Even though the pandemic has not left us, Florence is proving to be a resilient city, full of new opportunities and places to discover. In between visits to the Fortezza da Basso for Pitti Uomo, running Jan. 11 to 13, there are plenty of new restaurants, boutiques, freshly revamped luxury hotels and major art exhibitions to spend one’s spare time.
Here, WWD has compiled a selection of new places to discover.
The Place Firenze
“This hotel is a home: mine and yours. A home with only 20 rooms, because intimate is beautiful.” This is how Carlo Babini Merlo, owner of The Place Firenze, described the newly renovated luxury hotel situated in the picturesque Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
The Place Firenze is a luxurious yet understated hotel overlooking Leon Battista Alberti’s masterpiece basilica Santa Maria Novella, surrounded by such landmarks as the Museo Novecento, the Antica Profumeria Santa Maria Novella and the cinema Ariston.
In addition to the building’s enchanting atmosphere, guests can enjoy fine dining overseen by chef Asso Migliore. Dishes worth trying include “Autunno sullo Scoglio,” a zolfino bean cream with spelled pasta from the Pastificio Fabbri and shelled mussels; “La Pancia del Casentino”, a braised Grigio Casentino pork served with stewed onions and chard, and an assortment of pastries. After long days at Pitti Uomo, guests can unwind at The Bar with a glass of wine or the signature “Smoking Negroni” cocktail, accompanied by a selection of tapas.
As Claudio Meli, the hotel’s general manager, stated, “Our goal is to make The Place Firenze the place to be in Florence; where to stay, meet, enjoy, sleep, dream.”
The Place Firenze
Piazza Santa Maria Novella, 7
Tel. +39 055 26 58 387
This majestic five-star hotel housed inside an 18th-century villa located a stone’s throw from Palazzo Strozzi, in the heart of Florence, just underwent renovation. The aim was to retrieve the building’s beauty as its first owners, the Palanca family, had envisioned it.
Hotel manager Laura Stoppani noted that the villa was originally intended as a meeting point for international personalities celebrating beauty and the arts, and offering an unprecedented perspective on Florence and the world.
Dimora Palanca in Florence.
The villa is the heart of Dimora Palanca, which also counts a greenhouse and surrounding garden. Hotel guests can start their day with an espresso in the light-filled breakfast room overlooking the verdant garden, and later play cards or chess in the parlor and taste local cuisine made with seasonal ingredients in the Mimesi restaurant.
Chef Giovanni Cerroni selects only bio products to enhance the flavor of his dishes, which include Valdarno chicken, black cabbage, Certaldo onions and authentic Tuscan pecorino. If the main courses don’t satisfy one’s appetite, try the “Pear…no waste!” dessert made with locally harvested pears and herbal ingredients.
Via Della Scala, 72
Tel: +39 055 031 7816
Already considered the place to be in Rome and Milan for lovers of kosher cuisine, Ba’ghetto Firenze has opened its doors in the city’s picturesque San Marco neighborhood, after being nominated for being the greatest kosher catering in Italy.
The family-owned restaurant combines traditional Jewish and Roman recipes, all made using kosher ingredients. Among the most famous dishes are a wide selection of different hummus, shish kebab accompanied by tahini sauce, as well as more traditional Roman recipes such as Giudia artichoke and lamb ribs served with baked potatoes.
Get a seat on the outside small tables and dive into a tasteful and traditional meal.
Ba’Ghetto – Firenze
Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 5r – 50121
Monday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
A staple in the Florentine culinary experience, Il Borro Tuscan Bistro blends the sophisticated and shabby-chic, reminiscent of a country cottage with wooden chairs and tables, the use of natural materials and stones in neutral tones.
The restaurant — owned by the Ferragamo family, who also runs the luxury resort “Il Borro” and two other restaurants in Dubai and London — was expanded last November with the inauguration of a new dining room.
Chef Andrea Campani offers modern iterations of traditional recipes using organic products, in sync with the restaurant’s philosophy of offering guests a meal featuring ingredients that come directly “from farm to dish.”
The simple yet mouth-watering offerings include tagliatelle handmade using Il Borro’s organic buckwheat flour with Croccolo cheese fondue and black truffle, or zucchini and mint risotto topped with marinated trout carpaccio and Tuscan spare ribs with zolfini beans. To complete the dining experience, indulge in the traditional jam tart with vanilla sauce or almond biscuits from the Lunardi bakery accompanied by traditional Vin Santo wine.
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli 80r – 50123
Opened every day from 12:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7:15 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“Inside Salvador Dalì” Exhibition
Open until Jan. 16, this multimedia exhibition inside the Cattedrale Dell’Immagine — around the corner from the Ponte Vecchio — unpacks the world of legendary artist Salvador Dalì by integrating technology and the exploration of his artworks.
Visitors are welcomed by a 4,000-square-foot room filled with special effects, interactive games, lights projecting Dalì’s paintings and engaging sounds, which fascinates throughout the 35-minute deep dive into the surreal world of the artist.
To celebrate the 700th anniversary of poet Dante Alighieri’s death this year, the exhibition also has a dedicated area featuring 100 illustrations created by Dalì bearing the most famous passages from the Florence-born poet’s masterpiece “Divine Comedy.” Thanks to Dalì’s art the journey from Hell to Heaven, two of the main chapters of the poem, highlights Alighieri’s genius.
Cattedrale Dell’Immagine, Firenze
Piazza di Santo Stefano 5 – 50122
Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Jeff Koons’ “Shine” Exhibition
Against the imposing beauty of Palazzo Strozzi, and running until Jan. 30, is a show featuring Jeff Koons’ signature pieces, from his seminal 1970s works to his most recent production.
Koons has been able to enter the collective imagination by embedding elements of pop culture, consumerism, and self-awareness into his artistic lexicon. Developed with the artist’s support, the “Shine” exhibition gathers artworks from the major collections of international museums, including Koons’ iconic and perfectly polished sculptures, such as the “Rabbit” and “Balloon Dog.”
Centered on the exploration of Koons’ notion of “shine,” viewed as the game of ambiguity that splendor and glow evoke, the exhibition marks not only a chance to explore the artist’s 40-year career but also a means of reflection on his perception of the world.
Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze
Piazza degli Strozzi – 50123
Everyday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday until 11 p.m.
One of the most Instagram-friendly places in town, restaurant, concept store and bar La Ménagère has been fully renovated to achieve a new look and continue to offer unconventional shopping gigs, in line with its past when wealthy Florentine families would shop there for their wedding lists and furnishing accessories that couldn’t be found elsewhere.
After a one-year renovation — spearheaded by architect Claudio Nardi — the location combines a restaurant, store and café — as well as its signature flower shop, where one can find a multitude of vibrantly colored blooms carefully assembled by florist Carlotta Coppini.
It also counts a bookshop known as Libreria Diffusa, offering books and novels focused on the arts, botany, gardening and local Florentine tales. For perfumery enthusiasts, the shop at La Ménagère carries Aquaflor, a luxury fragrance brand offering scents created at Florentine artisanal boutiques, while vintage hunters will be fascinated by the shop’s selection of objects dating from early 20th century, as well as textiles and interior design pieces.
Knowing that shopping sessions can be exhausting, La Ménagère has visitors covered with its wide selection of wines and tapas to chill out and sip an aperitivo at the cocktail bar.
La Ménagère, Firenze
Via de’ Ginori, 8/R – 50123
Open every day from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Dior Men Boutique
Last fall, Dior opened its second flagship in the Tuscan capital — this time dedicated to its men’s wear collections designed by Kim Jones. The two-story boutique is located on Via de’ Tornabuoni, a luxury shopping destination in Florence.
With its refined interior design featuring the brand’s distinctive color palette of blue and gray, the store is located next to the Damiani flagship and opposite the Salvatore Ferragamo shop. It carries Jones’ signature fashion items, from the men’s version of the Saddle Bag to the running-inspired B30 sneaker, as well as his ready-to-wear collections.
The luxury French brand, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has another store in the city dedicated to its women’s wear designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, located on Via degli Strozzi, 17.
Dior Men Firenze
Via de’ Tornabuoni 15r – 50123
Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.