Our tour of Florence starts at the sumptuous nineteenth-century building on Via dei Pescioni, which houses the Helvetia & Bristol Firenze - Starhotels Collezione. From there, we visit Palazzo Strozzi, the nerve center of Florence’s contemporary culture scene, which is just opposite the hotel.
This magnificent Renaissance-style building, constructed boldly in bossage-work, is housing- until January 22, 2017- the exhibition by Ai Weiwei, one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Starhotels is pleased to present its guests with two admission tickets to the exhibition. Continuing on, we reach Piazza della Signoria by walking along one of the world’s most elegant streets, Via de’ Tornabuoni, and the loveliest stretch of Florence’s Lungarni, adjacent to the Ponte Vecchio.
Keep your eyes to your left just long enough to gaze at a breathtaking perspective view: the courtyard of the Uffizi Gallery (one of the world’s most famous and visited museums, showcasing masterworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo and Tiziano), Palazzo Vecchio and the David by Michelangelo (a replica of the original statue kept at the nearby Accademia Gallery). From there, we step into Piazza della Signoria, with the Loggia dei Lanzi, an amazing open-air art gallery!
Another downtown Florence must-see is the new Opera del Duomo Museum, which contains art treasures of inestimable value, such as the Pietà Bandini by Michelangelo, the St. Mary Magdalene by Donatello and the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti. While you are in the heart of Florence, don’t miss the chance to climb up to the Duomo’s dome and, if you have enough breath left, to Giotto’s bell tower and you will have the world at your feet.
When it’s time for shopping, head straight to the city’s fashion district, Via de’ Tornabuoni and adjacent streets such as Via Roma, where you will find the concept store Luisaviaroma. Stop at Antica Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella for beauty creams, perfumes and secret beauty recipes (since 1612!). For a quick snack, have a truffled panino and a glass of wine at Procacci. And when dinner time comes around, enjoy some typical Florentine dishes at Buca Lapi or Buca dell’Orafo, or gourmet cuisine at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri.