Florence is the exaltation of art and fashion, to the point of being a prominent symbol of Italian style in the world.
Tuscany has always been one of the most coveted destinations for any traveler in search of the true essence of the Renaissance, which continues to be the most fascinating and captivating chapter of history.
And Florence itself encapsulates the wonders of that era, just think of the Uffizi Gallery, populated by geniuses and masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Brunelleschi, just to name a few.
Florence is also the capital of fashion, with Palazzo Pitti being the designated place. But more than the textile industry itself, it is the wisdom of those ideas that can shape artistic models in satin and silk even before they are cut.
From this enchanted world, it is natural and spontaneous to cross the Ponte Vecchio and find oneself in that romantic Florence. Where every piece conceals wonderful surprises and enchanting love stories, waiting to be discovered and, above all, experienced.
It is a marvel to explore the world of perfumes and flavors of Tuscany during a joyful and engaging food and wine tour in Florence. Under the professional and exclusive guidance of a gourmet expert, it will be exciting to learn, appreciate, and savor the typical products of Tuscany, while also taking advantage of these magical moments to visit the most important monuments of the famous art city.
Let’s start our tour at the Mercato Centrale. Here, all the senses are involved after being enticed by the shades of yellow of the pecorino cheeses, the fresh scent of olive oil, the taste of Florentine salami with fennel seeds, or the rough crust of bread baked in a wood-fired oven.
Before embarking on further discoveries, it is essential to sip a good espresso at one of the city’s famous bars. It is also delightful to visit an award-winning gelateria, to be in the presence of a new palette of colors and flavors.
Alternatively, a wine tasting of Tuscan wines in a historic wine shop in the city center is excellent. One cannot miss a visit to what is considered the cathedral of the “Fiorentina” steak, the ancient Cecchini butcher shop, where “Mister Cecchini” cuts and cooks the finest steaks in Italy for you. It is a spectacle like no other.
And if one wishes to reach the highest level of Florentine cuisine, with sophistication, style, and refinement, then Enoteca Pinchiorri awaits. Upon request, the exclusive Gourmet Tour can be completed with a lunch break featuring typical Tuscan dishes.
ENOTECA PINCHIORRI 3 STARS
Housed in the 18th-century Palazzo Jacometti Ciofi, the prestigious Enoteca Pinchiorri Restaurant is among the most well-known and renowned establishments in Italy. It has always struck a perfect balance between the past, present, and future, seeking the best in every detail. The cuisine excels in the search for and respect of raw materials, creativity, and mastery of cooking techniques. All of this is oriented towards innovation, while still staying rooted in regional tradition.
The proprietors are Annie Féolde, who says, “We must always remember the local culture where we are because it is our identity. But we must strive to improve and keep up with the times,” and Giorgio Pinchiorri, who emphasizes, “I have been and continue to be an impulsive man, guided by intuition and a sixth sense.” Then there’s Chef Riccardo Monco: “I create and savor with all my senses.”
BORGO SAN JACOPO 1 STAR
Borgo San Jacopo
It overlooks the banks of the Arno River and offers a high gastronomy experience along with a memorable panorama of the Ponte Vecchio. The executive chef, Claudio Mengoni, is ready to introduce his philosophy of cooking, genuine and sincere, where his ingredients find creativity and rigor without compromise.
Flavors, colors, and shapes blend in his hands to become memorable dishes with a concrete taste. Traditional Italian dishes reinterpreted personally by the chef, carefully selected fresh ingredients, and prestigious labels from the wine cellar boasting over 900 selections. As an alternative, you can exclusively reserve the private terrace, which directly faces the Arno River, for a romantic view of the Ponte Vecchio.
GUCCI OSTERIA MASSIMO BORUTTA
1 STAR Piazza della Signoria
A culinary philosophy that creatively rides the waves of seasons, embracing elegance, humor, and sensuality from which it always draws inspiration. One foot in tradition, the other in its ceaseless evolution. Cooking the irreproducible, living in the moment together. Aiming for the future by opening doors and windows to the present.
The chef are Karime Lopez, who embodies, with all the youthful exuberance she possesses, a new culinary Renaissance, and then she shares, “What deeply inspires me are the lights, colors, ochre, and shades of brown of the walls, the historic Florentine palaces, symbols of this city of art and unique world culture, with which I visually engage every day” anda Takahiko Kondo, who freely weaves together colors and flavors from here and beyond, sprinkled with irreverent yet poetic surprises.
LA LEGGENDA DEI FRATI
1 STAR Villa Bardini
The Legend of the Friars originated in the Abbey of Abbadia Isola in Siena, and its name is derived from the legend associated with this place: one July night, three friars gathered the best shoots from their garden and ate and drank so much that they began to sing and dance without stopping. Even today, in the ancient convent, on the 11th of July, you can hear the echoes of the friars intoxicated by the fruits of their land. Abbadia Isola has been a center of research and experimentation on Tuscan gastronomy for us. Today, La Leggenda dei Frati is located in the garden of Villa Bardini, in the old stables of the art collector Stefano Bardini’s residence, now a museum connected to the restaurant. From its terrace, Florence appears in all its magnificence.
1 STAR Borgo Pinti
Let yourself be guided on a journey in search of old memories and unpredictable sensations. Every day, the choice is made for the best seasonal ingredients, supporting artisans who work with genuine and ethical methods, enhancing taste and quality. Here, the importance of farmers, craftsmanship, simplicity, handmade pasta and bread, fire and wood, tradition and passion for serving and cooking at their best is emphasized. With the exceptional opportunity to dine in a 15th-century family mansion where it is said that Leonardo da Vinci gave birth to his most famous work, the Mona Lisa: dine surrounded by cascades of flowers and candles on the fourth floor of a Renaissance building just a few steps from Palazzo Vecchio, with a magnificent view over Brunelleschi’s Dome.
1 STAR Palazzo Portinari Salvati
A true living room in the heart of Florence dedicated to socializing, with about 50 seats, open year-round from the early morning until late at night, offering a wide variety of menus available according to the time of day, from breakfast to after-dinner with unique mixology proposals. High quality is the common denominator of the offering. Local raw materials, such as Valdarno chicken and Chianina beef from the Val di Chiana, alternate with ingredients with a more international flavor and a selection of seafood. Some of Vito Mollica’s most iconic signature dishes are also featured, such as Cavatelli Cacio e Pepe with red shrimp and squid.
THE STREETS OF HIGH FASHION
The grand Italian fashion lives in the heart of the Renaissance city, on Via dei Tornabuoni: here, the historic palaces from the 1300s now house flagship stores of renowned brands such as Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Armani, Trussardi, Versace, Pomellato, Roberto Cavalli, Hermes, Tiffany & Co, and Cartier.
In the quintessential Florentine fashion street, the Emilio Pucci boutique is exhilarating: the Marquis of Barsento and undisputed king of vibrant garments. The designer was internationally dubbed “The prince of prints” by the Jet set, and who could argue? Pucci, with his bright and Mediterranean-colored prints, pioneered Italian style.
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” Marilyn Monroe used to say. And she was right. An outfit should always be adorned with a sparkling detail: can you think of anything more fitting than a diamond? The confirmation can be found in the goldsmith workshops of Ponte Vecchio, particularly in the maison of Marco Bigeco, one of the protagonists of Made in Italy jewelry.
His creations are unique because they are made using the burin technique, an engraving that gives gold a satin effect. The next stop is at Enrico Verità on Via dei Calzaiuoli, one of Italy’s oldest watchmakers. Founded in 1865, it remains one of the official retailers of the most exclusive brands. Furthermore, at Leonardo Shoes workshop, all footwear is custom-made and crafted with fine leathers.
Located on the banks of the Arno River, with a view that encompasses the Ponte Vecchio and the picturesque hills of Tuscany, The St. Regis Florence is a symbol of elegance and refined hospitality. Since the 18th century, it has been the preferred stop for travelers who seek luxury hotels. With an ideal location in the historic center, this five-star hotel allows you to immerse yourself unparalleledly in the cradle of the Renaissance.
The luxuriously furnished accommodations at The St. Regis Florence offer visitors countless secrets and experiences of Florentine culture and art. The excellent local flavors are then blended into the gourmet Tuscan cuisine of the hotel’s restaurants and bars. When it’s time to unwind, the Iridium Spa suites, in collaboration with My Blend by Clarins, offer unique personalized treatments.
THE WESTIN EXCELSIOR
Neighboring the famous Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, The Westin Excelsior, Florence combines luxurious modern accommodations with seven centuries of Florentine history. The Westin Excelsior’s presence on Piazza Ognissanti is impressive, featuring newly refurbished guest rooms, a professional staff dedicated to impeccable service, and a state-of-the-art business center. Sitting high on the banks of the Arno River, the hotel also offers spectacular views of the panoramic Tuscan countryside, the colored terracotta rooftops and the landmarks of Florence. These are just a few of the reasons it was recently named to Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List.
It is a world of light and art, of shimmering reflections and beauty brought by the magic of the river flowing below. The sparkling light of the water enters through large windows, terraces, and balconies, offering the emotion of silence mixed with the vivid colors of Florentine days and nights. A unique blend of energy and charm, a place where time is suspended, embellished by the extensive collection of 450 original works by 20th-century painters adorning the walls of rooms, halls, and corridors.
In an old 15th Century building, in the heart of Florence, a new breathtaking look has emerged in one of the historic hotels in the city. Restored to impress its guests today just as it did in the past.Form and colour come together in a perfect blend of styles: here Renaissance Florence comes to life, the innovative beauty of a classic Tuscan hotel with a modern slant in the bar and lobby. The warm shades of the Tuscan Floor relate the experiences of this hotel and the glorious bygone days of the age old capital. Every datail is reminiscent of the spirit of Florentine Hospitality. Facing the Palazzo Vecchio. The atmosphere of te suites is one of care, warmth and welcoming. The wooden beamed ceiling, four poster beds, period decorations; rich fabrics and a beautiful tapestry all help to render both the small lounge and bedroom completely unique.
Those who have the pleasure of staying at the Bernini cannot help but look up in amazement when entering the room where breakfast is served. The splendid ceiling, completely decorated with frescoes, reveals the original purpose of this room: between 1865 and 1870, the Parliament Room was indeed the seat of the parliament of the young Kingdom of Italy, when Florence was the capital.
Most of the nightclubs and pubs are in the historic center, near the Duomo and other famous squares of Florence. These streets are abundant with small establishments, especially where you can enjoy a good beer (there are many English and Irish pubs) or a nice glass of Chianti. A stop at a typical wine bar is a must to taste exquisite Tuscan specialties. South of the river, the Oltrarno area has a quieter and more bohemian nightlife, while the area around Piazza della Signoria is definitely more refined and fashionable. Furthermore, among the various streets and squares of the city, you can sometimes enjoy outdoor performances, often improvised.
The Tenax is a historic nightclub in Florence that offers house and electronic music, as well as live concerts, along with numerous events and international guests. This trendy club, mainly frequented by a young audience, organizes nights with different themes or events to cater to all tastes: from extravagant House music nights to those with commercial music, Tenax is undoubtedly a real reference point in Florence’s nightlife.
The Jazz Club is always crowded, with a relaxed atmosphere and a musical selection that ranges from jazz to blues, swing, and funky, featuring high-quality artists. Inside, the club is small and has an underground atmosphere typical of London venues. Despite being frequently visited, especially by foreign students, this club is perfect for sipping a glass of wine and enjoying excellent music.
The Garden of Parnassus
One of the unusual places to see in Florence is located within the Garden of Parnassus. It absolutely deserves a visit, especially due to the presence of a snake-shaped statue that even reminds some of a dragon. There is a legend behind this sculpture. The statue refers to the myth of Python, a serpent slain by the god Apollo on Mount Parnassus. From here, you can also admire the city of Florence from above.
The Rose Garden
Located atop the hill right next to Piazzale Michelangelo, the garden will offer you the opportunity to see Florence from an exclusive and privileged position, to enjoy the intoxicating scent and color of the flowers, and to savor, at least in part, the essence of the countryside that surrounds this city of a thousand and one nights. All of this accompanied by the sculptures by Folon.