The Delight of Florence
The capital of Tuscany and the cultural centre of Europe, Florence can be all things, to all people, all of the time. A colourful tapestry of amazing art and incredible architecture – numerous accolades rank Florence as the most beautiful city in the world.
Grand and roaring with tradition, Florence is also a modern city that pulses with stories of contemporary culture and civilisation. A thriving restaurant scene flanked by a vibrant nightlife and the flagship shops of the world’s leading fashion houses – if you’re looking to be overwhelmed, look to Florence.
Run by 3 generations of the Colzi family, iconic restaurant Trattorio Mario is more than just an initiation into authentic Florentine cooking, it’s an adventure. Not recommended for the easily intimidated, Mario’s is frenzied, noisy, crowded and sets the dining rules for your experience.
Simple wooden tables, rickety stools and hand-scribbled menus of simple but abundant dishes that change daily, this place is a lunchtime institution. Anticipate fish on Fridays, Beef Braciola on Wednesdays and the famous Tuscan bread soup Ribollita veal Lombatina daily. Surrender your pretensions and roll with the punches, it will be worth the visit.
(No reservations, no credit cards)
Caffè Letterario Le Murate
Within walking distance from the historic center, the former convent- turned-prison is one of the most culturally thriving contemporary sites in Florence today. Hard to find, the gloomy stone walls of Le Murate tell countless stories of freedom dating from the 15th century. However more recent history has pegged Le Murane as the cultural hub for a diverse crowd.
Off the courtyard, Caffè Letterario was established after the literary societies of Florence were given permission to use the former prison as a cultural venue promoting artistic dialogue and exchange. A strong line-up of events, expect lectures by well-known authors, readings, performances, film screenings, fine art exhibitions and music concerts amid a bustling atmosphere.
In all its guises, Caffe Letterario divulges an authentic look at the unique character of contemporary Florentine life to be soaked-up while you nurse a Peroni.
Clet Abraham Studio in San Niccolò
The image of Florence as entirely monumental and historical isn’t totally true, as walking around the city, you’ll probably notice something unusual about some of the street signs. For example, a Dead End sign will appear transformed as a crucifix, or the figure of a reclining figure (referencing Botticelli’s Venus maybe?) while a One Way sign will appear as Pinocchio’s ever-growing nose. The street artist responsible for stressing the urban alongside the traditional is French artist Clet Abraham.
Classically trained as a sculptor and oil painter, and resident of Florence for over 20 years, Clet’s sometimes daring, sometimes humourous guerilla sticker-art is always thought-provoking and often represents the many contradicitions around us.
Warmly acknowledged by the locals, reluctantly accepted by the establishment, Clet’s studio, tucked away in a corner of the San Niccolò neighborhood is a peppy break from the more obvious Florentine art and the chance to see the contemporary artist at work.
Dr Vranjes' Perfumery
For a dramatic initiation into the art of the senses, Dr. Paolo Vranjes, the artisan perfumer with over 30 years of experience, lures with his wonderfully atmospheric workshop-turned-boutique in the heart of the city. Combining pure natural ingredients with the finest essential oils, the famous nose of Firenze blends bespoke and off-the-peg fragrances for both the home and body.
At the heart of Dr. Vranjes’ alchemy is the notion that particular scents have the power to evoke emotionally charged memories, allowing you to also translate your Florentine experience into an evocative scent that will go home with you.
Dr.Vranjes’ perfumery captures the spirit of Florence’s atmosphere, culture and history whilst also showcasing the cities artisans; with handmade packaging, mouth-blown bottles and elegantly detailed Florentine paper.