I love looking for unique and unusual experiences when I travel. Florence is considered the birthplace of Renaissance so Renaissance art, architecture and design is everywhere you look. To be honest, though I love watching and reading about this period, I am not crazy about the dark and heavy side of Renaissance style.
The only exception are the symmetrical white church facades which took my breath away.
Basilica Sta. Croce
Piazza della Signoria
Think intricate and (usually) dark Grotesque and Moresque details, heavily carved furnishings in dark wood, and abundance of leather, lace, satin, brocade and damask is not my cup of tea.
We passed by the impressive landmarks and took some pictures from the outside, but we didn’t want to tire ourselves out with long lines and museum tours. Aside from not being allowed by my doctor to walk too much, we were after a different Firenze experience.
View of the city from Bambini Garden
To be true to my taste and style, even in the birthplace of the Renaissance, I won’t be writing about the usual renaissance and tourist highlights in Florence. There is a abundance of information about them online.
Plazza Pitti & Boboli Gardens
Serene Arno River view from crowded Ponte Vecchio
Instead I want to share with you the interesting tidbits I saw and learned about Florence and the off the beaten path that led us to unusual shops and osterias frequented by locals instead of tourists.
By wandering around, TD and I stumbled on some amazing little shops and met fabulous artisans who were proud to tell us about their crafts. Age old crafts and traditional techniques are combined with fresh designs or given a modern twist. In Firenze you will find new/modern with traditional/vintage together – with wonderful effect!
It was exhilarating being surrounded by Firenze’s rich culture, art and creativity. Everything from the authentic gelato to leather and jewelry is handmade in small quantities with an emphasis on quality, craftsmanship and uniqueness.
Pinocchio was born in Florence
#Blub graffiti by L’Arte sa Nuotare
(The Art of Swimming)
I can’t wait to share with you my off-the-beaten path experiences and the places that inspired me in Florence.
- Our Florence AirBnB
- Our favorite gelaterias and gelato flavors
- Tips on shopping for Gold in Florence without getting ripped off
- Favorite artisanal shops and products
- Florentine Street Art
- Our favorite bites in family run Osterias and Trattorias.
Osteria | ɒstəˈriːə/ |noun
1. An Italian restaurant, typically a simple or inexpensive one.
TDW Supermarket Finds
On Facebook, I’ve also created a new album called #TDWsupermarketfinds because one of the things I love about travel is going to the supermarket and trying products that I’ve never tried before. It can be overwhelming most of the time, not knowing the language or which brands are good so when I find something worth trying which ever country I find myself in, I will be posting them there.
Though Florence is an important city for Italian fashion, I found that the young locals wore a more comfortable and punk or grunge look. Boots, piercings and black was all the rage.
Did you know that Italian fashion giants, Gucci, Pucci and Cavalli are all Florentines who founded their fashion empires in Florence?
Florence has something that no one else has, though – Cavalli’s first cafe-store, decked out in his characteristic animal print and stingray-leather walls, it’s a terribly fashionable place to get a perfect coffee or Negroni cocktail (which was invented in the very same spot, ninety years ago when it was known as Bar Casoni) after an overwhelming visit to the Cavalli boutique. – Walkabout Florence
Florence is also home to Ferragamo. A medieval palazzo houses their headquarters and the Salvatore Ferragamo shoe museum.
Often jokingly referred to as the “modern day Medici”, the influential Ferragamo family, made wealthy by Salvatore Ferragamo’s fabulous taste in shoes, now not only owns one of the most important fashion houses in Italy, but also own some of Florence’s most stunning properties and hotels.– Walkabout Florence
Have you ever been to Florence? What was most the most memorable thing about Firenze for you? If you’ve never been, I would love to know why you want to visit it and what attractions or experiences would you like to have in Firenze! Drop me a comment below.