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The area that surrounds Florence's magnificent Duomo is unsurprisingly the busiest in the city, but to stay here undoubtedly makes for an unforgettable experience. Besides, you don't choose to stay right in the middle of Florence because you want to enjoy some peace and quiet. You choose to stay in the middle of Florence and close to the Duomo because you want to wake up within a stone's throw of one of the world's most impressive and justifiably famous cathedrals. Filippo Brunelleschi's enormous dome dominates the city's skyline, and, along with the cathedral's multicolored facade, is just as impressive up close.

The area to the south of the Duomo is a combination of winding alleyways and streets, interspersed with the odd jewelry shop, small art gallery, and pretty square. Piazza Della Repubblica, once the site of the city's forum during Roman times, is the most well-known of these, popular with locals and visitors alike for its literary cafes, street artists, and a nostalgia-inducing carousel. In addition to there being plenty of hotels to choose from in and around the Duomo, another benefit to staying here is that the rest of the city's neighborhoods are only ever a short stroll away. You're in the middle of everything, and Florence is a compact city: walk for 10 minutes in pretty much any direction and you'll quickly find yourself in the likes of Santa Croce and San Marco.

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Stories about Florence

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

“Rome is a whore,” says Giambaccio, a ploud Florence native. It has just gone midnight, and we have wandered through the moonstruck streets around Florence’s Piazza San Spirito for hours before winding up here: in a haphazardly cluttered art studio Giambaccio has modeled on a ship’s deck. “She opens her legs for everybody. But Florence...” He mimes chastity – the shutting of two knees – with his fingers. “We are a walled city. We are closed.”