally far more affordable than it is in areas closer to the city centre, with the average asking price standing at 4,115 euros per square metre.

San Marco

San Marco is a residential neighbourhood sitting just north of Florence’s city centre. 

Unlike Campo di Marte, its architecture is fully in line with that of the city’s centro storico and, as such, is graced by a number of gorgeous Renaissance buildings. 


The iconic Basilica di San Marco and the square stretching out in front of it are the beating heart of the area as they are residents’ favourite gathering place. 

That said, the beauty of the above church and of many other local landmarks also means that a good number of tourists populate the quartiere during the day. 

READ ALSO: Thirteen dialect words you need to know in Florence

This can sometimes result in crowded streets and chaotic road traffic, which can make it hard for residents to move around. 

At any rate, many foreign nationals choose to reside in the San Marco neighbourhood because housing is comparatively accessible for both renters and buyers and a sizeable community of expats, especially foreign students studying at the local University of Florence, already lives in the area.  

San Frediano

San Frediano is a very small neighbourhood located in the so-called ‘Diladdarno’, that is the southern bank of river Arno, which runs right through Florence. 


With its narrow streets and hidden squares, San Frediano is one of the city’s most picturesque areas. 

River Arno in Florence

San Frediano is a picturesque neighbourhood located on the southern bank of river Arno. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

The quartiere is dotted by historic artisan workshops and old-school trattorias and cafès, which are guaranteed to remind residents of times long gone. 

Though it has no shortage of architectural and artistic wonders, San Frediano doesn’t generally figure in the plans of most international visitors, which makes it a very quiet and liveable area. 

While local property prices have increased over the past few years, housing is still more affordable than in most nearby areas, with the average asking price hovering around 3,500 euros per square metre. 

Santo Spirito

Located just east of San Frediano, Santo Spirito is by far the chicest area south of the Arno. 

The neighbourhood, which radiates out of the iconic Santo Spirito Square, has a peculiar bohemian feel to it, with very characteristic family-run shops and flea markets lining its streets. 


Santo Spirito is also the right fit for those looking to regularly indulge in some fine dining as it is home to some very classy eateries and bars. 

And, if you do end up overeating, you can alway burn off some calories by taking a walk in the nearby Boboli Gardens, one of Italy’s most beautiful public parks.

Boboli Gardens in Florence

The Boboli Gardens, which border the popular Santo Spirito neighbourhood, are one of Florence's many gems. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Finally, the area is very popular among foreign nationals but local property prices aren’t exactly for everyone as the asking price is around 4,900 euros per square metre on average but it can be as high as 9,600 euros on some streets.

Santa Croce

Located just east of the city centre, on the northern bank of the Arno, this neighbourhood gets its name from the gorgeous Basilica di Santa Croce. 

But the Basilica isn’t the only local attraction, not by a long shot. A wealth of museums and galleries are located in the area, making Santa Croce one of the best neighbourhoods for art-loving international residents. 

The Santa Croce quartiere may also be appealing to people with interests other than art as it offers a good number of entertainment options, including calcio storico (historic football) matches over the summer.


Santa Croce is also home to the popular Sant’Ambrogio Market, which is ideal for those keen on fresh, locally-sourced groceries. 

As in the case of Santo Spirito, property prices are fairly high, though some more affordable housing remains available in some parts of the neighbourhood.


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