10 Hidden Gems Of Florence
1) Bottega Orafa Del Maestro Alessandro Dari (click for the offcial website)
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Ponte Vecchio, tucked away is the bespoke jewellers of Alessandro Dari. Though to call it a jewellers is an understatement, it’s more of a museum. Before even entering you can hear the enchanting sound of a beating heart, once inside you soon realise that there is something dark and magical about this place. The collections are displayed in tower like glass cases, which adds to the beauty and drama of the pieces . Each individual piece comes with a description in to what Alessandro was thinking when he was creating them, a fascinating look into the deep corners of his mind. You can often find Alessandro hard at work in his studio or playing guitar. On meeting him it’s clear to see he is a true artist.
2) Il Mercato Centrale Firenze (click for the offcial website)
Mercato Centrale Firenze was the brainchild of Umberto Montano and is defiantly one for the foodies. With a typical Italian market on the first floor, selling an array of cured meats, cheese’s and pesto, and a culinary school on the second floor, were you can sit and enjoy some of the finest food in the city (in my opinion). With fresh pasta and every pizza you could imagine, this is the place to tantalise ones taste buds. The atmosphere here is electric as the whole building is a hive of activity and is a great place to people watch, while you enjoy all the great food this city has to offer. It’s open from 10am till 12pm, so whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner this place has you covered.
3) Festival Del Gelato (click for the offcial website)
While we are on the subject of food, this place is defiantly worth a mention, located just off the Via del Corso a short walk from the Duomo, is Festival del Gelato. With every flavour imaginable, from banana split to the classics (like my personal favourite pistachio) and waffles drizzled in warm chocolate, this is the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. Although it is always busy here, the wait is never long and the staff are lovely. Iv had gelato here everyday, since being in Florence and will be holding them responsible for my significant weight gain :).
4) Mondo Albion (click for the offcial website)
This quirky little shop dates back 50 years, maybe more, and if you have an eye for the bizarre and unusual it is defiantly worth a visit. From the sublime to the ridicules Mr Albion resembles an old school hippy, and his shop oozes soul and funk. It’s like Aladdin’s cave for footwear, with outrageous designs covering every inch of wall and ceiling. This shop is truly unique, and if you’re a fan of one off items with a story, this is the place. The work shop is located at the front of the shop where you can see the craftsmanship that has gone into each pair of these crazy shoes. Mr Albion can often be seen sporting his creations, and I assure you he is unlike anyone you will ever meet.
5) Mostodolce (click for the offcial website)
Just over the road from Mondo Albion is Mostodolce. A bar with a warm, local feel, and one for those of who are looking for Tuscany on tap, as they brew their own ales. Some of which are weird yet wonderful. The bar has a really cool hipster vibe, the music, and the people. The walls are plastered in drawings that past customers have done, but only the best make the wall, so be sure to bring a pen.
6) Giardino Delle Rose (click for the offcial website)
The rose garden park is located between Viale Poggi, Via di San Salvatore and Via dei Bastioni, and is the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the sunshine. With views of the whole city, and a great place to watch the sun set, it’s no wonder why this is perfect place for couples, with its romantic setting and scenery. Many of the locals come here as it is less crowded than Piazzale Michelangiolo, but still benefits from beautiful views of the city with a more intimate feel.
7) Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica Di Santa Maria Novella (click for the offcial website)
One of the oldest pharmacy’s in the world, established by Dominican monks shortly after there arrival to Florence in 1221, but was not open to the public until 1612. It is easily missed at first glance, as from the street it could be mistaken for one of the many beautiful shops in Florence. Once inside you can see this place is stooped in history, it is like taking a trip back in time. With all its gold and glamour, it’s very Gatsby. With the smell of fine perfumes in the air, and every inch of ceiling hand-painted, This is a great place to just walk around and take in the beauty of the architecture (or the sales assistants). However, if your feeling flash, you can buy your self one of many ancient perfumes, cosmetics or remedies. No doubt they will be one of a kind!
8) The Arno River (click for the wikipedia page)
With Florence being so far from the coast, the locals have come up with a solution, using a bank along the Arno River as there very own beach. Just a stones throw away from the city, you will find people sun bathing, playing beach ball and even paddling in the river. This is the perfect place to unwind, and take a break from the busy streets of the city,at those times where the sun is at its strongest. So pack your swimming costume and sun tan lotion and enjoy a day of relaxation along the river.
9) Otel (click for the offcial website)
This is one for the people who come alive at night, the party people. With fire breathers, singers, VIP booths and every cocktail under the sun, you are guaranteed a good night here. The swanky venue get’s busy around midnight, and closes at 3.30am. It is at that time people spill out into the streets in search of food and strong coffee. The Italians no how to party, so make sure you can keep up!
10) Scarpelli Mosaic (click for the offcial website)
This beautiful little shop of the scarpelli family is a true example of dedication to craft and art. Each mosaic takes up to two years to complete, with each individual stone being hand carved to the correct size. The puzzle like pictures resemble oil paintings, and it’s not until you get close that you realise that it’s made entirely out of stone. Unfortunately this is a dying trade due to it taking 7 years to train and perfect the patients and precision these artists have.
This is just a snippet of the beauty and individuality Florence has to offer. These secret, cool and quirky places all over this city, are just waiting to be found.
By Francesca Teddie White
10th April 2016
And that’s my Blog: www.ayoungadult.com !