BREAKING THE FAST
For just 3 Euros, breakfast on a mini-croissant oozing apricot jam and an espresso while standing at the marble counter of Sieni. Near the Medici Chapels, this patisserie has been a local favourite since 1909 or for a modern take, check out Open Bar near Ponte Vecchio for a quick espresso or afternoon drinks.
THE LUNCH BUNCH
Mama Mia, Italy is so not the land of the quick sandwich lunch so get in the groove and mix it with exuberant locals at Market Centrale Upstairs – a must-have experience from those in the know. Exhausted from shopping? Refuel at Piazza Republica, Rinascente department store’s rooftop cafe before embarking on round two. Cross to the left bank and check out Zoe Bar Cafe at Via dei Renai 13/r, part of a quiet residential quarter stocked with interesting boutiques. Grab a gelato before trekking up to the majestic Piazza Michelangelo with sweeping views across Florence.
Stop at Il Bottegone in Duomo Square for a large glass of fresh watermelon juice packed with summer fruits. Inside, the cafe’s glass cases crammed with mini-bread rolls and sweet delicacies make resistance impossible. Road space may be at a premium but that hasn’t stopped flamboyant designer Roberto Cavalli from claiming half of it outside his flagship store where his Just Cavalli Cafe has become a premium fashionista-watching spot.
Luisa Via Roma is a must-have retail experience, the Loft store remains uber-cool while Zara’s Florentine offering is way different to anything found in Australian or Asian stores. Anyone experiencing shopping centre withdrawal can take the bus to Mall and shop discounted brands in style but why would you do that when trawling through Florence’s piazzas is such an authentic option. Piazza Dei Ciompi hosts an antiques market every Sunday, the streets around Santa Croce illustrate why this is such a cool neighbourhood to hang-out with its handful of new-wave shops while in Santa Spirito Piazza markets still flourish and the surrounding streets are home to a host of artisan traders.
One of Italy’s oldest cafes, Paszkowski on Central Market is a great place to kick things off as is the top floor of the Westin and the Gucci Cafe on Piazza della Signoria. La Terrazza, the Continentale boutique hotel’s chic rooftop bar is where the beautiful people sip Florence’s signature Negronis at sunset, often lingering over antipasto well into the night rather than break the spell. Others head to Locale Florence, a bar/restaurant housed in a building awash with Florentine history. www.localefirenze.it
TIME TO DINE
Splash on your favourite fragrance from Aquaflor, an amazing perfumerie in an old palazzo, www.aquaflor.it and head to Quattro Leoni for a taste of true Florentine food or book ahead for a seat in the very popular Santa il Bevitore.
For a Michelin-starred, authentic taste of Tuscany, La Bottega del Buon Caffe serves seasonal dishes amidst antique decor or for something casual, why not grab a pizza at Bussola. The ultimate in fashionable food would have to be Gucci Garden, a former iconic museum and shrine to all things Gucci that now houses a michelin-starred restaurant and art gallery. Too fabulous for words!
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