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
We stayed 4 nights in June. Wonderful hotel and Eleonora at the front desk is awesome. Nice for family visits. The pool and breakfasts are great attributes. Easy access for into Florence without having to bother with all of the tourists.
Stayed 6 nights. The room was well designed and spotless. Water and soft drinks in the small room fridge were complimentary. The location is convenient for the centre of Florence, being only 3 tram stops from Santa Maria Novella station. However, it is also good to be away from the crowds when you want. Having an outdoor pool in a location like this is an added attraction. The people couldn't have been more obliging.
My friends and I chose Riva Lofts for our recent 5 day stay in Florence. We picked this beautiful hotel for its amazing architecture, location away from the hordes of tourists and it’s proximity to town. We were not disappointed. As soon as we booked, the hotel staff reached out to us to welcome us and thank us for choosing Riva, as well as offering an array of tours and services and information on places to visit and great restaurants. They were very engaged in helping us identify places to go and things to do. No request was too small.
The front office team were warm and very welcoming. Laura, Carlotta and Eleonora were amazing. On arrival, we were shown our beautiful room. Loft 8. It was exactly as pictured in the website. The pool was amazing and provided a relaxing place after trucking around all day. It was quiet and was a cool oasis to escape the July heat.
The breakfast was amazing. Every morning Rosa laid out delicious goods including scrambled and boiled eggs, fresh bread rolls and cold cuts with cheese as well as luscious fresh food and great coffee and juices.
I cannot recommend this place enough. If you are looking for somewhere quiet where you will be made to feel at home but still enjoy the type of service you would get in a top hotel, this is your spot. The rates were very good also. I am definitely coming back. Thanks Riva for making our trip so memorable!