While every inch of Italy is replete with charm, history and, of course, epic culinary offerings, the city of Florence is worthy of adding to your bucket list, pronto. The metropolis’ many offerings are easily accessible given its compact composition of historical architecture, stacked museums, old-school Tuscan fare and trendy restaurants, bars and shops. Plus, the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—which means much of it has remained unchanged since the days when it served as the centerpiece of the Renaissance—and it’s Gucci’s hometown to boot! All these and more are reasons to book a ticket for 2018. Keep reading for inspiration on what to do once you’ve arrived.
The Fashion Girl's Guide To Florence
Where To Stay
Ad Adstra Florence : There are innumerable hotel options in the city, but this is one of the most special places we've ever stayed in. The truly magical bed and breakfast is located in Florence's coolest neighborhood, the Borgo San Frediano. It overlooks the largest private garden in all of Europe and boasts Instagram-worthy in-room decor—no two chambers are exactly alike. Plus, there's a resident dog, a Scottie who appears to be as old as the property itself. Best of all? This is affordable luxury at around $200 a night.
Where To Eat & Drink
You almost can't go wrong in Firenze when it comes to food, but here are a few spots to be certain to add to your itinerary.
Kawaii Sake Bar: If you're looking for the trendiest scene in Florence, you won't have to stray far from the hotel. Pop into Kawaii for a sake cocktail among hip locals.
Gesto: This spot, also in the Borgo San Frediano neighborhood, offers tapas-style dining that will make any American hipster feel right at home.
Mad Soul & Spirits: For people-watching and craft cocktails, this is the spot du jour.
Trattoria da Burde: This is a historic restaurant near the airport that is open only for lunch or dinner on Friday nights. It's well worth the effort in terms of distance and scheduling, however, as it's been owned by one family since 1901 and feels about as local as you can get. Plus, the wine list is incredible.
Vivo: Vivo offers local, sustainably sourced seafood—the best in Florence—in a casual setting.
Gurdulù: Here you'll find classic Italian dishes made modern alongside excellent craft cocktails.
Il Coccolo: Try trendy versions of a traditional Tuscan street food for less than two euros a pop.
Trattoria Sabatina: This is another family-run restaurant that hasn't changed in 60 years. It offers the type of super-affordable-yet-extraordinary Italian food you can only find in Italy.
Le Volpi e La'Uva: This is the wine bar of Florence, and maybe all of Italy.
Cibreo Trattoria: This spot's chef is probably the most famous in all of Florence.
Ristorante Del Fagioli: Another super-authentic spot, known for its bistecca Florentine.
Ora d'Aria: Try this Michelin-starred eatery for lunch.
Where To Shop
For high-end designers, try the Via Tornabuoni and imagine while perusing that Gucci, Pucci, Ferragamo and Cavalli were all founded in Florence. You may also want to pillage Luisa via Roma, the four-story brick-and-mortar counterpart to popular online luxury boutique LouisaviaRoma.com. It's located near the Duomo (see next slide), as are Raspini, another famed designer emporium, and La Rinascente, a supremely stylish department store.
For vintage, stick around the Borgo San Frediano—wander its narrow streets to discover understated gems like Vintage di Celeste Compostella. Marie Antoinette is a must-visit for vintage as well.
The famous Piazza dei Ciompi flea market moved to Largo Annigoni and is the spot for treasure hunting.
Oh, and get this—there is an outlet mall featuring the likes of Saint Laurent and Lanvin just 30 minutes from Florence's city center by bus.
What To Do
The Duomo : This is one of the most magnificent pieces of architecture you'll ever see, and no photos do it justice. If you're looking for the Instagram opp, however, climb the 476 steps to the top for the best views of Florence. You can also climb the Bell Tower to get a better view (read: photo) of the Duomo.
Gucci Museo : Yes, this is exactly what you think it is—and more. The Gucci Museum features pieces from the brand's archives, vintage photos, and a host of items you never knew Gucci dabbled in. Perhaps more importantly, however, it also features a store that sells clothing and other Gucci products exclusive to the location.
The Santa Trinità Basilica : Visit to view frescos pained in the 1400s that offer a glimpse at life in Florence way back when.
The Florence Cathedral: This, the fourth largest church in the world, dates back to 1434.
Santa Margherita de' Cerchi: This is the church where, according to lore, the poet Dante fell in love with Beatrice. This unrequited crush sparked much of his work.
The Mercato San Lorenzo: Snag food samples, handcrafted olive oils and more at this tourist-friendly local market.
The Uffizi: Florence's most prominent museum, the Uffizi is home to Bacchus by Caravaggio, The Birth of Venus and more.