Florence, Italy

Riva Lofts

Rates from (ex tax)$160.73

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR145.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


Hip and homey


Leafy Arno riverside

Part rustic bed and breakfast, part architect’s dream, Riva Lofts hotel is a welcoming rural property just 15 minutes from downtown Florence. Owned by architect Claudio Nardi and his hotelier daughter, this homestead places contemporary art next to oversize antique mirrors leaning against reclaimed stone walls. Vintage Louis XIV chairs and Mies van der Rohe pieces reveal a sophisticated eye for fashion, but Riva Lofts remains a refreshingly unpretentious retreat.

Smith Extra

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A bottle of Tuscan wine


Photos Riva Lofts facilities

Need to know


10 suites.


Anytime between 8am and 11am; later check-out can be arranged, if available. Check-in is from 2pm to 6pm.


Double rooms from $160.73 (€132), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.80 per person per night on check-out.

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR131.82), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include Italian breakfast and soft drinks.


Owner/manager Alice Nardi (daughter of the hotel’s designer and architect, Claudio) is almost always on hand to offer restaurant tips or pointers on art exhibitions and events that outsiders might miss. Riva Lofts also has a partnership with Armilla Beauty, so you can order in face and body treatments, massage and hairdressing whenever you like.

At the hotel

Communal sitting room, LCD TV, DVD/CD player, library of books, films and music, free WiFi in lounge area and some other parts of the hotel. In suites: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player; most suites have kitchenettes and free WiFi.

Our favourite rooms

For sheer size and spectacle, make a swift beeline for Room 4 – it’s bigger than a small flat, has three walls of floor-to-ceiling glass windows gazing out over the Arno, and its stunning grey wood kitchen is designed to be almost invisible when not in use. Upstairs, you’re met with polished concrete floors, over-sized ball lamps and a dangerously comfortable bed. Room 9 shares the same spaciousness, but cultivates a slightly less arch-contemporary prettiness, and Room 7 has a quirky string curtain surrounding the bed, which lends it the air of an ultramodern, but nonetheless romantic boudoir.


Contrary to impressions, the ‘metaphysical swimming pool’ does actually exist – it’s a plush white sandstone pool set in a serene hedgerow-lined garden.

Packing tips

Huge D&G sunglasses will not only lend you the in-crowd stamp of cool, but also help keep the flies out of your eyes as you zoom along the river on one of Riva Loft’s 1950s bikes.


Reception is open 8am –8pm, but arrangements can be made for later arrivals. The hotel is non-smoking throughout. A two-night minimum stay is required during Pitti fashion fairs.


Small, well-behaved, non-sofa-soiling pets are welcome for €12 each a night. Just let the hotel know when booking. See more pet-friendly hotels in Florence.


Rollaway beds cost €50 a day, but cots are free and there’s no charge for children staying in parents’ rooms. With two days’ notice, babysitting can be arranged for around €15 an hour.

Food and Drink

Photos Riva Lofts food and drink

Top Table

On the green, green grass by the pool.

Dress Code

Quirked-up elegance.

Hotel restaurant

No lunch or dinner, just a mouthwatering Italian breakfast spread of home-made bread, croissants, organic yoghurt, and muesli, served either outside by the pool or beside the modern fireplace in the stone-walled, art-lined lounge.

Hotel bar

With every hand-picked sculpture and artwork perfectly placed to ensure there’s something to look at in every direction, Riva Loft’s main lounge is made for sinking into a sofa and supping a cocktail from the self-service honesty bar.


Photos Riva Lofts location
Riva Lofts
Via Baccio Bandinelli 98


Riva Lofts is just 15 minutes by taxi from Florence (Amerigo Vespucci, or Peretola) Airport, but you’ll have a greater choice of airlines from the UK if you fly to Pisa (Galileo Galilei) Airport. There’s a direct train from Pisa Airport to Santa Maria Novella train station in the centre of Florence, and then it’s just a short taxi drive to Riva Lofts (around €10).


Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station (which can be found centrally, behind the piazza of the same name) is a 15-minute drive from Riva Lofts. The busy station offers connections with the rest of Italy and Europe; you can get to Rome and back in a day, and it takes less than three hours to get to Milan.


This idyllic retreat is 40 minutes’ walk from the bustle of central Florence, but you can book taxis at reception, and for the ultimate in two-wheeled style, hire one of the hotel’s vintage bicycles for free. A car will be useful if you plan to venture further afield in surrounding Tuscany; pick one up at the airport. Riva Lofts has three, free unreserved parking spaces for guests and one spot in a garage (€20 a night), which is available to book. Otherwise street parking is available close by.

Local restaurants

Since the 19th century, the long tables at Trattoria Sostanza at Via Porcellana 25r, near Santa Maria Novella in Florence (+39 055 212 691) have been tempting locals to squeeze in next to each other to enjoy hearty servings of the region’s tasty cuisine. Start with a simple Tuscan classic such as pasta in sauce or a beany peasant soup, then plump for a typical Florentine basic-but-delicious main course. Petti di pollo al burro is a house favourite – chicken breasts fried in butter. Laidback and beloved by those in the know.

Local bars

Music and art are at the heart of the bar, Dolce Vita at Piazza del Carmine, 6r in Florence (+39 055 284 595). And with cocktail service all day, surely Fellini would approve?




Photos Riva Lofts reviews
David Annand

Anonymous review

It was as I reclined in the garden of the Riva Lofts in Florence listening to the light wind lazily loosen the leaves, sipping on my coffee and watching the spring sun lighten the curls of a similarly reposed Mrs Smith that I recalled the great cultural sermon delivered by Orson Welles’ peerless antihero Harry Lime in The Third Man. ‘In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.’ Having spent the previous day marvelling at the many wonders of Santa Croce, I found myself silently giving thanks that Alice Nardi, the patron of Riva Lofts is a contemporary hotelier and not a Renaissance princess for her speciality is tranquillity and though it might not be conducive to the creation of epoch-defining art, it is pretty much perfect for a weekend away.

We had arrived the day before and were immediately charmed and calmed by Alice who runs her Lofts – the buildings were converted by her highly regarded architect father, Claudio – with the pride and attention to detail that only a family business can inspire. She showed us straight to our suite, which boasted a perfect blend of contemporary artworks and understated 20th-century furniture. Despite considerable competition, the room’s centrepiece is a massive white bed that Mrs Smith eagerly stretched out on like a cat in the sun. ‘It’s heavenly,’ she declared. And it was hard to disagree. From the silky string drapes that hung from the ceiling in a clever twist on the four-poster, to the low lighting that illuminates the white walls, the space is dreamily ethereal. Thankfully this otherworldly atmosphere hasn’t come at a price: the Riva Lofts caters for all the earthly pleasures too. As well as complimentary soft drinks and a bowl of chocolate-covered hazelnuts, we were supplied with handpicked mood music, a flatscreen TV and an intriguing selection of art books. Most impressively of all, though (particularly for those of us from the nation that once considered a Teasmade the height of sophistication) was the freshly ground coffee, the discreet little designer hob and the proper espresso maker.

As soon as Mrs Smith had guiltily finished the last of the chocolates we felt ready to venture into Florence to gorge on churches. From Croce’s faded frescoes, to the Duomo’s chintzy campaniles we embarked on a beauty bender that would have had a dizzy Stendhal hallucinating wildly before he crawled off to bed. Being made of sterner stuff (or having less refined sensibilities) exposure to such amazing art made us thirsty not mad and we couldn’t have chosen a better spot to quench our thirst than Dolce Vita, a contemporary Italian bar that complements its Chianti Classico with delicious contorni, such as salmon ravioli and ricotta tart. 

The next morning feeling great and headed down to breakfast, which was served in the high-ceiling communal room. In the evening the room can be used for film screenings or perusing Riva Lofts surprisingly fine library, but in the morning its vast table is laden with little yoghurts, fresh breads and a constantly replenished jug of freshly squeezed mandarin juice, an amber nectar so sweet that it is worth the visit alone. 

We took our coffees out to the shared gardens, where we sat by the pool imagining what a boon the tranquil outdoor area would be were we seeking respite from Tuscany’s  summer heat. Unsurprisingly, such serenity can’t be found bang in the anarchic heart of old Florence and Riva Lofts is tucked down an unassuming street a brisk 20-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio. At the time of reviewing, the route isn’t always pretty, a situation that will be ameliorated by the completion of a riverside path that will link the hotel and the city centre. Once this has happened, the proud upright bikes that Alice keeps for guests will be the finest way to travel into town.

Even with the situation as it is it doesn’t take long to get to the river and we walked along the north bank marvelling at the beavers and turtles gaily coexisting in the shallow waters. After we’d fortified ourselves with a quick carafe of rose we headed south of the Arno to the part of town where the locals congregate to escape the tourist hordes. The area around Santo Spirito is the city’s counter-cultural heart with many a fine little restaurant and a delightful antiques market that we happily browsed in between restorative rounds of vino rosso.

Fashion world people are forever jetting off to Florence for the biannual trade fair at Pitti, which makes them great people for clever little tips about the city. Our insider told us about Sostanza, a classic Florentine restaurant that is reputed to be Miuccia Prada’s favourite place to eat. That evening we found out why. The decor is clean and simple, the food simpler still. When you order steak you get just that. But it’s the size of Wales and it’s so good that the guy sitting next to me managed two. The butter chicken may just be chicken but it is the finest treatment that I’ve ever encountered.

Florence is a wonderfully over-the-top kind of place. Its great lashings of gilt and its tumultuous history make it one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Now with the addition of Riva Lofts this Tuscan city can now justly claim to have mastered the fine arts of simplicity and tranquillity too.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Riva Lofts’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The beautiful decor and being next to the river. Laura, the concierge, was also delightful. Climb to the top of the Doumo – well worth it!

Don’t expect

To be in the centre of town, but it was lovely to be just outside the hustle and bustle of Florence, and have the use of the hotel's bike to cycle 10 minutes into town.


Stayed on 28 Aug 2017

We loved

The design of the lofts are really chic and spacious. Can hop on the tram (short walk to station and only 1 stop) easily to the city centre. Quiet and peaceful. Great local restaurants in the vicinity.

Don’t expect

A good wifi coverage in the room. No other meals other than breakfast offered.


Stayed on 21 Dec 2016

We loved

The style, the personal attention and the quietness so close to the centre of Florence. Fancy meal 15 minute walk at Fuor D'aqua sensational. Do book and go hungry!

Don’t expect

A window in Loft 5!


Stayed on 21 Sep 2016

We loved

Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. Room where breakfast is served is really lovely.

Don’t expect

A number of annoying things that could easily be rectified let this place down for me. No drawers to put clothes in the room and only 4 hangers provided on the wardrobe. Breakfast was very basic and really needed a selection of fruit and Italian breads provided. The bikes are in a bad state of repair and really need someone to repair them. The pool area needs some plants and flowers to make it a more attractive area to sit and no reclinable loungers were available.


Stayed on 8 Sep 2016

We loved

The gorgeous well designed rooms. Delicious morning breakfast. The pool was very welcome after a 93 degree day out touristing. All of the staff was very helpful and pleasant. Was with my teenage son who loved this place. They provided a very nice rollaway bed. Santa maria novella is located 15 minutes away from the Lofts. Most amazing perfumes in the world.

Don’t expect

A big hotel experience. This is a small boutique hotel.


Stayed on 21 Aug 2016

We loved

Staff here was amazing! So helpful and professional! There are so many good restaurants in the area. Just ask hotel staff as their suggestion was amazing!

Don’t expect

to be disappointed


Stayed on 30 Jul 2016

We loved

I'm not very good at relaxing on holiday - like to be near the action but can't stand crowds! Want to see and do as much as possible but also like lying in the sun by my own pool. Hmm...... Well Riva Lofts was for me the perfect spot. Three tram stops to the central station or 10-15 minutes down the cycle path by the river. The bikes were fab especially with much of central Florence being pedestrianised. True you might have to negotiate a few places where cars allowed but that's all part of the fun. And ignore advice about heat and crowds in Florence. If you're out early enough on the bikes you can miss these and get a nice breeze at the same time. We virtually had the Bobili Gardens to ourselves. However to see the galleries you must book, see below. My mildly disinterested in art Mr Smith said this was one of the highlights of the holiday. And when you're tired of the crowds in no time you're back at the shady tranquility of the Riva Lofts garden where you'll very likely have the pool to yourself. Have a snooze in the hammocks or plunge into the pool - the coldest water I've ever known outside a spa. Oh and did I mention the rooms? Loved the design here. It was like staying in a friends trendy house. For me the perfect spot to see Florence. Ask Carlotta to book the Viator full day tour to see the Academia and Uffuzi galleries. This also includes a walking tour and was so informative. The hotel also got us a 10 per cent discount. Head up into the village of Fiesole to the restaurant La Reggia Degli Etruschi. Number 7 bus from San Marco Piazza if you want to mix with the locals. We turned up on spec and got lucky. I would suggest asking Carlotta to book as it very popular and for good reason.

Don’t expect

Nights spent chatting in the bar with fellow guests. There is an honesty bar in the gorgeous lounge if you want to settle down with a book though.


Stayed on 24 Jul 2016

We loved

Relaxing by the pool and watching the sunset from the balcony. Just what I wanted.

Don’t expect

Big breakfasts, but the place has such great atmosphere and is located easily to transport to get to any number of amazing restaurants


Stayed on 6 Jul 2016

We loved

The staff, the design, the view over the Arno, the pool. Use the bikes provided to get around Florence if not too hot!

Don’t expect

Buzz, night scene - it's a good 20 minutes walk into town


Stayed on 23 Jun 2016

We loved

Room Decor and size was great. Staff were friendly and welcoming. Borgo San Pietro for a fancy dinner

Don’t expect

Breakfast was ok - continental everday but no variation. The hotel is 35 mins walk into the main city area. We did enjoy our room but there was very poor lighting in the bathroom and only one small mirror which made it difficult when we were trying to get ready.


Stayed on 23 May 2016

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