The Savoir Flair Guide to 36 Hours in Florence

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florence italy domenico loia unsplash
Photo: Courtesy of Domenico Loia

“Only 36 hours in Florence?” you might ask, aghast. And you would be right in all of your shock and indignation. A mere 36 hours are not nearly enough to experience a city so old, so rich, and so significant in the history of the world. However, sometimes, that’s all of you’ve got – and if that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. From an unforgettable dining experience to all the shopping your heart desires, Savoir Flair’s quick guide to Florence contains some of the city’s unmissable attractions – plus a little bit more.

Sleeping In

If a hotel with as much grandeur and history as the city is what you’re after, look no further than The St. Regis Florence. The building was initially designed as a private residence by the famous architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who is also responsible for the local cathedral’s dome. Its rooms, which are decorated in traditional Florentine, Renaissance, and Medici styles and house breathtaking antiques, have also played host to some renowned historical figures.

While there’s no shortage of things to see, do, and eat outside the property’s doors, its own offering might just be enough to have you rethinking your entire itinerary and simply staying in. From Michelin-starred restaurant Winter Garden by Caino to an award-winning spa by Clarins, there is much to discover within these four walls.

Piazza Ognissanti
Tel: +39 055 27161

St REgis room - Florence
Photo: Courtesy of The St. Regis Florence

Retail Therapy

The Mall Firenze is one of the best-kept secrets of the retail industry. Located amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, 30 minutes from the city, it is reason enough to travel to Florence. As the first outlet mall to deal exclusively with luxury boutiques, it unites the likes of Fendi, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, and more to create a shopping experience unlike any in the world. There’s even a Gucci Caffè where you can enjoy a (very Italian) meal and coffee for a mid-spree recovery.

If you’re looking to make the most of your time at The Mall Firenze, the ‘My Luxury Wallet’ exclusive package will allow you to skip lines (which are notoriously bad outside the Gucci store) and enjoy further discounts, amongst other benefits. The cherry on top? On-site tax refunds. Yes, you read that right.

Via Europa
Tel: +39 055 8657 775

Photo: Courtesy of The Mall Firenze

Time Travel

You may have come across Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella’s products in different places around the world – at its store in Midtown Manhattan, in the well-stocked bathroom of a luxe Parisian hotel, or on the shelves of an upscale concept store in Tbilisi – but it is here in Florence that the world’s oldest pharmacy was created. And today, 400 years later, it continues to operate as producer of perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, and more.

No trip to Florence would be complete without a stop here to marvel at the spectacular interiors of the original store, spend the last of your euros, and learn about the stories behind each fantastical product – anti-hysteria water, anyone?

Via della Scala
Tel: +39 055 216276

Sala Vendita Santa Maria Novella
Photo: Courtesy of Santa Maria Novella

Brunch Matters

Step off the bustling Florentine streets and into J.K. Place, and you’ll feel like you’ve been instantly transported to another world. This boutique hotel is bright, beautifully appointed, and home to an impressive collection of contemporary art pieces.

The Sunday brunch here is legendary and revolves around the “American-Tuscan” buffet, which fuses American breakfast with Italian lunch. Weather permitting, we recommend capping off your time here with a drink on the stunning J.K. Terrace that overlooks Santa Maria Novella square.

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella
Tel: +39 055 264 5181

Photo: Courtesy of J.K. Place

A Taste of Home

Considering the Antinori family has owned vineyards since 1385, it is deeply intwined within the history of Florence. Today, 25 generations on, Giovanni di Piero Antinori’s descendants have opened up part of their breathtaking home in the heart of the city, turning it into a restaurant by the name of Cantinetta Antinori.

Here, you can sample some of their best produce (including fresh, green olive oil from the family’s fields) alongside traditional Florentine dishes. This gem of a restaurant is truly not to be missed.

Piazza Degli Antinori
Tel: +39 055 292234

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