What We Love
- Designed by the owner, so everything in the rooms has been hand-picked
- Communal living room has a fireplace, honor system bar and library of books and DVDs
- Free WiFi
- Vintage bicycles available for guest use
What To Know
- It’s 10 to 15 minutes from central Florence by tram, or a 30-minute walk; tram tickets are sold at reception
- Most rooms have stairs, and some have bathrooms on the ground floor, so not ideal for families
- Reception is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., although late arrivals can be accommodated
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
A modern hotel in the Renaissance City? Thanks to local architect Claudio Nardi, that’s not an oxymoron. Among the faux-Renaissance palazzos, with their heavy draperies and ornate furnishings, Riva Lofts is a breath of fresh air. Nardi converted the complex — a former artisan workshop — into a nine-room hotel in 2006, along with his daughter Alice, who now runs the property. It offers a glorious new take on Florentine style, and Alice’s meticulous eye for design is evident, from the antique theater trunk that’s been customized into a wardrobe to the 1960s bedside lamps.
Bed & Bath
The rooms are simple but well dressed, and each is different, both in layout and design. They’re furnished with a seamless mixture of antiques and one-off pieces, from Louis XIV vintage chairs and an original door that bears carpenters’ graffiti, to shelving designed by Nardi and photographs by a friend of the family. White-on-white walls give a modern feel, while fluffy rugs over bare floorboards and open-beam surfaces add a touch of warmth. Large windows look out at the garden, the Arno and even an occasional glimpse of Brunelleschi’s famous Duomo. Some of the bathrooms come with Jacuzzi bathtubs and Carrara marble sinks adapted from a traditional Tuscan template by Claudio.
There’s no restaurant as such (all but one of the rooms has a kitchenette in it), but don’t miss breakfast in the adjacent barn; the spread includes homemade yogurt and oil and honey from the Nardi family’s nearby farm. The barn also houses an honor system bar, fireplace and projection screen. A white sandstone swimming pool dominates the garden, and free vintage bikes are available for guests to borrow to swing into town in style. Cycling along the Arno and seeing the spires, towers and bridges of Florence come into view is unforgettable.
In the Area
The south side of the Arno is swiftly becoming Florence’s answer to Paris’s Rive Gauche, and Alice Nardi is its custodian. Ask her for advice on places to hit, including the superb 4 Leoni, a trattoria founded in 1550. While you’re on the south side, check in on the Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Its fresco cycle by Masaccio and his master, Masolino, is considered the first masterpiece of the early Renaissance. Opened in 2006, the Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia is one of the few showcases for modern art in Florence. There’s a permanent exhibition on the history of photography, as well as rotating exhibits of contemporary photography. To get out into the Tuscan countryside, take the Via Cassia, an ancient Roman road linking Florence and Rome, and pass through the Val di Pesa area, 20 miles south of Florence, on the border of the Siena and Chianti regions, where the Nardi family farm is located.
How to Get There
Classy boutique hotel in Florence only 25 minutes walk (or 10 minute tram ride) to the centre. Rooms are well equipped and stylish with plenty of space for our family of four (stayed in Loft Studio 4). The service stands out - the team were incredibly helpful before and during our stay in coordinating and updating on transfers and booking restaurants. Breakfast buffet a bit limited but perfectly reasonable.
Great base for visiting Florence.
We had a great stay at Riva Lofts and can only recommend this little special Hotel. Everything is stylish and lovely decorated. Everybody was so friendly and helpful and gave us a warmly welcomed feeling. The spot is perfect to visit Florence. It’s a nice short bicycle ride to the center and makes you feel like a local. We can only hope to come back soon. Thanks for everything!
We just recently returned from a 12 night stay at Riva Lofts and can't recommend it highly enough. The staff were brilliant, extremely friendly and helpful, with useful advice for local restaurants and places to go. Breakfast was typically Italian and the whole hotel was tastefully decorated and very clean, we had room 3 with a mezzanine bedroom and small outdoor space. We stayed with our 7 year old son who loved the garden and pool area. Location wise was ideal, about a 20 minute walk in to the center of Florence if feeling adventurous, you could use the hotels complimentary bicycles for a scenic ride along the Arno or for those hot sunny days, we found the local tram ideal. It stops at the end of the street and has you in the thick of things in just a few minutes for a EUR1.50 - the ticket can be used for up to 3 hours too. Great for families and couples alike!