Florentines are fiercely fashion-forward. They set the trends. For the bella donnas and classy nonnas, a stroll along the street is like more of a strut down the runway.
Luisa Via Roma
Via Roma, 19/21r
Alice in Wonderland meets catwalk. Stepping into Louisa Via Roma is like entering a magical (yet, pricey) world of fashion and art. Choc-full of big brands like Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and Jimmy Choo.
Via Senese 296 A
+39 328 3971372
Florence hipsters Ilaria and Veronica Cornacchini and the big-bearded Matteo Gioli are behind the brand. Each hat is inspired by old Hollywood style – and then locally handmade. The cult following is growing internationally. Their lab/workshop is as impressive as their beautiful creations.
Via Tosinghi, 31r (Just behind Piazza della Repubblica.)
Beayukmui is about more than the beautiful clothes. The high ceilings are covered by black and white wallpaper featuring huge, bold birds of all sizes... Seagulls, dodos and cockatoos. The mesmorizing design was created and printed by Aussie artist (who now calls Florence home) Simon Miller.
22A Via della Mattonaia,
NO PHONE…online only
Swedish born, Italian trained Jimi Roos is the master of unique T-shirts. Each piece is cut and sewn by hand then embroidered using a standard sewing machine. Jimi personally creates each quirky design in his Florence studio.
Via de’ Vecchietti 20r
Shoe store on via Sassetti
+39 055 215504
Flow is one of the few multi-brand boutiques in Florence. The look is totally hipster…with everything from jeans, tops and jackets. The sales assistants are also overly hip - and amazingly model-like - but are more than happy to help. Flow’s dedicated shoe store has also opened and is just as exciting as the clothing store.
Via Calzaiuoli, 25/r
Piazza della Signoria
+39 055 21 41 92
An Italian signorina must have good gloves. Pusateri has chic leathers in all colours, ranging from subtle hues to outrageous bolds…and even the studded variety. The store’s been open in the heart of the city since 1958. Ask for a special glove fit…it’s a unique experience.
Via de’Serragli, 26r
+39 335 839 0356
Florentines are obsessed with fashion and history, so vintage clothing is obviously the real-deal. Danilo Ceri –one of Italy’s well-loved (and super hunky) sports stars–works with Italian designers on exclusive pieces like military blazers, denims and knee-high boots. His clothes date from the 1800′s to the 1960′s.
San Lorenzo markets
Piazza San Lorenzo
+39 055 290832
This is leather heaven. Perfect for handbags, belts, boots and especially jackets. But remember to play hardball…and start the bartering way down low. The surrounding shops are also good for bargains but watch out for the fake leather.
Via Sant'Agostino, 13
+39 055 212446
Design your own standout jewellery without blowing the budget. Elena Leolini and her father personally source diamonds, emeralds and sapphires from around the world and have big name clients, like David Bowie. But Le Gemme is far from flashy or over-priced. Instead the family-run business has a warm and friendly vibe. Enjoy the endless cups of coffee and story-telling which is included in the design and purchase process.
Wave: Beauty and Wellbeing
Via San Spirito, 27
The one-stop-shop for beauty, hair, make-up, nails and styling. Especially good for blonde foils or a tint. Wave uses and stocks natural Aveda products. When the stylists aren’t cutting hair in the salon, they’re out working on a local film or photo shoot. Check out the salon’s crazy chandelier made of bicycle wheels.
Factory Outlets: The Mall
Via Europa 8, 50060 Leccio Reggello,
If your credit card is in serious meltdown mode, The Mall outlet stores are the answer. Get up to 70 per-cent off your favourite designers – Armani, Gucci, Pucci, Stella McCartney and Ermenegildo Zegna. The outlets are a bit of a schlep –a good 30km out of Florence – but the trip will be well worth it.
East at Riva Lofts
Via Baccio Bandinelli, 98
+39 055 713 0272
Great Thai, Japanese and modern cuisine is hard to find in Florence, but East at Riva Lofts Hotel is a saviour. Aussie Anna Bowcock is the cook and director. Look out for their lazy Sunday breakfasts by the pool - scoff pancakes, eggs and smoked salmon as you chill to fresh beats.
Dario Cecchini, The Famed Butcher of Panzano
Via XX July 11 Panzano, Chianti Florence
This man knows meat. Dario Cecchini is Italy’s Jamie Oliver and has tourists trotting across the globe to dine at his place. Grab a fresh burger or go the whole hog - six meat courses, vegies, olive oil, bread, wine, coffee, cake and brandy. All for $60. Arrive on an empty stomach. You’ve been warned!
Borgo San Frediano, 17R
Forget the tourist traps, this is where real Italians come to play. The live music line-up changes each week, with everything from jazz, hip-hop, cover bands, and crowd favourite, The Real Mother Funkers. From the stage, performers wave to fans out in the street thanks to a cheeky glass wall.
AND IF YOU ONLY HAVE 24 HOURS…
Start the day with some power yoga at 19r Yoga and Pilates studio near the famous River Arno. (Via dei Bardi, 19r Melissa +39 3391970902)
Cross the road and treat yourself to a cappuccino and chocolate croissant or green tea and prosciutto panini at Golden View Open Bar. (Via dei Bardi, 58r, +39 055214502) Admire the buff rowers on the river or watch the bellas at the bar holding a coffee in one hand and a pooch in the other.
Use that caffeine buzz to shop-it-up on the Ponte Vecchio. The iconic bridge is literally dripping in jewellery shops…good bargains are possible and most things are tax-free.
Continue over the bridge to Florence’s historic centre. Art and culture are literally slapping you in the face. Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the marble statue of David - will leave you breathless. (Galleria dell'Accademia, Via Ricasoli 58-60, +39 055 294883) Pre-book or jump on a tour to avoid the crazy lines.
Grab a slice of pizza from any street corner and take the time for some serious people watching.
Frock-up and head to the trendy Santo Spirito for ‘aperitivo’ – cocktails and a free selection of hearty antipasti - at Volume Cafe (Piazza Santo Spirito, 5r). You won’t find a more diverse group of people or a more laid back atmosphere.
Twirl Linguine con le Vongole onto your fork at Caffé Ricchi. Save some room for the homemade panna cotta and tiramisu. (Piazza di Santo Spirito, 8, +39 055 280830)
Slip-in a sneaky evening cocktail or Italian Spritz at Dolce Vita Bar (Piazza del Carmine, 5 +39 055 284595) and from there, just follow the crowd to Borgo San Frediano. The hip Italians will be hanging in the bars and on the streets until the sun rises.