In a city that many say stays the same, Florence has proven that historic spaces and traditional food can be reinvented. Originally opened in 1896 as Florence’s first hardware store, La Ménagère was transformed by the Florentine architecture and design firm Q-Bic into a chic retail and dining destination. The stylish locale—now home to a revamped home-goods store, restaurant, bistro, music venue, and flower shop—boasts minimally set tables, large orchids suspended from the building’s historical vaulted ceilings, and a variety of designer lighting set against a mix of ancient stone surfaces.
Italian food is regional and Florentine flavors hold their own. Located opposite the famous Caffè Gilli, Irene is one of the most recent additions to Florence’s modern dining scene. The restaurant is helmed by director of food Fulvio Pierangelini, whose previous restaurant received two Michelin stars. Reserve ahead to secure a spot on the outdoor terrace. The upscale Italian food court above the city’s historical Mercato Centrale boasts an intriguing array of craft beers and local wines available by the glass, as well as Tuscany’s finest artisanal salami, cheese, pasta, and chocolate.
Hotel Spadai opened last year after undergoing a renovation led by Rome-based architect Franco Bernardini. Located in a Renaissance-style building in the historical center of Florence, the hotel blends traditional architecture and contemporary Italian décor with American-friendly amenities. After a day of sight-seeing, enjoy an aperitivo at Spadai’s lounge bar or take in the beautiful evening view of the dramatically illuminated Duomo from the top of the spiral staircase.
Portrait Firenze, owned by the Ferragamo family, this five-star, all-suite hotel sets a high standard for style; each spacious and elegantly furnished room is an homage to Florentine craftsmanship. The hotel’s immense windows overlook the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River, and the hillside to Fiesole, just like a scene from A Room with a View.
This post was adapted from ‘Weekender' that ran in Boston Home Magazine in May 2016.
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