Florence’s Centro Storico, or historic center, is a masterpiece of history and culture, with enough historic sites and museums to occupy the most ambitious art and history lovers for days or even weeks.
The Centro Storico is marked by several open-air galleries (called loggia). To the north, Loggia dell’Ospedale San Matteo has a 14th-century portico and is next-door to the Accademia Galleria, where Michelangelo's David lives, and the Hospital of Innocents.
Farther south and closer to the river are Loggia dei Lanzi and Loggia del Mercato Nuovo. These run into Piazza della Signoria, a broad open space where the Republic of Florence was founded in the 12th century. Dante’s House, the National Museum of the Bargello and Uffizi museum attract tourists to this area, and many of the hotels in Centro Storico are here on the north bank of the Arno River.
Loggia del Pesce is set back from the main attractions district. It lies within a short walk of Casa Buonarroti museum, with sculptures of Michelangelo on display. Farther east is the Market of San Lorenzo, a noisy and colorful place to pick up souvenirs, produce and clothing. South of this area is Loggia del Grano, accompanied by the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Calcio Storico, an historic arena where an early form of football was played.
Accommodation in Centro Storico is widely available, with many of the inns housed in historic buildings. Rooms with a view overlook the Ponte Vechhio spanning the river. In the area, equally spectacular views can be had over Pitti Palace and Strozzi Palace. And since the early 2000s when Italy adopted the euro, hoteliers in Florence have been able to reinvest in these properties, resulting much more comprehensive amenities than existed even 10 years ago in the Florence hotels scene.