A good friend of mine told me that Florence was his favourite place in the world. Not surprisingly then, I had big expectations on my first visit there this summer. If you like fairy tale pretty places, steeped in history, with stylish shops and restaurants lining the streets, then yeah I suppose Florence is ok.
In a city that has so much to see I've picked out three of my favourite things to do.
#1 Get your fashion fill with Karl Lagerfeld's Visions of Fashion at the Pitti Palace...
"Today, photography is part of my life. I can't see life without the vision of photography. I look at the world and at fashion with the eye of a camera." Karl Lagerfeld
We'd originally planned to see Michelangelo's David at the Accedamia Museum, but, on arrival decided against two hours queueing in the heat. We sacked off the snaking queue in favour of exploring the city further by foot, which is when we found Karl Lagerfeld's exhibition.
After only a small wait for tickets we were in and wandering amongst 200 elegant images "celebrating Karl's diverse and elegant approach to photography."
I left plotting ways in which I could ever afford anything Chanel, and how I could become the muse of an 83 year old silver fox and legend.
If you fancy seeing images that flutter from the ceiling, mirroring the movement of models on the catwalk, then you'll have to be quick as the exhibition ends on the 23rd October 2016. Budding photo gazers grab your camera and go go go!
#2 Eat and fall in love with La Menagere...
La Menagere is one of the most atmospheric, interesting and absolutely wonderful restaurants I've ever had the pleasure of eating in. So stylish is this restaurant that you run the risk of going home and stripping your walls back to the bare plasterwork, with the belief it might just look as amazing as La Menagere.
We dined by candlelight and played discreet 'name that tune' as the pianist performed. With guacamole ice cream to start, yes you read that correctly, the menu matched the décor in the standing out stakes. Restaurant by night and bistro by day I can't recommend it enough. Where else can you feast, then pick up fresh flowers and nick nacks for your home?
Stylish yet comfortable, this place is an absolute gem and nestles into the back streets of fairytale Florence perfectly.
Be wary of tourist traps. We had a disappointing meal in a restaurant next to The Duomo which earned top marks for location, but zero marks for cracked plastic chairs, flat Prosecco (which I sent back mistaking it for white wine, which they served again as "no no Prosecco") and mediocre food.
#3 Watch the sunset from Piazza Michelangelo and never want to leave...
If you take the walk up to the Piazza Michelangelo you can work off some of those Pasta related carbohydrates and enjoy panoramic views of the City. Get your camera at the ready and join in with the happy snappers, all trying to catch that perfect shot as the sun sets on beautiful Florence.
There's a couple of restaurants and vans selling refreshments so you can wander up there early and claim the best spot, although there's plenty of room for everyone.
Have you ever felt that watching the sun set is bitter sweet? Calming on the one hand and good for your soul, yet on the other there's a fleeting sense of sadness that comes with knowing another day has come to an end. Oh well, there's always the stars.
Thanks so much for reading, it really does mean a lot. Let me know if you've any must see recommendations for Florence!! x x