Yesterday I arrived home after an Italian mini-break. I should state now that Rome is my all time favourite city … a bold statement I know! but having been fortunate enough wander round cities of all shapes and sizes, near and far, nowhere quite captures the passion of Rome. I love the warmth of its buildings and people, the architectural surprises, colour and grandeur and its grubbiness. By comparison, Florence doesn’t really stand a chance. Looking round it for the first time in 10 years I was surprised by all the neat, fun little bits of day-to-day design that make Italy one of the best things about living in Europe and Florence a lot cooler than it seems.
Vintage BoutiquesThe abundance of vintage shops means you can find Valentino, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry and even furniture for quite reasonable prices. My favourites were Street Doing on Via dei Servi for A LOT of anything and everything and an owner who likes to dress you up. The beautifully presented Boutique Nadine on Via de’Benci and the more charity shop vibe of Senzeporta on Via S.Agostino (if you’re up for a good rummage).
Artisan WorkshopsThe Oltrarno district, opposite the Piazza de Pitti on the non-Duomo side of Florence is my favourite. The tiny streets are crammed with studios and shops ranging from Chandelier repairers, seamstresses, printers and bookbinders. I bought my A5 lithograph for 8€ from a little shop on Sdrucciolo de Pitti. There was a stunning inked in version, four times the size for 70€ that I loved but was sensible enough to realise that eating for the rest of my holiday was more important. My book came from Lorenzo e Marco on Via degli Alfani and cost 5€.
ArchitectureThe fabric of Florence as a city is every bit as magical as I remembered. Above and below – Statues, colours, architectural details and decoration.GucciA postcard from the Gucci Museo on Pizza Della Signoria. Three floors of luxury design heaven including reading room, cafe (with G shaped sugars) and limited edition Gucci pieces.