As we approach the summer season, one of the most popular destinations in Italy to consider visiting is Florence. We will examine the best places to stay, eat and enjoy immersive experiences so you can sample the very finest from the picturesque city.

Latest hotel opening

The most recent hotel opening in Florence is the distinctive 5-star La Gemma boutique hotel. The location could not be more central, steps away from Piazza della Repubblica. You are minutes away from designer boutiques and the most well-known monuments. It is situated in the former Palazzo Paoletti built in 1895 and then was subsequently used by the guild of hoteliers. The owners have painstakingly restored the interiors of the building and given it a funky art Deco vibe. The prominent green and pink palettes in the hotel reflect the similar colours used in the Duomo di Firenze. The alluring geometric shapes found throughout the hotel add a sense of whimsicality to your stay. Their Allure Spa offers personalised treatments in conjunction with Biologique Recherche to make sure the necessities of your skin come first. They will also offer a Turkish bath, hydro-massage bath, and ice shower along with their two therapy rooms.

The hottest restaurants and bars in town

You can enjoy a tour de Force fine dining experience at LUCA’s by Paolo Airaudo at La Gemma. The world-renowned chef runs countless famous restaurants across the globe, the most sought-after being his two Michelin-starred, Amelia in San Sebastian. Here, he offers elevated Tuscan cuisine in a refined yet relaxed environment. Despite the limited space, they have a very impressive wine cellar along with a bar that creates very hip cocktails with a Britpop theme. An alternative bar to sample world-class cocktails is Harry’s Bar The Garden at Sina Villa Medici Hotel. They serve classic cocktails using the finest ingredients and you get splendid views of the pool and garden of the hotel.

Another restaurant to consider is Gunè San Frediano. They specialise in Tuscan and Lucanian cuisine. They offer a 5 or 7-course tasting menu and expect to see delights such as a rabbit stuffed with foie gras and a tart served with white, milk and extra dark chocolate. The restaurant pays particular homage to the important women in our lives with post-modern paintings of iconic women commissioned with a local artist. If you want a casual venue populated by locals, then Trattoria Marione is a must-visit. You’ll enjoy comforting pasta dishes there such as pappardelle alla chinatigiana.

Food and aperitivo tours

I’ve always said the best way to explore a city and understand its culture is by doing a food tour. If you book with Curious Appetite Travel, that’s exactly what you’ll get as you discover the hidden gems of the city. Their historic food lover’s tour includes 5 gourmet tasting pit stops and you are guided by an experienced local who intersperses quirky historical facts in between the tastings. You’ll learn about the famous wine windows of Florence. You can sample local delicacies like budini di riso, which are Florentine rice pudding tarts. For those who are more into savoury dishes, you’ll get to try coccoli caldi and panini tartufati. The former is a deep-fried dough ball often stuffed with prosciutto ham and stracchino, whilst the latter is a truffle pâté roll. Particularly impressive is meeting local artisans such as visiting a farm-to-table deli, where the meat is from a farm a mere 11km away from the shop and run by the same family.

Italy Customized runs highly bespoke tours that cater to all requirements. They don’t just operate in Tuscany but throughout the country. With their aperitivo tour, you get to visit one of the most impressive wine stores in Florence. You can have a wine-tasting experience paired with cured meats and local cheese. And if you are very lucky and have the very personable owner, Linda take the tour; she can help you pick out the unique gems to buy as a holiday gift for friends or family. During the walking tour, you’ll pass very trendy street art from the likes of Andrea Roggi. During the tour, they might take you to hip neighbourhood wine bars where you can try a spritz cynar. The drink is well-known to aid digestion and is the ideal aperitif option.

Creating your bespoke perfume

Being the perfume capital of Italy, it’s not surprising you can find immersive experiences in the city where you can create your perfume. Visiting the master perfumer’s laboratory at Sileno Cheloni is like a journey into Hogwarts. With countless potions, you are guided by Sileno to discover what scents you are attracted to and learn the process of perfume-making. He also offers incense rituals and sensory dinners that arouse more than just your olfactory senses.


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