It is easy to walk past the gates to Hotel Torre Guelfa.
It is on a side street that features no attractions and from the ground level it does not stand out from its neighboring buildings.
In fact, when we first arrived in Florence we got walked trying to find the hotel from the train station, because we were convinced that we were in an alleyway and not a street.
However, it is the top floor of this palace, which was originally built in 1280, that makes it stand out compared to other hotels in Florence. The tower of the hotel is one of the tallest and historic in the city and was built by the Buondelmonti family in 1280.
The hotel was later restored in the 20th century, but maintains its traditional feeling and furnishings.
It takes 72 steps up a spiral staircase to get to the top of the tower, but it is worth the hike for the unobstructed 360 degree views of the city.
The best part are the terraces and wine bar that awaits you at the top. If you time it correctly, there is no better way see a sunset in Tuscany. However, I will warn you to get there early as the terraces will fill up with hotel guests hoping to take in the view. Also, keep in mind that this is a cash-only bar and you can’t charge back to your room. It was a unfortunate 144 stairs back to our room, so that we could settle our tab.
It is also the best place to map out your next day’s itinerary. The hotel is easy walking distance to:
- the Galleria degli Uffizi,
- the Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) with the Campanile,
- the Palazzo Vecchio,
- the Ponte Vecchio bridge,
- the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Piazzale Michelangelo, and
- the Academia Gallery.
Although I would recommend bringing a map, because it seems a lot easier to walk from the Duomo to the the Palazzo Veechio when you are looking down at the roads from above and have enjoyed a few glasses of wine.