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This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.

The Athens of the Middle Ages. The Cradle of the Renaissance. Florence, the capital and most populous city of Tuscany, has many nicknames — including, for T+L readers, one of the best cities in Europe. This longtime center of history and art has always been a popular destination, and that shows no signs of changing. It's only fitting, then, that a place of renown would have hotels to match.   

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L invites its readers to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

In a city known for its well-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture, it only makes sense that many of the best hotels in Florence occupy historic spaces. Villa San Michele, a Belmond Hotel, which takes the second spot on this year's list, is located in a 15th-century monastery — with a façade widely attributed to none other than Michelangelo. Readers loved it for its secluded location in the hills of Fiesole, as well as for the top-notch service, romantic atmosphere, and Tuscan cuisine from chef Alessandro Cozzolino. 

Royal Suite Gioconda Living Room at The St. Regis Florence
Credit: Matthias Hamel/Courtesy of The St. Regis Florence

Like the Belmond, many of this year's reader-favorite hotels are operated by large international brands. But one independent property stands out: Brunelleschi Hotel, a boutique hotel that comes in at No. 3. "Best location in town," said one reader, praising the central location near the Duomo. "Wide range of rooms, outstanding breakfast, and helpful and welcoming staff. Catullo at the front desk is a treasure." Part of the property, which encompasses both a Byzantine tower and a medieval church, was indeed once owned by the Florentine architect after whom the hotel is named. Another respondent admitted, "I cannot wait to go back to Florence just to stay there." 

Despite the tough competition, the city's top property claims the title for a second year in a row. Read on for the full list of the best hotels in Florence, as voted by T+L readers. 

1. St. Regis Florence

Presidential Da Vinci Suite at The St. Regis Florence
Credit: Matthias Hamel/Courtesy of The St. Regis Florence

This grand property on the banks of the Arno is located inside a 15th-century palazzo designed by Filippo Brunelleschi — remembered by history for such works as the Pazzi Chapel and the distinctive Duomo of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. In the St. Regis's 80 rooms and 19 suites (including one designed by Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier) visitors will find jewel-toned textiles, plush headboards, rococo mirrors and chandeliers, and countless other ultra-Italian touches. Managed by St. Regis since 2011, the palazzo has actually operated as a hotel since the 19th century, playing host to visiting figures, including Queen Victoria. 

Score: 97.52
More information: marriott.com 

2. Villa San Michele, a Belmond Hotel

Aerial view of Belmond Villa San Michele
Credit: Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 96.52
More information: belmond.com

3. Brunelleschi Hotel 

Pool Suite Terrace at Hotel Brunelleschi
Credit: Andrea Getuli/Courtesy of Hotel Brunelleschi

Score: 96.32
More information: brunelleschihotelflorence.com 

4. Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

The hall at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
Credit: Matthias Hamel/Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 92.14
More information: fourseasons.com

5. The Westin Excelsior, Florence

The terrace at The Westin Excelsior, Florence
Credit: Courtesy of The Westin Excelsior, Florence

Score: 91.50
More information: marriott.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.