By Caroline Biggs

Published on June 14, 2015

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

where to stay

j.k. place firenze

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 7;
+39 055 264 5181; jkplace.com

A stunning courtyard and an unrivaled terrace overlooking the city’s rooftops make the centrally located J.K. Place a popular spot for savvy travelers. Comfortable rooms (designed by Michele Bönan) are outfitted with luxurious linens, and the complimentary treats, along with the exceptional customer service, ensure that guests feel right at home during their stay.

palazzo vecchietti

Via degli Strozzi, 4;
+39 055 230 2802; palazzovecchietti.com

Located in a 15th-century structure (with interiors also designed by Michele Bönan), this historic residence is just a short walk from the famed Palazzo Strozzi. The rooms’ neutral interiors are full of museum-worthy details (highlights include works by celebrated sculptor Giambologna and students of Florence’s fine art school).

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what to do

galleria degli uffizi

Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6;
+39 055 238 8651; uffizi.org

Considered one of the most beautiful museums in the world, the Uffizi showcases floor after floor of masterpieces by geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli. With so much to see, be sure to dedicate at least two days to touring this revered institution.

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cattedrale di santa maria del fiore

Piazza del Duomo,
+39 055 230 2885; ilgrandemuseodelduomo.it

This architectural marvel is the main church of Florence and one of the largest cathedrals in the nation. The original structure of Il Duomo di Firenze (as it is usually called) dates to the 13th century, but the west façade was updated in 1887 with a marble neo-Gothic design by architect Emilio De Fabris.

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giardino di boboli

Piazza Pitti, 1;
+39 055 229 8732; uffizi.firenze.it/musei/?m=boboli

Behind the Palazzo Pitti resides one of the first and finest examples of Italian landscaping, which inspired those of many European courts. Spend an afternoon exploring its vast collection of centuries-old statues, sculptures, and Roman antiquities, as well as a wide variety of plant and tree species from all corners of the world.

giardino delle rose

Viale Giuseppe Poggi, 2;
+39 055 055

This dreamy rose garden along the path to the Piazzale Michelangelo offers breathtaking views of the city. Though it’s open year-round, the flowers are best seen from May to September.

personal concierge florence

Francesca Caligaris,
info@personalconciergeflorence.com; personalconciergeflorence.com

If you’d like to see the city through a local’s eye, consult this expert guide. Francesca Caligaris accommodates groups of all sizes and is adept at focusing on each traveler’s needs and desires.

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where to shop

mario luca giusti

Via della Vigna Nuova, 88r;
+39 055 239 9527; www.mariolucagiusti.com

A native of Florence and a celebrity fave, designer Mario Luca Giusti offers
an array of colorful acrylic dinnerware and home accessories. Stop by the company’s flagship store to select a trendsetting, jewel-toned souvenir.

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pratesi

Lungarno Corsini, 32R;
+39 055 289 488; pratesi.com

Founded in 1906, Pratesi began as a tiny embroidery shop on the outskirts of Florence. Since then, it’s grown into the ultimate source of high-quality bedding and bath linens. The company, which is still owned by the Pratesi family, is synonymous with understated luxury.

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argentiere pagliai

Borgo San Jacopo, 41;
+39 055 282 840; argentierepagliai.it

After setting up shop in 1947, Orlando Pagliai became one of the finest traditional silversmiths in Florence, and his astonishing talents earned him collaborations with the likes of Tiffany & Co. After Orlando’s death, his son Paul opened this shop in homage to his father’s historic collections.

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antico setificio fiorentino

Via Lorenzo Bartolini, 4;
+39 055 213 861; anticosetificiofiorentino.com

After passing through an iron gate and a lush green courtyard, lucky visitors discover one of the world’s last remaining silk manufacturing workshops. Utilizing 18th-century looms to create colorful silks, vibrant damasks, and opulent brocades, the Antico Setificio Fiorentino preserves a longstanding legacy of Renaissance textile art and history.

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where to eat

sed lex

Via Pier Capponi, 72;
+39 055 408 9487; sed-lex.it

This charming restaurant serves up a savory mussel soup and the best oysters in Florence. Situated on a quiet side street just steps from the Centro Storico, Sed Lex has limited seating, so be sure to make reservations well in advance.

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il parione

Via di Parione, 74/76r;
+39 055 214 005; parione.net

Offering traditional Florentine fare and a rustic ambience, this restaurant is praised for its affordable menu and hospitable service. The tastiest items on the menu include pici (a thick, hand-rolled pasta) and outstanding pesto gnocchi. (Ask for Otto; he’s the best!)
se·sto on arno

Piazza Ognissanti, 3;

+39 055 2715 2783; sestoonarno.com
Observe Florence’s breathtaking architecture from the vantage point of the Westin Excelsior’s rooftop bar and restaurant. Its spectacular panoramic views of the city and the Arno River make it the perfect spot for a special occasion and celebratory bottle of wine.

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“The Cognoscenti’s Guide to Florence: Shop and Eat Like a Florentine”

by Louise Fili and Lise Apatoff for Princeton Architectural Press 

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vivoli

Via dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7r;
+39 055 292 334; vivoli.it

Vivoli’s homemade gelato is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Its unexpected flavors, such as caramelized
pear and chocolate mousse, make this a sweet way to end any day of sightseeing.
buca lapi

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Via del Trebbio, 1r;

+39 055 213 768; bucalapi.co
Opened in 1880, this grotto-style trattoria, decorated with retro posters, is the oldest restaurant in Florence. With an extensive list of regional wines and an open kitchen where diners can watch their food being prepared, it’s known to cook up the best bistecca alla Fiorentina in the city.

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worth the trip

castello di castagneto

Via della Sassetta, 1; CAP 57022 Castagneto Carducci, Livorno;
+39 331 648 2697; castellodicastagneto.com

Located in the center of the medieval town of Castagneto Carducci, this sprawling estate (boasting one of the oldest castles in Europe) possesses bountiful gardens and picturesque views of the sea.

angiolo mariani & figli

Via di Cappello, 31; 50023 Impruneta, Florence;
+39 055 201 1414; terrecottemital.it

For a glimpse into Italian artisanal history, take a trip to the town of Impruneta to witness the impeccable work of terra-cotta sculpturist Angiolo Mariani. Using traditional pottery methods and materials, the Mariani family continues his noble legacy, using an iron oven to create vases, jars, sculptures, and other incomparably artistic pieces.