Montepulciano

If you’re travelling by car and got a place to stay at in Florence, you really should go and discover Tuscany. To feel the Tuscan rhythm of life, try Montepulciano. This medieval village rests atop a narrow hill and can be found in an unbelievably postcard-perfect landscape, filled with cypress trees and sun-drenched vineyards…The best way to discover the elegant historic center is on foot: as you walk along, you’ll come across Renaissance palazzos before reaching – at the highest point of Montepulciano – the main piazza. But despite its beauty, Montepulciano is also world-famous for its Vino Nobile, considered one of the best Tuscan wines in the world, made with grapes coming from vineyards surrounding the village. Also, it’s worth visiting the local food stores (I mean, their salami and cheese… well. I can’t believe I ate all the supplies I brought home!) and the oldest library in town – Magnanet Libreria Di Lorenzo Rago. The owner is the third generation of the family that opened it and there are more than 15,000 books (!) in their archives. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this place…

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Florence Addresses

Other than Trattoria Sostanza and Gucci Garden, which I wrote about in separate posts, here are five more addresses I found interesting in Florence.

Florence’s late-19th-century steel-and-glass market building in San Lorenzo underwent a makeover in 2014 when the second floor was converted into a contemporary food hall. On the first floor of the structure, traditional butchers, fishmongers and fruit/vegetable vendors supply the Florentines. But climb the staircase to the upper level and enter Mercato Centrale, a food-lover’s’ heaven that showcases the very best of Italian regional food. It’s a lively space offering sensual overload, and the range of gustatory delights is nothing short of eye-popping.

Piazza del Mercato Centrale 4

If you’ve been to Trattoria Sostanza (or didn’t catch a table…), go to Buca Lapi. It’s not as off-the-radar, but the restaurant serves classical, Tuscan food in a cozy, home-made way.

Via del Trebbio 1r

The name on everybody’s lips these days in Florence is La Ménagère, a space near San Lorenzo market that combines a restaurant, tapas bar, flower shop (which is actually the best part) and a home-accessories collection, concept-store-style. This place impresses with its details and is highly Instagrammable. Not entirely sure of the food though…

Via de’ Ginori 8

Procacci is this chic go-to spot for Florentines, who are exhausted after their shopping on the fancy Via de Tornabuoni. Delicious, little sandwhiches with truffle paste will make you addicted after the first bite…

Via de’ Tornabuoni 64R

Atelier Dipinti e Bijoux is Stefania Pastacaldi’s boutique. It’s the place where you can find exclusive items of refined, properly Italian jewelry. Gorgeous animal miniatures, used later on in jewellery, is the atelier’s signature. All strictly hand-made.

Via del Sole 24r

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

 

Gucci Garden

Florence is Gucci, Gucci is Florence. Gucci Garden is a must-see in this city, but I wouldn’t take it too seriously. I mean, it’s not a museum written with capital ‘M’. Still, it’s an experience, like anything Gucci and Alessandro Michele pull off together. Inside the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, the museo is housed, conceived by creative director Alessandro Michele. The newly designed space features a store with one-of-a-kind items, the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura and the Gucci Garden Galleria exhibition rooms curated by critic Maria Luisa Frisa. Divided into a series of themed rooms, the Gucci Garden Galleria narrates the brand’s new vision while celebrating the archives including old advertising campaigns, artisans’ images, retro objects. From the Double G motif to Michele’s Guccification, the house’s universe is presented in a subverted, slightly surreal way. ‘Paraphernalia’ is a room dedicated to signature codes and symbols that define Gucci’s identity while ‘Cosmorama’ reveals the historical jet-set customer of Gucci. My favourite part? Anything by Tom Ford (the white slit dress, iconic kamasutra bomber jacket…). Was quite surprised the brand completely erased Frida Gianini from its history, though…
Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Trattoria Sostanza in Florence

A fact: Trattoria Sostanza is the best restaurant in Florence. Please, if you’re planning a trip to Tusany’s capital, book your table here (at least three-four days in advance). This small restaurant, with a toilet located in the back of the kitchen (yes, you have to go through the entire kitchen, which also means meeting the very Italian cooks!), is the best kept secret of the locals. It might be classical, Tuscan cuisine, with dishes that sound like regular Italian plates. But the taste of every single thing here is heaven. From the Florentine steak and artichoke pie to tortellini stuffed with signature ragout and a plate of tomatoes from the chef’s garden, Trattoria Sostanza really shows what finest Italian food is, in an unpretentious, home-made way. If you’re lucky with the season, you will get wild strawberries (straight from a Sicilian farmer) with your meringue cake – which is a masterpiece. Again, go there. Thank me later.

Via del Porcellana, 25/R / Florence

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.