“I know this sounds like a cliché, but I fell in love with Florence after my first trip here. I sat in the square of Santa Maria Novella and watched the people passing by. Daily life is so different here compared to Paris. Like so many in Italy, I am inspired to walk with my head up, to look at details. You can understand the painters who passed through here, looking at the view.”
“Young Florentines adore their city, the roots of this place are so strong. Many are working to do things in a more modern way but also go out of their way to respect the traditional artisan spirit. As for my blog AlidiFirenze, it was born out of the city guide recommendations I typically saved for my Parisian friends here on holiday, always with a touch of elegant flair.”
“Clark Gable once said ‘I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee’ and we couldn’t agree more. In Florence one of my favourite stops is Café Rivoire, opened in 1872 by Enrico Rivoire, a chocolatier of the royal House of Savoy. It sits elegantly on the corner of Piazza della Signoria, overlooking the square, with a sophisticated atmosphere inside. What I adore about them is their attention to detail: even if you order just one espresso at the bar, they take as seriously as religion.”
“Once our caffeine fix has been taken care of, we head across the Ponte Vecchio, towards my favourite off-the-beaten-track museum which is located within the highest point of the Boboli gardens at the Palazzo Pitti, in the 17th century ‘Casino del Cavaliere.’ Here you’ll find an impressive porcelain section. I adore browsing the stunning oriental porcelain items, imagining that this was once the breakfast tableware of former kings and queens.
“When it comes to lunch, I typically grab a mortadella panino from Ino, a wonderful sandwich place, tucked behind the Uffizi Gallery. Otherwise my secret spot to eat on my own is Café Giacosa right off of Via Tornabuoni on Via della Spada. This local institution is a quintessential historic café and the perfect place for people-watching with a great neighbourhood feel. Get the daily pasta and eat inside.”
“After lunch, I’d take you to one of my absolute favourite shops, run by Dimitri Valloresi. Born in the San Niccolò neighbourhood, Dimitri is a leather handbag artisan whose workshop on Via d’Ardiglione is hidden away on a small street in the Oltrarno. He also has an architectural background which heavily influences the symmetry of his designs, reflecting a type of deconstructed fashion. We’d browse his artisanal hand-stitched leather bags and accessories, every item is truly one-of-a-kind.”
“Moving on, we'd go to LuisaViaRoma, which has been in existence since 1930. This is the place if you want to see the hottest styles in Italy at any given moment. What makes them stand out is how much they promote their buyers, who are the heart and soul of the store itself. Take jewellery designer Ivan Perini: he started as a goldsmith at a very young age in Florence and after 15 years LuisaViaRoma asked him to open up the jewellery market for them. Not only does he seek out the most unique pieces from often fresh new talent, he also has the technical expertise behind his curated decisions.”
“I can’t leave out a stop at Richard Ginori’s shop, home to some of the most prestigious porcelain tableware in Italy. The brand dates back to 1735, when Marquis Carlo Ginori founded his porcelain factory in the town of Doccia in Sesto Fiorentino. Nowadays it’s haute-couture to have Ginori’s ceramics in your home. A visit to the store is always fun as it is shaped like a home, each room showcases a different porcelain collection.”
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