When In… Florence

10/02/2011

The urge to write reams and reams about a city one has just visited is one I am determined to resist. As much as I would love to share the specifics of my itinerary, my most enjoyed pit-stops, curatorially-thought out must sees etc…  I fear my luxury-goods focussed, cocktail-sipping readership would mind terribly, and find it all rather dull. If you are anything like me, you are of the view that when visiting somewhere new one should buy a guidebook and find one’s own way about town, thank you very much. Of course there are must-see star attractions, in Florence’s case the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, The Duomo… but you knew that already…

With this in mind, I am not going to write specifically about my recent visit to Florence, other than to say how much I loved Franco Zeffirelli’s film Tea With Mussolini and how brilliantly that film conveyed through the presence of the formidable women of the Scorpioni a sense of the abundant classical beauty which is so much admired in this historic place and which attracted hoardes of Grand (and not so grand) tourists over the centuries. It’s a lovely film (to summarise – semi-autobiographical Franco Zeffirelli, WWII, Cher is in it… Maggie Smith won a BAFTA for it) and perfect for a wet, cold February afternoon when the thought of anywhere being hot and golden is difficult to conjour.

There are of course massive connections to the luxury goods world in Florence, this being the epicentre of luxe-leathergoods production and home to many of the workshops (I daresay factories) which turn-out handmade (and some not-so-handmade) goods for all the leading international fashion houses. As much a fashion capital as Milan, Florence is however in fashion terms very much a junior back-room beauty when thought of in relation to her glossy, fashion-forward couture counterpart further to the north.

A visit here leaves one replete with a mental beauty battery recharged to the brim with classical form. Buy a guidebook and come for a day, a week… and be sure not to blog about it in TOO much detail when you return… the Scorpioni would definitely not approve.

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2 Responses to “When In… Florence”

  1. PuckstownLane Says:

    I broadly agree with your sentiment about visiting iconic travel destinations. At the same time, I was hoping for one or two suggestions about non-ersatz experiences in Florence, where we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary next week. Or a pointer to some interesting retailer whose products are not mirrored in every outlet in every city in the civilised world….

    • The Client Says:

      Many congratulations on your upcoming wedding anniversary. I am a firm believer in creating a true sense of occasion for such celebrations and a trip to Florence is to my mind absolutely perfect.

      As you are celebrating an anniversary I would definitely recommend a visit to the Ponte Vecchio; not only a “sight” in itself, and very close to Palazzo Pitti and Uffizi Gallery, but home to many of Florence’s local jewellers, displaying their wares in tiny little shops clinging to the sides of the bridge. By way of comparison, the most similar place I can think of is the Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly. Here, you will find your beloved the perfect souvenir, and token of your love. Be sure to edit carefully as there is a huge mix of traditional, contemporary and estate jewellery, both relatively modest and eye-wateringly extravagant, with plenty of semi-precious and costume pieces to fill inbetween. Be sure to walk the length, both sides, before taking the plunge on a purchase.

      I am also not dis-inclined to bend the rules occasionally, and therefore one might pay a visit to Gucci in the luxury shopping area which centres upon Piazza degli Strozzi and via de Tornabuoni. Owned by the French mega-company PPR, it is the archetypal, multi-billion dollar global luxury brand BUT the business was originally founded in Florence in the 1920s.

      Wishing you a wonderful visit.
      The Client


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