Florence

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Chanel-style jacket customised with faux fur cuffs – Tailor-made; Jeans – Abercrombie & Fitch similar here; Shoes – Nine West; Bag – Louis Vuitton vintage

I’ve often wondered what it is about Florence that makes it so special for so many people. There are lots of beautiful cities in the world but I’ve yet to meet a person that thinks that Florence is just meh…Maybe it’s the fact that there are so many intact Renaissance buildings, and so few modern ones, which is rare for any city. Even the roads and pavements with their distinctive ‘stab marks’ (last pic) seem untouched by time. There’s also the fact that like the rest of Tuscany, what’s attractive is not just the beauty of the place, but the lifestyle that goes with it – amazing food, beautiful clothes, and of course, the best gelato in the world.

I also think that Florence is the probably the most romantic city I’ve been too. It seems a strange thing to say but I always seem to imagine Florence at sunset. There’s some sort of magical orange light about it at all hours of the day. I’m sure it’s just the colour of the buildings that makes it seem that way, but it’s certainly beautiful. My Italian family lives quite close to Florence, and it was always my favourite place to go for a date… especially in the winter, when they go all out with the christmas lights and it’s not 40c degrees outside. I would love to go to a cosy trattoria for lunch (they all seem to be amazing), have some wine, then go for a stroll through the alleys in search of gelato or coffee. For sunset my favourite place is piazza Michelangelo, which is the highest point in Florence, so that you see the entire city bathed in orange light.

Eating: The great thing about Florence is that even in the most touristy areas you can find amazing restaurants. Maybe avoid the hot spots such as piazza Signoria – I’m sure the food is fine but you’ll just be stung for the location, and it’s such a short walk to all the good alleyway trattorias.

Some of my favourites are Cantinetta dei Verrazzano, which is a beautiful wineshop with a few tables where you can have amazing charcuterie with your chosen wine, and Le Tre Panche, which means the ‘three benches’ because that’s literally what it is. Book ahead as it’s tiny and popular.

Then there’s the ultimate – Cibreo. Seriously, if you’re in Florence – go here. It is the most authentic Tuscan food I’ve ever had. My family have lived in Tuscany for generations and even they haven’t heard of some of the recipes they have. If you’re willing to splash the cash they have a restaurant, and if you’re on a tighter budget – there’s a very reasonably priced trattoria which is great. (I’ve been to both and parts of the menu are exactly the same!) I’m not usually one to care about service but these guys seem to have a way of making you feel like you’re the only people at the restaurant.

If you only feel like a snack I Due Fratellini is a literal hole in the wall in Via dei Cimatori that has delicious mini panini served with a small glass of wine that you have right there in the street.

Florence

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