The City Guide: Florence, Italy
There's nowhere like Florence (or home, just saying), though it's clear everyone already knows this (i.e. there were so. many. tourists.). Nestled in the tuscan countryside, it's a good home base for exploring the rest of the region and getting inspired. rent a villa outside the city center to merge relaxation and exploration, and come home refreshed and ready to jump back into graphic design, branding and a whole lotta creative content.
There's no better place to eat than italy. Throw care for calories out of the window and order as you please. just a few tips, most bread in the region is unsalted and never order gelato from places where they display beautiful mountains of it (it's not fresh!). Italian restaurants, for the most part, also seem to relegate the importance of branding in the way that american (or at least austin) restaurants do. Branded napkins, coasters and matchbooks were almost non-existent, as were the typical instagram-ready photo ops like custom neons. But, we loved that the focus was on the food, rather than the impression.
La Giostra: with string lights hanging from the bare brick ceiling, la giostra is an intimate, quaint, dare-we-say romantic dinner spot. Can't speak to the romance of it, as we went with a group of 8 other family members as the ninth-wheel, but the food and feeling of it all was lovely. though the menu is hard to read, you can't go wrong, as we picked the first thing we could pronounce (pear RAVIOLI) and were so content.
parione: ask to sit in the wine cellar (although we made last minute reservations, so we didn't) and order the truffle GNOCCHI. that's all you need to know. everything is impeccable.
some people call it looking at old stuff, we call it culture. either way, there's a lot of both to look at - and a lot of people clamoring to look at it. so, first and foremost, don't go to florence in the summer months. if you must, hire a guide to help you jump the lines at la academia and the uffizi. boboli gardens are wonderful as well, depending on the time of year you go. make sure to take lots of pictures - we sure did, and they're serving as major inspiration for our next branding campaigns.
GUCCI GARDEN: Part store, part osteria, part museum, gucci garden is a dream. for eight euros (bring exact change or pay with a card), wander through ages of gucci. best perused by yourself or a girlfriend, let the boyfriend/dad/brother grab a GELATO or drink in palazzo medici.
PALAZZO MEDICI: we'll spare you the history lesson about how the medici's basically put florence on the map. cosimo was the shit, if a little self obsessed. you'll see what we mean when you enter the first room on the tour of their palace. wander through for insane interior details (that gold leaf!) and unique views of florence.
santa crocce: Nestled at the back of santa crocce you'll find an intimate, historic leather school and workshop. it's a perfect place for small gifts (especially for the boys), as you can have your purchases monogramed by one of their apprentices.
there is so much, from wandering antique shops to waiting in lines to get into one the (of Three) gucci stores, to eating everything in sight. but, we also suggest exploring neighboring cities, like sienna, san gimignano and ORVIETO. if you must stay in the city, make sure to slow it down a little by grabbing coffee (or an adult beverage if that's your thing) at Piazza della republica after you visit officina profumo farmaceutica. there are so many amazing photo opportunities, your instagram will be revolutionized. and, whiile we're talking about instagram, check out our new favorite app for creating stories, unfold.
piazza della republica: a good central location for meeting up with your group, though it borders on touristy (i.e. expensive shops, hotels and restaurants that don't always meet expectations). we loved grabbing a cold espresso and people watching.
Piazza Duomo At night: skip the crowds and experience Florence's main attraction at night. it's cooler (figuratively and temperature-wise).
Day Trips: Exploring tuscany was a highlight of the trip. It's sort of a must, seeing as there's so much to see. We loved orvieto, san gimignano, montepulciano and sienna. hire a car, the thought of driving in italy makes us shudder just thinking about it.