Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, was an obvious choice for Mr de Merteuil’s birthday. To quote him ” Some people go out for drinks on their Birthday, on mine, I drink art.” And what better place to get intoxicated with art than the Uffizi Gallery, home to La Primavera, The Birth of Venus and countless other paintings, that can never leave the walls of the grand museum!
All our city breaks are planned by Mr de Merteuil with a fastidious care and are therefore absolutely stress-free for me. I would like to share with you all some insights of where to stay, eat, drink not only art and what to see in the beautiful city of Florence.
When to go to Florence
I find, that the best time to fly to Florence or any other Italian city is Autumn, when it’s warm enough to enjoy a delicious meal and cocktails al fresco and not have to cover the vintage ensemble with a coat. I’ve experienced Rome in June, Venice in April and the heat was unbearable both times!
Getting to Florence
I find it much cheaper to fly to Milan and take the very comfortable Italo express train to Florence (the journey takes 1h40minutes and gets you to Florence’s main Firenze Santa Maria Novella station), rather than be flying directly to the Amerigo Vespucci airport.
You can find all the details and prices on italotreno.it
Hotels in Florence
If you have the budget to splurge on a 5-star hotel head straight to The St. Regis Florence, a historic palace designed by Brunelleschi, located on Piazza Ognissanti 1. Or… At least stop for the best cocktails in town, I highly recommend the Banana Cream Pie, in the Winter Garden bar located inside the hotel!
In the picture I’m wearing;
late 1940s purse
Blossom tights from Wolford
Versace reading glasses
If your exquisite taste is not matched with a Swiss bank account but you still want the best of the best such as; top location, few steps from the Duomo di Firenze, and a great, clean accommodation, I highly recommend staying at the Art Apartment Giotto Suite, which you can book via Airbnb.
Caffe Gilli and beyond
The place with the best tiramisu I’ve ever tasted, mouth-watering selection of pastries and a darn good cappuccino is none other than the famous Caffe Gilli, which has sat at the dge of the Piazza della Repubblica since 1733. If you prefer something a little less touristy and favoured by the locals, head to Piazza S. Spirito where you will find many lovely restaurants such as Truttoria La Casalinga with real homely food.
“The Carousel” in the Piazza della Repubblica
In the picture I’m wearing:
couture socks from Fiori Couture
What to see in Florence
The main purpose for our trip to Florence was for Mr de Merteuil and I to see very particular paintings at the Galleria degli Uffizi and Pitti Palace, everything else was an added bonus. I strongly recommend, that you decide beforehand what is it exactly that you want to see in beautiful Florence as, you will be spoiled for choice and a weekend will not be enough to see it all without having to rush from one place to another.
- Don’t waste valuable time on standing in the queue for tickets and book everything in advance!
- Book tickets for Uffizi for 8.15am (go 15 minutes earlier to collect your tickets) and you will avoid all the crowds! We were the first ones in the museum and had 10 minutes alone with La Primavera!!!
- Allow 2-3hours for Uffizi
- Go straight from the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace and if you aim for 11am you will once again avoid the crowds!
- Don’t try to see everything on the first day, or you will not have strength left to continue your Florence adventure the next morning.
- Stroll around town with no particular destination in mind and enjoy the city and its magnificent architecture. It’s a small town so there’s very little chance that you’ll get lost.
In the picture I’m wearing a 1950s day dress, paired with pink brogues from Wittchen.
Other Florence attractions:
- Duomo designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (Piazza Duomo)
- Palazzo Vecchio (Piazza della Signoria)
- Ponte Vecchio ( For that postcard-perfect-photograph)
- Giardino di Boboli ( Breathtaking garden at the back of Pitti palace)
- Casa di Dante (Via Santa Margherita)
- Basilica di Santa Croce (Piazza di Santa Croce)
- Santa Maria Novella (Piazza di Santa Maria Novella)
- Palazzo Medici Riccardi (Via Camillo Cavour)
- Galleria dell’ Accademia – home of Michelangelo’s David (Via Ricasoli)
- Cappella Brancacci (Piazza del Carmine)
- Ponte S. Trinita (Another perfect spot for that postcard-perfect-photograph)
- Palazzo Corsini (Via del Parione)
Shopping in Florence
My favourite shop in Florence and arguably, the whole of Europe, is without doubt Aquaflor which was opened in 2011 by perfumer extraordinaire Sileno Cheloni and is located at Borgo Santa Croce 6. It’s a temple for the most beautiful perfumes and home fragrances in the world. I knew from the first whiff and few steps into this glorious boutique, that I will not leave empty handed and the only question that crossed my mind was, how on earth would I take back all that liquid in my hand luggage! Fortunately the super friendly and helpful staff, special thank you to the lovely Juliette, offered to ship my purchase, which was actually delivered to my home in two days!
As someone utterly obsessed with the scent of Neroli I can say with all honesty, that the one by Aquaflor is the best I’ve ever found and will cherish my discovery forever!
What are Your favourite places in Florence?