As superficial as it may sounds, my Florence is not full of Boticelli, Masaccio, Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci. My Florence has Gucci Museo, Ferragamo Palazzo and some unusual art galleries seen on the narrow streets of the Italian city. And, of course, endless dishes with tagliatelle ai funghi porcini and gelato con limone. The 3 steps for a perfect (and not so predictable) weekend in Florence?
Step one: check in a boutique hotel. Because if you are in Italy, you have to taste all this beautiful country has to offer. That includes a perfect espresso in the morning, an interior garden with luxurious plants in terracotta vases and an incredible view over the Arno river. Check this addresses: Continentale hotel (www.designhotels.com), the crown jewel of the fashion design Ferragamo family’s small chain of hotels, decorated in the happy-go-lucky feel of the ’50s and ’60s. Take a late breakfast on the Lugarno hotel terrace and sip a glass of Chianti at Borgo San Jacopo restaurant (www.lunggarnocollection.com). If you want to feel the city vibe, book a room at the chic J and J Boutique Hotel, right in the heart of the city (www.jandjhotel.net).
Step two: inhale the fashionable air of Florence. For a day, try to forget about Ufizzi Gallery and the Pitti Palace. Because two blocks away from them I found out that is an entire different world, away from busy Ponte Vecchio or Cathedral’s Plaza. Gucci Museo (Piazza de la Signoria, www.guccimuseo.com) is the best way to understand and feel the true Italian fashion spirit. In a historic building, Gucci Museo charts Gucci’s remarkable 90-year history, from its beginnings when the founder, Guccio Gucci, made his name as a purveyor of finest quality leather accessories, to its present day status as one of the world’s leading luxury goods brands. Vintage dresses, bags with a lot of history, trunks and old decorative objects signed Gucci, as well as the newest models of the brand and an amazing selection of books and collectibles: all is in the Gucci Museo building. Don’t miss: a cappuccino on Gucci Museo Caffe. In the beautiful Palazzo Spini Feroni I could see the most amazing shoe display: hundreds of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, in all colors and models I could dream of. Plus: photographs, patents, sketches, books, magazines and wooden last of famous feet (Madonna and Angelina Jolie among them) (www.museoferragamo.it).
Step three: look for a different Italian experience. But not a usual one. Therefore, a visit at the new and contemporary art galleries is a good idea to meet new Italian visual artist: www.galleriabagnai.it or www.tethysgallery.com. For some traditional touch, look for the Florence Leather School (www.scuoladelcuoio.com): not only the techniques and the workshops are nice, but the school is one of the most beautiful buildings in that area. Beautiful streets to wander: Via Tornabuoni and Plazza Santa Trinita, Borgo degli Albizi. The conclusion? I’ll be always… innamorata di Firenze!
Photo: DesignHotels.com, dreamingof.net