Out of all the cities I´ve been fortunate to visit for work or vacations, Florence holds a special place in my heart. It´s been nearly 15 years since my initial experience at the Pitti Uomo fair, and I can still vividly recall the overwhelming excitement I felt when I first walked through the gates of Fortezza da Basso. Since then, I´ve had the pleasure of returning to this captivating city about 20 to 30 times, and I’ve come to love every single aspect it has to offer.Florence during Pitti is an entirely unique experience compared to the rest of the year. What many might argue to be the cultural and historical center of Italy, the city comes alive with an affluence of tailored men, bustling restaurants, and Piazza della Repubblica pulsating with buyers, journalists, and brand representatives, all savoring their obligatory Negronis at Gillis.
The Ultimate Rooftop Retreat - Unleashing Florence's Hidden Gem
Throughout my years of exploring Florence, I've had the opportunity to stay in several accommodations, ranging from charming Airbnb apartments to elegant hotels. Each option has its merits and drawbacks.The summer heat in Florence can be unforgiving, but this refreshing rooftop pool transformed my stay into something extraordinary. Hotel Kraft, not only offered this coveted amenity but also boasts reasonable prices, ensuring a comfortable and memorable experience. Starting the day with a rejuvenating swim or enjoying a quick dip before dinner became an absolute game changer. Their delightful rooftop restaurant adds to the overall appeal. Located west of the city center, near the enchanting Arno River, the hotel proves exceptionally convenient for those attending events at the Fortezza.
Never a Bad Meal in Florence – My Favorite Restaurants
Aside Florence's breathtaking beauty and architectural wonders, the culinary scene in this city is an absolute treat.
Despite not being known for fine dining or Michelin stars, there are few cities I´ve been to with a higher standard when it comes to the dining experience. The traditional Florentine kitchen showcases an array of fresh vegetables, rustic ragus, and, of course, the renowned Bistecca Fiorentina—a mouthwatering T-bone steak typically served to share between 2 to 3 people. In fact, I can’t recall a single underwhelming meal during all my visits to Florence.
While many menus exhibit similarities, there are a handful of restaurants that truly stand out in my opinion:
Trattoria Sostanza - A Hidden Gem
Nestled on the charming Via del Porcellana, between the picturesque river Arno and the bustling Santa Maria Novella train station, lies my absolute favorite dining spot in Florence. Don't let its unassuming appearance deceive you; this is where traditional Tuscan cuisine truly shines in an intimate, unpretentious, and inviting setting. If you're anticipating a fancy affair, think again. Trattoria Sostanza offers a delightful taste of authenticity.When you visit, be sure to indulge in their renowned butter chicken, a dish that never fails to impress, or their incredible artichoke omelet.
Trattoria Cammillo - A Florentine Dining Icon
Positioned just beyond the enchanting Ponte Santa Trinita, Trattoria Cammillo stands as an esteemed institution of Florentine cuisine. This larger restaurant boasts spacious seating and an extensive menu, surpassing Sostanza in scale. Nevertheless, it maintains an unwavering commitment to excellence.
With an impressive wine list and a range of classic offerings, Trattoria Cammillo ensures a fulfilling and delightful dining experience. Prepare to walk away both satisfied and content, as you savor the flavors of this legendary establishment.
La Giostra - A Regal Culinary Icon
Located on the street Borgo Pinti, La Giostra was established over two decades ago by Prince Dimitri Habsburg-Lorraine. Today, it stands proudly as one of Florence's most iconic restaurants, renowned for its specialization in the exquisite Bistecca Fiorentina. The charismatic owner's walls adorned with photos featuring world famous actors and musicians add to the restaurant's charm and allure.
4 Leoni - Al Fresco Dining Delight
While Florence boasts an excellent standard of restaurants overall, it's surprisingly rare to find establishments with ample outdoor seating. When it comes to lunchtime, my top choice is 4 Leoni, conveniently situated on the corner of Piazza della Passera. What steals the show for me? Their delectable lasagna, a must-try dish that never disappoints.
Savor the Negroni Experience
No guide to Florence would be complete without a guide to my favorite bars:
Harry's Bar - A Classic Elegance
Nestled between two picturesque bridges spanning the Arno River, the esteemed Harry's Bar awaits. With its origins rooted in Venice, this timeless establishment exudes a nostalgic elegance of yesteryears, with impeccably dressed waiters and barmen donning white dinner jackets serving flawless cocktail creations. During the Pitti fair, Harry's Bar becomes a vibrant hub, bustling with fashionable peacocks attending the numerous pre-dinner cocktails.
Paszkowski - Where the Night Comes Alive
To round off the night, my preferred destination is Piazza della Repubblica, the heart of evening activities during Pitti. While Caffé Gilli, the oldest café in Florence with a rich history spanning over 270 years, may be familiar to many, I find myself drawn to its neighboring bar, Paszkowski. This lively spot remains a popular meeting point for friends from the industry, exuding a distinct ambiance and offering spacious sofas to accommodate larger groups.
The Opulent Haven of Four Seasons Hotel
For those fortunate enough to indulge in the exquisite luxury of the Four Seasons in Florence, a truly remarkable experience awaits. Regarded not only as the finest hotel in the city but also as one of the premier Four Seasons resorts globally, it surpasses expectations in every aspect. Situated in the northeastern part of the city, the hotel boasts a secluded and awe-inspiring garden, providing a serene oasis amidst the bustling surroundings. Beyond its lavish accommodations, the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence is also a haven for those seeking a memorable drink.
Your Outfit For Florence
This is what we would wear for a weekend in Florence.