A Fashion Lover’s Guide to Florence

La Ménagère is a multi-use space, complete with a flower shop
La Ménagère is a multi-use space, complete with a flower shop | © Filippo Bardazzi, Laura Chiaroni – SooS Chronicles / Culture Trip
Florence may look old, with its well-preserved Renaissance architecture and cobbled streets, but it’s a trendy, arty city full of great boutiques, bars and restaurants.
Art aficionados will feel right at home in Florence © Filippo Bardazzi, Laura Chiaroni – SooS Chronicles / Culture Trip

Florence’s history as the centre for arts and crafts in Italy has lasted throughout the centuries, and today, the city is still home to a wealth of places that will appeal to fashionistas. Laura Morelli, art historian and author of Made in Florence (2015), says: “One of the most wonderful things about Florence is that you can find a craftsperson to make just about anything your heart desires, from shoes and suits to stationery, books and furniture.” Here are the best places to visit for those into fashion and the arts.

Luxury stores in Florence

Gucci Garden

Shop, Art Gallery
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Is it a store? Is it a gallery? Is it a restaurant? Gucci Garden is all three – and the boutique part stocks one-of-a-kind items, making a stop here necessary for any high-fashion fan. As well as new collections, Gucci Garden also showcases old advertising campaigns, artisans’ images and retro objects, and has a small cinema that screens fashion films. This eye-catching space is a fitting homage to the Florentine brand.

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LUISAVIAROMA, r, 19/21, Via Roma

Shop
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LUISAVIAROMA is a popular e-tailer, and its brick-and-mortar stores have Florentine roots (its first shop was founded in the city in the early 1930s). Located near the Duomo, the three-floor multi-brand store can’t be missed. The striking entrance and display windows change every season, capturing the attention of passers-by. Inside, you’ll find the best in luxury fashion, including Alexander McQueen, KENZO, Lanvin and Burberry. If you can’t find everything you need, head to its second store, LUISAVIAROMA Contemporary, on Via Silvio Pellico.
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Vintage shopping for fashion lovers

The market to visit in the morning

Mercato Sant'Ambrogio

Market
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Luca Menoni is the owner of Macelleria Menoni, which sits inside the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
Luca Menoni is the owner of Macelleria Menoni, which sits inside the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio | © Filippo Bardazzi, Laura Chiaroni – SooS Chronicles / Culture Trip

The Sant’Ambrogio Market takes place every morning (except Sundays) from 7am to 2pm. You’ll find everything here, from farmers’ produce and food to household items, vintage goods and clothing. Arrive early to experience the hustle and bustle of a market outside of the main tourist areas, and maybe even snag yourself a bargain.

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Fashionable places to eat

La Ménagère

Cafe, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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La Ménagère has a café, restaurant and more
La Ménagère has a café, restaurant and more | © Filippo Bardazzi, Laura Chiaroni – SooS Chronicles / Culture Trip

One part gourmet restaurant, one part café, one part florist’s and one part jazz club – La Ménagère has it all. The staff are used to speaking English as many expats and international students visit here regularly. Its central location in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood is easily reachable but placed enough off the main streets to make La Ménagère feel authentic and relaxed. The food portions are on the smaller side, but the restaurant doesn’t skimp on the atmosphere.

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Meal service:

All Day, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Boutique, Gourmet, Stylish, Quirky, Outdoors

IO Osteria Personale

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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The philosophy behind IO Osteria Personale is owner Matteo Fantini’s desire to break down stereotypes about Italian cuisine. His restaurant, located in an old butcher’s shop, invites you to forget everything you thought you knew about Tuscan staples, pasta or seafood, and instead experience creative combinations such as steak tartare with amaranth popcorn and gorgonzola ravioli with peanuts, tamarind and cumin.
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Out on the town

Flò Firenze

Nightclub, Cocktails
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Only open from May to September, this trendy outdoor lounge-club is the go-to spot for those looking to be seen and have a great time. Upscale with a relaxed atmosphere, Flò is great for a night out in Florence. Come dressed to impress, as is the Italian way, and enjoy the marvellous panoramic night views of the city with a cocktail in hand. If you really want to party in style, reserve a table before they’re all booked, and make it a night to remember.

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Le Murate Caffè Letterarioio, Firenze

Bar, Cafe, Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, Pub Grub, Fast Food, $$$
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Florence’s compact centre means you can see the sights and relax in spots like Le Murate Caffè Letterario
Florence’s compact centre means you can see the sights and relax in spots like Le Murate Caffè Letterario | © Filippo Bardazzi, Laura Chiaroni – SooS Chronicles / Culture Trip

Le Murate started life as a convent before being turned into a prison. Today, it’s a lively entertainment hub with a bar, restaurant, café and bookshop. Piazza delle Murate is the heart of the complex and the perfect place to enjoy a drink, socialise and spend some quality time in the sunshine.

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Meal service:

All Day, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Casual, Cosy, Secret, Quirky

Cajsa Carlson contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on November 7, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.