Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unusual Florence

Finally, another blog post about my trip to Italy. After leaving Rome, we took the train, headed north and booked a few days in Florence. It was just as gorgeous as I imagined it to be. The food and wine was great, but most importantly I was finally able to shop for the first time in Italy. 
Florence, just like many other high touristy cities had the usual retail chain stores we are all familiar with, but luckily on our second day there, we met someone that gave us shopping and restaurant guide called "Unusual Florence". I was so excited because, I had been looking for speciality design stores. Me and Angel tried to stop by every place that was listed and here is what we found. 
One of our first stops was at Michele Chiocciolini's studio/boutique. I can't even begin to describe how talented he is. He is a notable Fashion Designer in Florence and also a painter amongst other things. Apart from his own collection of ready to wear line and his leather goods collection, he also carries vintage items, every thing from books to jewelry. I was so excited to have found him. His attention to detail is inspiring. I love his style, my husband bought me a beautiful dress from his last collection. I can't wait to wear it. I am saving it for a special occasion. 
Boutique Nadine was also a great shop. I loved their selection of vintage clothing and shoes. They also  carried beautiful necklaces that were made with recycled Chanel buttons. Can't go wrong with that. After shopping at Boutique Nadine we had lunch at Brac. This restaurant was very special and right up my alley. Imagine having the best lunch and drinks in a library. Well, Brac was definitely that place. The walls were covered with art books in English and in Italian. Some of their books were for sale while others remained in their permanent collection. I bought myself a great book titled 10 x 10 by an artist named Emiliano Ponzi.  
Oh my! Any one that knows me knows that I am paper hoarder. Well, lucky for me, I stumbled upon a charming store called Signum. Although they were not listed in the Unusual Florence guide, I wanted to include them in this post because it's worth stopping by if you are ever visiting the city. At Signum you can find everything from Commedia dell' Arte marionettes, theater boxes, hand binded journals to the most beautiful paper stationary sets you've ever seen. 
Looking for these hidden gems in Florence was one of the highlights of my trip. It was like a treasure hunt. We took our time, got lost for a while and made frequent stops at bars, geletarias, coffee shops. Some other vintage shops that you must check out are And Company and Ceri Vintage. I was in awe with the way they curated their store. Here you will find  very selective pieces of furniture and clothes that you will definitely not find anywhere else in this city.
Another restaurant/ gallery/ vintage shop/ bar that we stopped by was Amble. It was everything I love in one place. We had some the best Negronis and sandwiches there, before heading out to Magaza to buy more books. 
Towards the end of our trip in, I had a Sartorialist type of day. It was impossible not to take pictures of all the stylish locals, how could I resist? As always, I was so sad when we had to leave. I can't wait to go back soon. I was happy to have found the Unusual Florence guide. You can look at the complete map here. If you want to stray away from all the tourists at some point on your next trip to this city, I would highly recommend stopping by some of these stores. They are all unique in their special way and it's a great way to meet all the artsy locals that will show you another side of Florence you would not expect.