Florence, Italy

Dimora Palanca

Price per night from$425.04

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR402.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


Commodious dell’arty


Steps from the Centro

Let us paint you a picture, beginning with the fine form of Dimora Palanca, a 19th-century villa with a full-of-grace façade in the foreground and an aperitivo-ready courtyard garden to the back. Within, richly hued ceiling frescoes and ornate stucco mouldings shape its image alongside tailored furnishings from B&B Italia and Maxalto, plus custom pieces and dramatic light installations. There’s clear influence from Florence’s artistry, with modern work from local artist Paolo Dovichi throughout and literary events championing local wordsmiths. The restaurant serves elegant compositions and Tuscan wines to polish things off. Mount on a backdrop of iconic monuments and – mwah – you have a masterpiece for the ages.

Smith Extra

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A cocktail each at the bar on arrival


Photos Dimora Palanca facilities

Need to know


12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from £385.05 (€443), including tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include a generous à la carte breakfast.


Gardens are something of a rarity this close to the centre of Florence, so the hotel’s private, jasmine-scented patch of green is quite the coup. Set between the villa and the original orangery in a peaceful courtyard, it’s beautifully landscaped with trim lawns, flower boxes and shaded tables set for aperitivo hour.

Please note

To dine at the hotel (and enter venues such as museums and restaurants throughout Italy), you’ll need a mandatory Green Pass. You can apply for one here www.dgc.gov.it/web/ottenere.html – the process is a little fiddly, but hotel staff are happy to help you acquire it if needed.

At the hotel

Private garden, lounge, library, morning room, wine cellar, games area, concierge, free high-speed WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, air-conditioning.

Our favourite rooms

The piano nobile is traditionally the floor where Florentine big-wigs were hosted, and there’s no exception here – the hotel’s Master Suite is their Medici-level hideaway, albeit modernised in glamorous style. For one thing, it has a private terrace that smugly overhangs the tables in the garden, which is ideal for Aperol Spritz-sipping; and within you can even fall asleep while musing on art – a lavish chartreuse and lavender fresco with gilded edges, and sprays of flowers and birds play out over the ceiling above the four-poster bed. But don’t spend all your time craning your neck up – the 19th-century stucco mouldings, modern art, furnishings from Maxalto and B&B Italia and a soothing jetted bath tub deserve your attention too. And up to two extra guests can stay here on twin beds on request.

Packing tips

Get to know the nuances of Florentine art history with a copy of Ernst Gombrich’s The Story of Art, and bring a notepad and pen for when lightning strikes after the hotel’s inspiring literary gatherings.


Crisp white walls, dainty dangling light fittings and expensive knock-over-ables are not a parent’s friend – so leave the little ones at home.

Food and Drink

Photos Dimora Palanca food and drink

Top Table

A gentle breeze cutting through the dying heat of the day, the low hum of cicadas, the scent of jasmine: spending the idling hours in the garden is really rather special.

Dress Code

As if you’ve stepped from a painting: shades of Virgin Mary lapis, Botticelli’s cascading florals, sensuous draping. Frame it all with chunky gold statement jewellery.

Hotel restaurant

The generous à la carte breakfast and lunches are served in the light-flooded morning room, on padded latte-hued banquettes under a net-draped chandelier that seemingly floats like a cloud. Things get sultrier in subterranean restaurant Mimesi, set in the hotel’s original 19th-century kitchen. Here, at softly lit tables, couples can enjoy delicacies from ports of call across the Med: red tagliatelle with caviar and Armagnac consommé, anchovy salad, chicken and bell pepper in a demi-glace, conceived by head chef Giovanni Cerroni.

Hotel bar

Waft to one of the garden’s tables with a glass of wine in hand, or shuffle into the bijou bar’s long banquette to chat, read or work at one of the marble tables. There’s a fresco on the ceiling for you to gaze in awe at too. And a trove of excellent Italian wines are stored in the cellar beside Mimesi.


Photos Dimora Palanca location
Dimora Palanca
Via della Scala, 72

Dimora Palanca’s distinguished 19th-century villa is tucked away on Via Della Scala, just off main throughway Porto el Prato. It’s within easy boarding distance of Santa Maria Novella station and Florence’s District One sights are a 15-minute walk away.


Florence airport in Peretola is the closest, just a 20-minute drive away from the hotel; however, due to the number of low-cost airlines that fly there, many visitors opt to land at Pisa International, an hour’s drive away. The latter choice, while longer, does allow you to admire some Tuscan scenery enroute.


The hotel is practically neighbours with handsome modernist main station Santa Maria Novella, so on a quiet day you may even catch an announcement on the breeze. Maybe due to their ancestors’ straight-road legacy, rail connections are strong in Italy and you can easily reach most major cities; Rome is just a 90-minute journey, Venice two hours and Naples three hours.


A car will come in handy for forays into the Tuscan countryside, but if you’re just exploring the city then put that idea in park. Brunelleschi himself couldn’t design something more complex than Florence’s ZTLs (limited traffic zones), with their changing hours and seasons and stubborn refusal to be acknowledged by GPS. And, this was a city designed for horses and carts, so parking is somewhat limited, but the hotel has some private parking should you arrive at the tail end of a classic road trip.


While historic red tape means Florentines have no Metro, there is a tram system that’s cheap and convenient. The Porto el Prato and Santa Maria Novella stops are both a few minutes’ walk from the hotel and a tram runs directly from Florence airport.

Worth getting out of bed for

Well, you don’t come to Florence to watch monster-truck rallies, and even if you did, there’d probably be a string quartet playing and cherubim painted on the mud flaps. Therefore, the city’s cultural clout is keenly felt at the hotel, where they don’t just immerse guests in art, but fully baptise them. Frescoes burst to life across room ceilings, intricate stuccoes nod to the villa’s past, and artist Paolo Dovichi has created 50 modern works for the hotel using plexiglass screens and Italian velvets, silks and linen to create modern landscapes. Start with a sweep through the hotel admiring their collection and the attention to detail they’ve put into the design along the way. They also frequently hold literary gatherings in the garden. And, they can sketch out a bespoke trail through Florence’s galleries or artisanal workshops with private tours of the Uffizi, Vasari Corridor, Medici Chapel or the Church of Santa Maria Novella – you can even visit after-hours for a little more alone time with the masterpieces. Or stop by leather workshops, sculpture studios, ceramicists, shoemakers, papermakers, bookbinders, textile designers and calligraphers on a tour that celebrates all things crafty in a city that’s been honing them for centuries. Art classes can be organised too, and you’re an easy walk from the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s David lets it all hang out and Palazzo Strozzi, where thought-prodding modern shows are held within its Renaissance shell. But a visual feast alone can’t sustain you, and the hotel doesn't neglect the other important reason you’ve arrived in Florence: to eat. The concierge has connections with chefs and kitchens across the city, so you can make pizzas in a traditional oven, bake breads and pastries, and pick up tips and tricks in a traditional environment. Or get out into the rollicking greenery for a stomach-lining farm-to-table tour and wine tastings at noted cellars (including Antonori, Frescobaldi, Fonterutoli and Monterosola). In season, you can hunt truffles too (January to April, or June to December, depending on what kind of edible prize you’re seeking – coveted white truffles are snuffled in winter) and lunch on your rare spoils. When you’ve seen so many big-deal paintings and sculptures that you’re on the verge of Stendhal syndrome and eaten more carbs than you can bear, it’s time to get active: bike through the city (crossing the Ponte Vecchio and maybe even pumping those pedals to the viewpoint at Piazzale Michelangelo), hop on horseback or take the more elegant sightseeing solution: cruise down cypress-lined lanes past vineyards and sunflower fields and through teeny villages in a vintage Fiat 500.

Local restaurants

Can you eat well in Florence? Is the Pope Catholic? Typically Florentines have subsisted on traditional trattorias (or slightly touristy venues around the Duomo), but the scene’s being shaken up by chefs with modern visions or at least intriguing plans for Florence’s unfaltering supply of fine produce. Take Gurdulù Gastronomia (named for an Italo Calvino character), which has a deli selling lampredotto and porchetta, fresh pasta, breads, cakes and more, and a wine shop. This is a little sneak peek at what your dinner will be made from – dishes such as pumpkin gnocchi, tagliolini with guinea fowl sauce or spaghetti with aged guanciale. Aim to get a table on the candlelit terrace. In the centre, the Gucci Osteria shows that creative director Alessandro Michele has impeccable taste in all dimensions, styling the space with grass-green walls and teal banquettes and roping in chefs ​​Massimo Bottura and Karime Lopez to conceive the menu. The base notes are Italian, with dishes such as smoked-octopus stew or tortellini with parmesan cream; but there are elements taken from Lopez’s travels: say, the ‘Birth of Venus’ dish with scallops, tarragon and daikon; steamed pork buns; or bonito fish tostadas. Da Ruggero (89 Via Senese) is far more old school, with checkered tablecloths, wood panelling and artwork that follows no rhyme or reason. But it’s a firm favourite with the locals for it’s ribollita soup, grilled salsiccia, tripe and superlative steaks. And, Libreria Brac follows in the hotel’s footsteps as a hybrid bistro and arts space. Take tea with photographers, listen to writers talk or partake in a class, then feed more than your mind on tortellini with gorgonzola, fennel and orange; Indian-spiced meatballs; cheese tarts; and freshly baked cakes.

Local cafés

Mercato Centrale acts as a sort of Florentine buffet – so you can pick and mix your way through the city’s eats. There’s pizza, sushi, carne, ravioli, ice-cream and stalls for wine and beer, of course. Arrive peckish. In Italy, sad, soggy sandwiches just aren’t a thing – ask the staff at deli Ino, who’ll build you a panini towering with fine cheeses, hams, salamis or fish and your choice of sauce. 

Local bars

Vineria Sonora has little embellishment but vinyl sleeves and bottles of wine with artsy labels. It may be a little spare for those who enjoy Florence’s maximalism, but it attracts a young crowd and its list has some interesting natural picks. For somewhere a touch more traditional – and very serious about their wine, with bottles dating back to the Fifties – try Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina opposite Pitti Palace.


Photos Dimora Palanca reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this poised, art-obsessed city palazzo by Santa Maria Novella station and unpacked their carefully wrapped truffle and artisanal treasures (handmade shoes, leather bags, hand-thrown pots), a full account of their very civilised break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Dimora Palanca in Florence…

Florentines have appreciated the finer things in life for centuries – and while we absolutely mean a huge bowl of pasta and an equally hefty glass of wine, we mean the finer things, such as the way the flesh yields to fingertips on the Abduction of a Sabine Woman statue, the tendrils of hair caught adrift in Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, the eye-watering precision of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise etchings, David’s – um – steely gaze. Detail orientation is a skill for the ages, but it’s no lost art as demonstrated in Dimora Palanca. This 19th-century villa turned hotel has the eye – as shown by its impeccable taste in modern art (local artist Paolo Dovichi has created 50 pieces for the hotel), the way that crisp white walls let the colourful original ceiling frescoes really pop, and dramatic light features – chandeliers that drop like statement earrings or float like clouds – make illumination a cause célèbre.  And, it doesn’t just look the part, it lives like a creative, hosting literary gatherings in the – rare for inner-city Florence – private garden, arranging visits to the studios and workshops of local artisans, holding Tuscan wine tastings… After all, it’s been a friend to Florence’s arts community for well over a century. So, whether it’s elegant rooms (some with terraces), furnishings from the likes of Maxalto and B&B Italia, or accomplished Mediterranean dining, Dimora Palanca has modern Florentine living down to a fine art.

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