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Florence is a city of Italian Renaissance art, incredibly romantic settings and discriminating food. Not surprisingly, the Florentines are considered to be the most elegant and gastronomic of all the Italians, with impeccable culinary talents and an eye for detail. The city is also extremely easy to get around as it is divided by the Arno River and can be explored by foot on either side. Wonderful, fastidious hotels add to the experience and ensure that every part of your journey is perfect. Finally, as if you needed another reason to visit, Florence has retained the same refined architecture for nearly two centuries and has inspired artists for just as long. It is easy to see how the city birthed such artistic genius as Michaelangelo.
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum
Via dei Tornabuoni, 2
Tel. +39 (0) 55.336.0456
This footwear legend began making shoes in 1909, when he was only 11 years old. Five years later he was working in the New York film industry. He shod the likes of Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Delores del Rio and many other Hollywood legends. In 1927, he returned to Italy and settled in Florence. The company is still run by his descendants. Learn more and view as many as 10,000 models of his extravagant talent here.
Basilica Santa Maria Novella
Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Tel. +39 (0) 55.210.113
Santa Maria Novella is chronologically the first of the great Florentine basilicas. Its name, “Novella,” comes from the fact that it was built on the site of a 9th century oratory, called Santa Maria delle Vigne, which had already been enlarged in 1094. In 1221, this church and the surrounding area was assigned to the Dominican monks who started major work on the basilica, which was completed in 1360 under the direction of Fra Iacopo Talenti. The interior contains a series of works by Giotto, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Filippino and others.
Via Romana, Piazza Pit
Tel. +39 (0) 55.218.741
When the infamous Medici family purchased Pitti Palace, they renovated the gardens, turning them into a floral masterpiece to rival the fine art in Florence. The endless gardens provide incredible views of Florence and the rolling hills Stop and smell the roses in this true Italian Renaissance Garden.
Take in the warm Italian sun, at the best photo opportunity in Florence. Surrounded on three sides by an unparalleled view of the city and scattered with the Michaelangelo’s “David” replica sculptures from which it takes its name, the Piazzale Michelangiolo is an archetypal piece of Florence.
Galleria degli Uffizi
Piazza degli Uffizi 6
Tel. +39 (0) 55.23.885
The sweetheart of museums for any lover of Italian Renaissance art, Uffizi has an impressive collection of pieces from the 14th to the 18th centuries. It is always crowded, with people from all over the globe crowding in to see masterpieces with their own eyes. Botticelli’s “Primavera” and Fillippo Lippi’s “Madonna and Child With Two Angels” are just two illustrations of the renowned collection. Make plans to stop in around lunchtime to avoid the rush.
Via del Moro, 48
Tel. +39 (0) 55 23.988.98
This famous Florentine eatery also has one of the best cooking schools in Florence. New York actor/director Ed Burns claims the restaurant as one of his favorites.
Via Ghibellina, 87
Tel. +39 (0) 55.242.777 or +39 (0) 55.242.757
This is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Italy, serving serious haute cuisine. Regional delights include lobster and grapes with marjoram; rabbit with garlic accompanied by green beans ala florentina and liver croutons. Also, this restaurant houses a cellar with more than 200,000 vintage wines. Bring plenty of euros and ready your palate. Email [email protected] for more info.
Ristorante e Vineria alle Murate
via Ghibellina 52r
Tel. +39 (0) 55.24.4618
The soft lighting and smooth jazz make this a popular locale; the Italian nouvelle cuisine turns locals and tourists into return visitors. Email [email protected] for information.
Borgo Pinti, 10r
Tel. +39 (0) 55.24.1341
For old family recipes and a convivial atmosphere, La Giostra is the perfect place to dine. [email protected] will put you in contact with a friendly maitre d'.
Via de' Pepi, 3-5r.
Tel. +39 (0) 55.263.8675
Finisterrae is unbeatable for atmosphere. Essentially a restaurant within a restaurant, you will pass through a tavern in Alicante, to a hookah den and eventually arrive in the courtyard garden adorned with birdcages, feeling as if you’ve been transported to another world. Menu offerings range from Neopolitan pizzas to Beirut mezes and Moroccan tajines. Contact them at [email protected]
Via A. del Verrocchio 8/r, near Santa Croce
Tel. +39 (0) 55.234.1100
The food at this upscale trattoria is fantastic and surprising in a way that may have you swooning over an ingredient you never thought you cared for. From Chef Fabio Picchi's creamy crostini di fegatini (a savory chicken-liver spread) to the trippa insalata (cold tripe salad) with parsley and garlic, each dish is an epiphany. Around the corner is Cibreino, Cibreo's sister restaurant, with a shorter menu and a no-reservations policy. Email: [email protected].
Viale dei Mille, 20r
The best gelateria in a town full of gelaterias. Eat outside with the Florentines who have come to start the weekend early. Inquire about their chilly scoops of heaven at [email protected].
Via del Monte alle Croci, 10r
Tel. + 39-055-234-2483
Sample the rich aperitivi ranging from cheese ravioli to crisp artichoke salad at this great wine bar. Email them from their website or send messages to [email protected].
Teatro del Sale
Via dei Macci, 11
Tel. +39 (55) 20011492
Unconventional star chef Fabio Picchi has created a very special eatery.
After dining guests are entertained with live music, theatre and cabaret. Inspired by traditional Tuscan food, the restaurant is a private club but you can become a member at the door for 5 Euros. Great fun!
Via dei Fossi, 7 R
Tel. +39 (0) 55.287.683
For 20 years, the friendly Antonella Pratesi has been doing business in the peaceful courtyard, once part of the stables of the Palazzo Fossombroni. Her shop has several rooms full of curios, paintings, glassware, books, furniture and decorative objects. She searches for the unusual and usually succeeds. It’s a fascinating mixture of odds and ends and it's worth the visit.
Via del Sole 37/r, near Santa Maria Novella
Tel. +39 (0) 55.282.533
Cellerini is a Florentine institution in a city seemingly obsessed with the leather jacket. Contemporary shapes, bold colors and exemplary finishing distinguish the jackets, handbags and pretty much everything else here from all the other leather goods in Florence. The staff is friendly and attentive and they will make items to order.
Via Santo Spirito, 11
Tel. +39 (0) 55.289.057
The shop is in the back of a gated courtyard and carries womens's clothing, shoes, and accessories. The designer, Paola Quadrettie, is well known in Florence for her modern and meticulous made-to-order designs. Casual separates and special occassions dresses. Prices range from 250 to 10,000 Euros.
Via Santo Spirito, 58
Tel. +39 (0) 55.212.972
Oversized jewelry tha't bold in design is what you'll get from this Florentine jewelry designer. She works with plastic resin and her collection inlcudes over 8000 pieces including earrings coated with shiny film and engraved. Prices range from 10 to 300 Euros.
Via Mihelozzi, 17r
Tel. +39 (0) 55.216.246
City men, and particularly New Yorkers where walking is compulsory, tend to appreciate fine shoes. This fourth generation mens's shoemaker turns out the finest custom shoes imaginable in the best of leathers and other materials. These are shoe's, that if you take care of, will last your life.
Via Santo Spirito, 5r
Tel. +39 (0) 55.213.255
Where do you go for orignal prints? The graphic artist, Gianni Rafaelli, uses a 500 year old technique of fashioning etchings from copper plates to turn out limited edition prints. The prints range from the Renaissance era to modern images of cars and other modern day objects. Prices range from 30 to 400 Euros.
Via dei Sassetti, 5
Tel. +39 (055) 215.160
This Florentine club has been operating since 1978 and is more lounge than disco. A restaurant booking earns you direct access to the place. The atmosphere, having undergone a renovation with a futuristic look, is very polished. BeBop Via dei Servi 76/r BeBop is especially good for blues and jazz. On other nights, Bebop also offers a good range of music from different genres onstage, including loud, live music and even a Beatles night. .
Maggio Musicale Fiorentina Teatro Comunale
Corso Italia 16, Lungarno North
Tel. +39 (055) 215.1158
Via Alamanni 39
Tel. +39 (055) 215.0804 or 800.11.2211
The Maggio Musicale Fiorentina, a series of internationally acclaimed concerts and recitals, is held from late April through June. Other events including opera, ballet, and additional concerts, occur regularly throughout the year at different venues in town.
Via de' Bardi 2, near San Niccolu
Tel. +39 (055) 234.0259
Montecarla brings a lot of character to the nightlife scene in Florence. On its two crowded floors people sip cocktails against a backdrop of exotic flowers, leopard-print chairs, chintz, and red walls and floors. There’s generally good music and dancing as well.
Via dei Renai 17/r, near San Niccolu
Tel. +39 (055) 234.3647
Named after the famous cocktail (equal parts gin, martini rosso and campari) this bar is located in the San Niccolo district and is now one of the trendiest places in town. Intimate atmosphere, soft music, excellent cocktails, crostini and focacce. It teems with well-dressed young Florentines at happy hour.
La Dolce Vita
Piazza del Carmine
For a perfect happy hour and buffet, La Dolce Vita provides an easygoing vibe, continuously updated contemporary art and a DJ at night. Stop by and make some friends.
Piazza Ferrucci, 1r
Tel. +39 (55) 0516926
This two storey attractive club has a round bar on the main floor. Great to meet and talk! The basement features DJs, films and live bands.