Always and forever, Florence will have my heart. I could go back there everyday and still never have enough of it. The people. Their passion. The food. The ambience. Even the tourists, nothing ever makes Florence less that what it is- BEAUTIFUL.
In Florence you can eat anywhere and everywhere there is no shortage of good restaurants. Down the road from Celine is Orbica a lovely restaurant set in a courtyard that serves delicious cheese with everything. I will admit the dessert wasn’t as inspiring but by then our bellies were full and our hearts filled with happiness we didn’t mind. The vibe too is pretty chill.
Another place to check off your list when in Florence is Panini Toscani, rated as the best or second best, depending on who you believe, place for sandwiches. Either way, we thoroughly, thoroughly, enjoyed the food and the atmosphere here. It is right next to the Duomo so views don’t come any better, literally reach out and you can touch it, and combined with the services, its pretty much a winner, top that with really scrumptious food and you’re onto something spectacularly awesome. And that doesnt even begin to describe it. When you arrive, the owners gives you a cheese tasting to determine what type of flavour cheese will go with your sandwich, there is also an array of bread to choose from because flavour matters, the ingredients are the freshest, the types of bread is endless and they help you pair your meets with cheese. Magnificent. For such a busy little cafe everything here is pretty much 100 and then some.
Also check out La Bussola, table to table its always packed and with jolly lovely people too. On our last night we met an English couple who were on their annual Florence adventure, drove down from Sorrento, filled with stories of their journey so far.
When in Florence go to all the museums you can. My favourite museum is the Uffizi if not for anything, but its vast array of artworks, it also houses two of my favourite works of art, both of which drove me to tears as I stood in awe of them. Florence also has some very fashionable and informative museums, Gucci, which I missed, and Ferragamo which I didn’t, amongst others. Gucci I will catch on my next visit, Ferrogamo I will most certainly go back and visit. Archives of the fashion house, including shoe lasts signed by actresses who wore the shoes, print scarves and personal art collections. I especially appreciated the section dedicated to Dante and Beatrice, that age old Florentine love story of the ill fated lovers. I am forever fascinated by their story- unrequited love and Dante’s brilliance as a poet. If you ever find yourself in the city, go there.
There are plenty good hotels in Florence, we stayed at the Gallery Hotel Art on the mouth of the old town, right next to the Ponte Vecchio, five minutes from the Uffizi. Owned by the Ferrogamo group, they own the entire block, and one of its retail store and museum is five minutes away- Ferragamo is to Italy what Chanel is to Paris, it seems. Gallery Hotel Art is, you guessed it, an artsy hotel but without the pretence of being so abstract it leaves you thinking wtf. They regularly host temporary exhibition to raise awareness and when we stayed it was a spoon installation in front of the hotel and one the building in an effort to raise awareness of world Hunger. Its in the centre of everything but in an alcove that gives it some quiet and distances it from the noisy tourists heading to the Uffizi or on the Ponte Vecchio. The rooms are a little snug, but it made very good use of space, the high ceilings and the sleek interior, besides the only thing we needed to do was to sleep so it served its purpose. The service was excellent, it was busy but the staff made certain to speak with everyone and acknowledged all who walked in whether they were checking in or seeking information. The doormen too were exceptionally helpful with the luggage and information. This is what really pulls a hotel together, the service and there was no shortage of good service.
Florence may not have the reputation of Paris as being the most romantic city, or the city of lights, neither of which I set much store by, although Paris is not without its charm and beauty, but Florence, with her crumble and passion, her presence and endless charm touches you in a way nowhere else can. Its the people, their zest and openness, the warmth and history… I love it, I love it, I love it so.