Postcards from Italy

Our Favorite Hotels: Hotel Savoy Florence

As we mentioned recently in our Accommodations in Italy post, it isn't always easy to judge the quality of a hotel in Italy without vetting it in person. The Italian star rating system can often be misleading, and hotels that look landmark and luxury on paper can turn out to be dingy disappointments on the ground. In short, even the Grandest of Dames sometimes need to “have a little work done”, as they say, which is why we were very excited to get a sneak peek at the Hotel Savoy Florence after a its glorious new facelift.

Hotel Savoy Florence
(Photo by Rocco Forte Hotels)


The Hotel Savoy is one of the most famous and storied hotels in Florence, built in 1893 on the city's elegant Piazza della Repubblica as part of a larger urban renewal project that razed the former Mercato Vecchio market square and warren of winding streets and historic buildings that surrounded it to make way for the elegant new public space and wide surrounding avenues. When the hotel was inaugurated, the local press marveled at its modern luxuries, including central heating, elevator and electric lights. The hotel has come a long way since then, and is now part of the exclusive Rocco Forte hotel group, helmed by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister, Olga Polizzi.

Hotel Savoy Florence(Photo by Rocco Forte Hotels)


After closing for a six-month renovation, the Savoy reopened just two weeks ago at the top of its game. With the exacting eye of Olga Polizzi as Director of Design and the creative input of Emilio Pucci Design, the refurbished entrance and lobby is a show-stopper. Polizzi stripped the space to its original architectural bones, bringing back the soaring corniced ceiling and exposed columns and giving a nod to the city's Renaissance history with reception desks incorporating caryatid putti and the Florence's Fleur de Lis emblem, Classical statuary, and a 17th-century marble-and-gilt table. Tempering this sedate grandeur is Pucci's colorful verve, with bold prints in the fashion house's trademark jewel tones accenting statement furniture, pillows, and carpets.

Hotel Savoy Florence(Photo by Rocco Forte Hotels)

In addition to this chic lobby lounge, guests can relax at Irene, the hotel's sophisticated Tuscan restaurant with table spilling out onto the bustling piazza, or Irene Bar, the adjacent cocktail lounge where fashionable Florentines come to see and be seen.


One of the main focuses of the Savoy's refurbishment was the guest rooms. The hotel has reduced the number of rooms from 102 to 80, making the rooms larger and creating more suites. The rooms have all been restyled as well as enlarged, and the muted palette, mid-century design, warm parquet floors, large showers, and prestigious fabrics combine to make them feel both traditional and contemporary. The selection of suites is especially impressive, from the Junior and Grand View Suites to the palatial Duomo Presidential Suite, occupying an entire wing and offering stunning views of Brunelleschi’s iconic Dome. All have been carefully furnished with details like hand-painted wallpaper, custom furnishings from Italian artisan brands like Il Bronzetto, Chelini Firenze, and C&C Milano, and vintage flourishes unearthed by Polizzi at Florence’s Mercato dei Pulci.

Hotel Savoy Florence(Photo by Rocco Forte Hotels)

What we love

Sure, the Savoy has a great location and the Rocco Forte brand of hotels is one of the finest in Europe. The expansion of the rooms is also a plus in a city where many of the hotels are located in historic palaces and rooms can be on the small side. We also didn't mind the move away from bathtubs to roomy shower spaces. But what we find really remarkable is the hotel's dedication to local artists and artisans. As Olga Polizzi remarked, “It is wonderful to see how many craftsmen still work and create their masterpieces in the center of Florence. We commissioned many artisans from the city, a lovely experience which I hope will make the hotel feel truly Florentine.”

Related posts
First Friday Favorite: Hotel Cristallo (Cortina d'Ampezzo)
Our Favorite Hotels: Londra Palace (Venice)
Our Favorite Hotels: Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Contributor: Rebecca Winke

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