Florence has it all. Food, fashion, and a cultural offering like no other.
Carolina Bucci is a fourth-generation jeweller, who’s great grandfather started repairing pocket watches in Florence in 1885. He then gradually moved into fine jewellery, working in and around Ponte Vecchio, where the family business still flourishes today.
Carolina’s own eponymous jewellery brand has an air of relaxed luxury, and whilst very different from the pieces her great grandfather and father made, she pays homage to the craftsmanship and traditional techniques of her ancestry. This is most easily identifiable by the Florentine Finish, which has become a signature of her jewellery. This technique involves repeatedly beating 18k gold with a diamond-tipped tool to form tiny indentations, which catch the light to create an elevated sparkle, as if the piece is covered in pavé diamonds.
Having grown up in Florence and travelling back regularly Carolina Bucci gives up her expert tips for an unforgettable trip.
Essential items to pack…
Sunglasses and a smile.
The best time to visit Florence is…
May or September, just either side of summer. Great weather but not crazy heat, and it’s far less crowded.
Our first pitstop should be…
A stroll over the Ponte Vecchio to soak up the historic centre. From next year, the Vasari Corridor – which allowed the Medici to cross the river without mixing with the masses below – will reopen to the public.
For an early morning workout head to…
Walk up the hill past the Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michelangelo, and look down on Florence from San Miniato.
Where should we go for breakfast?
I like Rivoire overlooking the postcard view of Palazzo Vecchio. We serve their chocolates to our clients in our London store.
How about for a long, lazy lunch?
Cantinetta Antinori is one of my favourites. It offers simple Tuscan flavours, expertly prepared in an historic palazzo. It belongs to the Antinori family, who have been making wine for 26 generations!
And for dinner with friends?
You can eat amazing simple Tuscan food at Trattoria 4 Leoni outside in the square on a warm evening. It’s a perfect place to catch up with friends.
Your favourite restaurant in town?
I love Cantinetta dei Verrazzano for something quick and simple during the day. It has amazing pizzas and focaccine. Cibrèo Trattoria is perfect for a special dinner.
Where should we head post-dinner?
A last drink on the terrace of The Place overlooking Santa Maria Novella.
Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…
The best place to treat yourself?
Loretta Caponi: their hand-embroidered nightgowns are my favourite. Or Pineider for beautiful stationery.
The cultural spot to rave about…
The Bargello National Museum is an overlooked miracle. It has the best collection of Renaissance sculptures in the world.
For great shopping head to…
Via Tournabuoni is Florence’s classic shopping street. It has everything you might expect, including the Ferragamo Museum. It also has Palazzo Strozzi for art, Procacci for sublime truffle sandwiches, and my favourite shop in Florence – Richard Ginori. Luisa Via Roma is a must-visit too.
Your favourite neighbourhood is…
Fiesole: it’s on the hill, on the other side of Florence. It’s where I grew up and although only 10 minutes into the centre, it feels like you are in the Tuscan countryside.
The place only locals know about is…
Gelateria Pasticceria Badiani is outside of the centre, but has the best gelato in Florence.
Great day trips include…
San Gimignano. Monteriggioni. Also Forte dei Marmi if it’s close to summer.
For the best views head to…
The top of the Duomo. You can climb the steps and look out over the centre of the city.
For a change of pace try…
Giardino Torrigiani. Wander in the private garden that is far less visited than the Boboli Gardens.
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A book to read before we go (or while we’re there)?
Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King. It will make you appreciate your climb to the top of the Duomo even more! It will give you a background to all the artistic and scientific breakthroughs of an intense moment in history that produced all you see in Florence today.
How should we spend the final day of our trip?
Spend the night walking around Florence; when it’s quiet. You can imagine what the town must have been like in its Renaissance heyday.
What’s your Florence secret?
My favourite secret is the warren of small former monks’ cells where our workshops are located next to the Ponte Vecchio.
In a word Florence is…