Firenze – the city known all over the world, mainly for its history, art and fashion. Fashion is a really important part of the Italian and Florentine culture, having an ancient tradition, so we decided to explore the Tuscan capital under this particular aspect.
We only did a day trip to Florence, which was definitely not enough…but another good excuse to come back!
One and the most important tip I have to mention is – do not drive in Florence if you don’t need to. It took us around 3 hours (in total) to find the parking slot, and it was before we found out the only possibility is to leave the Fiat in the so-called garage. The cost of such garage is around 26 euro per night but they might be full in high season. You can also pre-book online (click). I would recommend to fly directly to Florence and take a taxi/transfer to the city centre. You could stay in a nice boutique hotel in the heart of the city (perhaps amazing Firenze Number Nine) and save yourself a lot of stress. I am not the best driver in the world (…), so I found driving in Firenze extremely stressful. It is very busy and you’d spend hours in traffic. Pointless! The usual ‘tourist distance’ is walkable, and with the Italian weather, it is nothing but a pleasure. We missed the majority of sightseeing because the whole process of finding the parking slot was very time-consuming. If you plan to add Firenze to your Italian Road Trip, perhaps you should consider leaving your car outside the city.
But enough complaining. Let’s focus on Florence.
Shopping for Silk
Silk shopping was my main purpose for visiting Firenze. I planned to get the Italian fabric for my wedding dress. Which better city to go to (in Europe)? We visited several places, each of which full of amazing fabrics!
There are many fabric stores in Firenze but I would really recommend visiting Bacci. This store is long and narrow, it has thousands of bolts of fabric which are arranged by category and fabric type for the most part. The cost of white silk (1m) varies from €49-€100. I got an amazing piece of 100% silk in the pink pattern for only just €20 for 1,3m as they do discounts for the ‘leftovers’. Their service was also professional. They don’t really hound you much in shops in Italy, they let you look around. We had a very nice lady who helped us a lot in making my final decision.
There are also Passementerie Toskana and Cassa tie Dessuti. Visit all of them if you have time.
I was not prepared for vintage shopping at all. I got an amazing Burberry shirt for my dad for only just above €20, and had my eyes on some really gorgeous Florentine-made Italian leather handbags from the ’60s! I wish we had more time, as we passed through quite a lot of vintage stores. The majority of Firenze vintage stores stock designer brands, such as Burberry, Cartier and Gucci. The stores and stands are every few steps from one another. I’d say make sure to dedicate 2-3 hours for a browse. Don’t miss Melrose Vintage Store, Lady Jane B. Vintage Boutique and A Ritroso!
Gucci Garden Galleria
Jagoda and I are both admirers of the brand. Not only the brand as it is today but the whole history of an Italian Fashion House Gucci. Gucci Garden Galleria is located in Palazzo della Mercanzia, which is a beautiful building itself! The landmark dates back to the 1337 and is placed between the famous Piazza Della Signoria, home to Uffizi Gallery, and Piazza di San Firenze. You could visit 3 Top Firenze spots for just one afternoon. Galleria doesn’t feature a large collection but you can see the iconic craftsmanship and creativity that have kept Gucci in the game for so long, especially the newest collaborations with the artist Ghost ( the famous Gucci Ghost logo)..
There is also a Gucci Store on the ground floor, where you could purchase the limited edition bags, scarves and the rest of iconic Gucci accessories.
What was the purpose of creating Gucci Garden? ‘The founders take the traditional retrospective concept of a museum and reimagine it as a collaborative, creative space where clothing, art, video installation, accessories, and heirlooms are showcased throughout the space, organized by design theme rather than when they were introduced.’ Is it worth visiting? Definitely YES! What I also find truly great is the possibility of taking photos and videos, which would never be allowed at the V&A Museum (London) or Metropolitan Museum (New York). It is open until 10:30 PM!
Entry to the Galleria will cost you €8 with half of the fee donated to support restoration projects around Firenze! Che bello.
Fancy Stay – Firenze Number Nine Fitness SPA Hotel
I found Number Nine on Instagram (1,6k followers). I love staying at boutique hotels as the majority of them…. have a soul. Firenze Number Nine Fitness SPA Hotel is a real hidden gem, located only a stone’s throw from the TOP attractions, such as Uffizi Gallery (10 minutes walking) and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (5 minutes walking). Number Nine is one of a kind. It is a luxurious place, featuring many designer decoration elements and artwork, but also…very laid-back. We loved the atmosphere! The staff, including the general manager, are very kind, helpful and well-dressed 🙂 No such thing as ‘strict rules’! The aim of the hotel was for the guests to feel ‘at home‘ – mission accomplished!
We loved our spacious apartment with a large hot tub. It would make a perfect honeymoon suite for sure (I couldn’t help but ask about the honeymoon offers). The hotel has a 5/5 score on Trip Advisor, with over 1897 reviews! It doesn’t happen quite often and means the place is loved by its guests. Before our visit to the Galleria, we enjoyed the hotel’s restaurant. The cuisine is a combo of Italian dishes + light and healthy food. I highly recommend ordering the Florentine Waldorf Salad with a glass of house white or a smoothie. There is also a lovely cocktail bar for the cosy evenings.
Firenze Number Nine is a popular venue for the brides-to-be (bachelorette party) or honeymooners. It is ideal for both – before or after wedding activities. Firenze Number Nine has a large Thermarium, a perfect oasis to relax and recharge after exploring Florence. For the honeymooners or newlyweds – there is the ‘Good Nights SPA’ event where you could enjoy from a glass of Prosecco and some Italian snacks. The hotel has also got some gym facilities with a personal trainer session opportunity and daily classes, such as yoga.
I plan to publish a new Destination Weddings post from Tuscany at the end of this week but meanwhile, you could check the one from last year HERE.