Travel like a local

City & Culture

A Brief Guide to Florence

I went to Florence for the weekend for a friend's wedding and had a few spare moments to explore some of the city's hidden treasures. Short trips always leave you wanting more, which is exactly how I love to leave a city. 

Stay

Four Seasons Florence

Beautiful decor and lush expansive gardens. The spa facilities are incredible; complete with outdoor lap pool, Santa Maria Novella cosmetics and giant his and her sauna and steam rooms. 

Hotel Santa Maria Novella

Located on the square of the same name, rooms overlook the beautiful church. The boutique hotel features cozy interiors with beautiful emerald green sofas and a sophisticated bar perfect for an afternoon aperitif. 

 

Eat

Buca Mario

Delicious pastas, vegetables and the best house wines. Everything is made using the freshest ingredients and there are truffle dishes galore. The dessert cart won't fail to impress with seasonal berries, homemade tirimisu and more. 

Dita Artiginalli

For your cold brew coffee fix on a hot summer's day. You can also try their brunch which offers California style favorites like quinoa grain bowls and poached eggs. 

#RAW

I didn't get to visit this spot because I was short on time but if the unlimited fruit carts and gelaterias around the city don't satisfy your craving for raw vegan foods, this is a contemporary vegan restaurant serving kale salads and superfood smoothies.

 

Shop

Sunday Market at Piazza della Santissima

An incredible display of local and artisan products made in and near Florence. Organic produce, vegan and gluten free baked goods (try the sugar free apple cake!), cashmere hand dyed shibori scarves, olive wood cheese boards, essential oils sourced from nearby farms and so much more. 

Luisa Via Roma

No trip to Florence is complete without a stop at this boutique department store offering a curated selection of Italian favorites from brands like MSGM, Gucci, Marni and up and coming names you will learn of here first. 

Midinette 

Perfect tailoring and incredible, modern and minimal design. Fabrics sourced in Italy and handmade in Florence. This was a special find and I left with beautiful and delicate pieces I won't find anywhere else. 

Ottod'ame 

Another local Italian designer that is hard to come by in a world of social media. Think butter-soft leather jackets, velvet platform sandals, flowy chiffon dresses and all tailored in perfect quality and fit. 

Farmacia Santa Maria Novella

The most bespoke pharmacy and herbalist you will ever encounter, the space itself is a work of art. From the painted ceilings and the frescoed walls to the giant crystal chandeliers and wood carved furniture, you can drop in for a visit even without buying anything. Shop for rose water and natural herbal remedies as well as natural skincare products and body care. 

 

Do

Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

This incredible palazzo blew me away with its frescoes and murals. Truly bespoke Italian art of the Baroque and Roccoco era, no corner was left untouched with insanely accurate attention to detail. From the brocade walls to the handstitched tapestries, this palace is the epitome of Florentine design. The beautiful gardens surrounding the property are perfect for an afternoon picnic overlooking the scenic clay roofs of the city's skyline and there are enough shaded corners to seclude yourself for a nap or read. 

 Church of Santa Maria Novella

Incredibly beautifully from the inside and out, another beautiful example of bespoke Italian Renaissance architecture.