The birthplace of the Renaissance, the city of Florence is known for its history. Since the 14th century, the Italian paradise has housed the most legendary palaces, beautiful spots, delicious cuisine and gelato.
Therefore, it’s not a surprise that Florence gets a huge number of tourists every year. If this summer-hotspot is on your travel itinerary this year, we’ve got some good news. Before our founder, Aisha S. Kothari, took a trip through this historic city a few years ago, she asked the Founder, Creative Director of her namesake jewellery brand and well-known traveller, Bianca Zaveri for help.
Bianca shared her itinerary which included the most sought-after experiences and hidden spots from the city.
Things To See
Situated on top of a hill in Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo was created by architect Giuseppe Poggi in 1869. The square is known for its gorgeous replicas of Michelangelo statues, including the David and the Medici Chapel sculptures from San Lorenzo, and its panoramic view of the city. “This is one of my favourite spots to see the sunset and has the best view of the entire city,” says Bianca.
Piazza Santo Spirito
This piazza is a must-visit for Bianca. Although the square is full of bustling life, its blanketed by the unfinished facade of Brunelleschi’s last church. It contains a central fountain along with beautiful greenery, hosting a small daily market which locals love to visit and a buzzy nightlife. “It has a very local vibe,” says Bianca. Spend an evening in the square staring at its architecture and enjoying the vibe.
This historic part was first opened to the public in 1766. It was originally designed for the city’s most affluent family, the Medici, it is one of the most important examples of true Italian gardens. “It’s connected to the Palazzo Pitti,” exclaims Bianca. “It’s an amazing place to go and have a little picnic if the weather is good.”
Ponte Santa Trinita
This Renaissance bridge spans across the Arno. It is one of the world’s oldest elliptic arch bridges. For Bianca, the bridge makes for a great sunset watching spot. “I also love to watch Ponte Vecchio from here,” she says.
The Gucci Garden first opened in 2011 under the name Gucci Museum, on the 90th anniversary of the fashion house. It is the brainchild of creative director Alessandro Michele and contains a store, exhibition rooms and a three-star Michelin restaurant that’s run by Massimo Bottura. Bianca loves to stop there to, “have a cocktail on the rooftop, it’s an amazing experience!”
Places To Eat
A breakfast spot, a tapas and cocktail bar, a flower shop, a cafe, a housewares store and a restaurant. This space offers a variety of choices in its large space that was once home to Florentine home-goods emporium. Bianca stopped here for her morning meal. “They have a really good breakfast spread and some delicious coffee. It’s a beautiful space.”
This cosy restaurant was established two decades ago by Prince Dimitri Habsburg-Lorraine and his son Soldano. Today, it has become a world-famous place that’s often visited by celebrities for its traditional Tuscan and Lorraine cuisine. “This place is not to be missed! It’s my favourite in all of Florence,” says Bianca. “You have to try their pasts, all of which are vegetarian. They have a really cool sharing concept where you can try as many pastas on the menu so make sure to go really hungry!”
Since 1885, Proccaci has been a drinking spot for women who visit this gorgeous city as it is located amongst the designer stores of Via Tornabuoni. The restaurant has an elegant, sophisticated flair and features mahogany furniture and a marble-topped bar. What does Bianca prefer here? “Stop by for amazing truffle sandwiches and coffee.”
Bianca says, “you cannot leave Florence without doing aperitivo! It starts everyday at 7pm to about 10pm.”
Shopping Experiences Not To Be Missed
Scuola del Cuoio
Translating to ‘School of Leather,’ it has more than 60 years of history. This legacy company is dedicated to making prestigious leather goods in the heart of the city, in Piazza Santa Croce. “It was originally started by monks and used to be a monastery,” explains Bianca. Today, it not only teaches the art of leather craftsmanship but also sells amazing high quality products. “You can customise things here too.”
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
“It’s the oldest pharmacy in Florence,” says Bianca. It was established by Dominican friars shortly after 1221 where they used medicinal herbs grown in the gardens to make medications, balms and pomades. “It’s the most beautiful building, almost like a museum.” Take one of their most famous Florentine perfumes to remember the city by, forever. People say it is the smell of marble, precious stones, iris, leather and jeweller’s gold.
AiSPi Curated Boutiques To Visit
Malloni’s avant-garde collections play with contrast and believe that “white is the impertinent side of black” (as once said the brand), experimenting with colour in a functional manner. The brand emphasises minimalism to the maximum, using sharp and clean edges to bring a monochromatic look to life.
Running under the expertise of Italian artisans, this brand showcases its love for fabrics and search for beauty through its collections. The brand is a reference point for high-quality leather and refined style, with attentive to even the smallest of details.
Started by Sylvia Mazzoli in 2003, this womenswear brand stems from her love for purely Italian-made products. With all pieces hand-crafted by eight dedicated and talented seamstresses, you can shop timeless pieces with bright hues and sorbet colours.