Important cultural, economic, financial and trade center in the Middle Ages, Florence, in the modern age has served as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany with the De Medici's and Lorena's family. After the unification of the country, it was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871.
Our tour starts with the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, one of the most beautiful churches of Florence, with its facade playing with the contrast between white and dark marbles. Do not miss the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella at number 16 of via della scala, in the picturesque setting of the homonym convent. The oldest historic pharmacy in Europe, it has become at the present day perfumery and herbalist's shop. To visit the frescoed sacristy, the museum, the old apothecary and the herb garden.
Memories and emotions of the past are transformed into timeless objects in Bottega di Corte, fine antiques and vintage boutique located in the picturesque setting of the old Palazzo Da Magnale's court, but also in the boutique Barbara Gallorini Antichità. If you are looking for amazing hats, at No. 11 / 13r of Via della Spada there is Grevi, a company founded in 1875: here there are hats of all shapes and all sizes, produced in the Signa's factory and perfected by hand by embroiderers.
Not far away another piece of Florentine history with the flagship store of Richard Ginori, the historic porcelain company which represents the excellence of Made in Italy. Founded by the marquis Carlo Ginori in 1735, the Ginori Manufactory was purchased in 2013 by the Gucci Group, under the artistic direction of Alessandro Michele.
After a visit to theMuseo Ferragamo, dedicated to the history of Italian fashion brand, you can have a break at Amblé, in the charming Piazzetta dei Del Ben. Here you can relax with a fruit and vegetable centrifuged, but also buy modern antiques and vintage garden furniture. On this square don't miss two boutique that mix vintage clothing and niche brand: Boutique Nadine and Marie Antoinette Firenze. Not far you can find vintage pieces and works of art in the Ad’Opera Concept Store (via dei Fossi n° 7).
Another symbol of Florence is Santa Maria del Fiore, with the dome of Brunelleschi and Giotto's bell tower. The dome is still a mystery in the history of architecture, due to its grandeur and its octagonal shape, made without the use of ribs and armor, while the tall and slender bell tower tells fascinating stories, from Adam and Eve to the creation of planets, up to the virtues, to the arts, to the sacraments and to the prophets.
Not far away the ancient Basilica di San Lorenzo and the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the first Medici residence. Here it is worth visiting the concept store La Ménagère, not just a restaurant and coffee bar, as well as a shop for kitchen's tools and a florist. Another gourmet break at Konnubio restaurant. Here not only Tuscan cuisine, but also international cuisine and vegetarian dishes made favoring organic and farm-to-table ingredients. Adjacent to the restaurant, another paradise for lovers of vintage. Located in a former wallpaper shop, Ub Firenze offers modern objects, in addition to the amazing vintage wallpaper.
Ancient pottery, oil paintings and silverware: the last Sunday of the month Ghilberti Square is full of people for the antiques market. One part of the market, that of Piazza Annigoni, is open every day. Do not miss the Chiara Fresia's boutique Il Cuore delle Cose, where you can find handmade goodies, linen fabrics, ceramic tableware, chandeliers and magical "retrouvailles". And you can not leave Florence without trying the lampredotto's sandwich. One of the best in town is the one of the "barrocino" Sergio Pollini, in Via dei Macci No. 156.
If you are looking for cute baby toys and clothes, you should visit Baboo, at No. 23R of Via Arnolfo (another top address for children is the Baby Bottega, with online store too). For women who are looking for sophisticated garments, Moi Je Joue at number 70r of Via Vincenzo Gioberti.
The Vasari Corridor was used by the Medici to move from house rooms of Palazzo Pitti to Palazzo Vecchio, passing through the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio, without venturing on the streets. Later it was used by partisans to cross the river without being seen by the fascists. If at Palazzo Vecchio (the former seat of the Italian Parliament and today headquarters of the municipality with the offices of the Mayor) you will be amazed by the Salone dei Cinquecento, in the Uffizi Gallery you can find masterpieces of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca and many others. To visit the shops of jewels of Ponte Vecchio and then get to the Pitti Palace, the largest Florentine palace at the foot of the Boboli Gardens, one of the greatest examples of Italian gardens in the world, inspiring many other European royal gardens , including that of Versailles. Do not miss the breathtaking view from the Forte Belvedere and from the Bardini Garden.
On this side of the river, the florentine Borgo Santo Spirito district, still protected from the flow of tourists. A gin and tonic as an aperitif at the Ditta Artigianale and a gourmet dinner at Gurdulù restaurant, with delicacies cooked by Entiana Osmenzeza, such as Rossini's fillet and the ravioli of pig porchetta. Fascinating also the location, between works of art, the 50-year chandeliers andCole and Son's wallpaper signed Fornasetti. Just a short distance Berberè, the right place to eat a pizza made with semi-integrated organic flour and high quality products.
Going to the Porta Romana large square, another paradise for lovers of brocante and good food. Vintage items, recovered furniture, fabrics and shades, but also cooking tools because Desinare is also a cooking school with themed courses, including food photography and table setting.
Where to stay in Florence? In tweetandtravel's style, a few kilometers from the city, the B&B Valdirose is the perfect place to take a break: a slice of home-cooked cake, a cup of tea served with a fine vintage teapot and a good book to read in the midst of olive trees. The Valdirose is an old family home where you can feel the love for the time lived, for to the traditional recipes and for the nature. Passionate about all that is vintage, the owner Irene Berni organizes cooking classes and photographic courses. Do not miss the fabulous atmosphere that can be felt through the pages of her cookbooks: "What I like Irene" and "The Doni Irene".
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