This is the neighborhood of the central railway station, the congressional palace, and the main international expositions and fairs…
That’s why here you’ll find the highest concentration of traffic, tourists, businessmen, immigrants, residents, taxis, tourist buses, fast food and pubs (Fiddler’s Elbow, The Chequers, The Dublin, The Joshua Tree, Stregatto, Trip Per Tre, Birreria Centrale) in the entire city center.
If you decide to stay here keep in mind that the district is very busy, chaotic and dirtier than the rest the city. However staying here has several advantages:
a) you are close to the station but, at the same time, in the heart of the city, only a 5-10 minute walk from all the main city monuments, churches and museums
b) here you’ll find the highest concentration of hotels (many of them very cheap!), B&Bs, and hostels in the city
c) here there’s plenty of cheap fast food, take-away pizza, excellent pubs and good quality/budget price clothing
d) it’s right next to the San Lorenzo market, the biggest and most colorful street market in the city.
Santa Maria Novella (like every other city district) is characterized by a beautiful central piazza dominated by the wonderful church of Santa Maria Novella, masterpiece of Italian Gothic medieval architecture.
This church is the first artistic masterpiece that tourists arriving in Florence by train can see and it is definitely a worthy ‘welcome to the city‘ for every traveller.
In the evening the square is full of tourists, students and immigrants. In the vicinity can be found the city’s best pubs: Fiddler’s Elbow, The Chequers, The Dublin, The Joshua Tree Pub.