Whether you’ve traveled to Italy once or a dozen times, there’s one city jet-setters always yearn to revisit: Florence. Known for fashion, the Renaissance and Tuscan ambrosial wines, Florence was also home to Salvatore Ferragamo, one of Italy’s most legendary shoe designers. Dubbed by the elite as the “shoemaker to the stars,” his clients included the likes of Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren.
The Ferragamo family extended their empire to the first fashion-branded hotel company, the Lungarno Collection, which boasts four properties sprinkled between Florence and Rome, with another arriving this summer in Milan. Each has its own ambiance, so there’s something to suit all tastes.
This past winter, I toured the three properties in Florence and was in for a treat. A favorite is the newly renovated flagship, Hotel Lungarno, originally a restoration of a 16th-century grand residence. Its interior reflects a nautical theme of blue and white décor, complete with balconies that overlook the famed Arno River. This five-star property exhibits more than 450 pieces of art from Picasso, Cocteau and Bueno, yet retains a discreet, intimate atmosphere. Hotel Lungarno’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Borgo San Jacopo, is known as the “dining room on the river” and offers an exceptional wine collection.
For romance and whimsy, the Continentale is a lovely choice. Here, tent-like sheer curtains surround guest beds, and desks resemble leather steamer trunks of a bygone era with contemporary touches. This exclusive hideaway is tucked inside in the medieval Consorti Tower—one of the few left after World War II—near the Ponte Vecchio. At the top of the tower is La Terrazza, a rooftop bar with amazing 360-degree views of a few of Florence’s most famous sites including Palazzo Vecchio and Brunelleschi’s Duomo.
Portrait Firenze offers a whole different experience. At this all-suite, five-star property, I was treated with white-glove service, as well as a touch of familiarity as if this were my very own Florentine residence. Located in the heart of the city, this boutique hotel reflects the glamorous times of the ’40s and ’50s, with black-and-white portraits in every room and offers river-view suites looking out to Palazzo Pitti.
With each stay, I was able to experience the spirit of Florence. While enjoying the last evening of my trip, I sat in the Picteau Cocktail Bar sipping on a White Duke Negroni.
I toasted arrivederci to Florence: Until we meet again.
The Lungarno Collection offers exclusive experiences with its spin on “special.”
Combat your jet lag. Indulge in a Mediterranean Ritual Massage at the White Iris Beauty Spa located in the heart of the Continentale.
Explore secret passages. Take a peek behind the walls of Palazzo Vecchio into the world of the Medicis.
Savor culinary delights. If you fancy biscotti, visit the Museo Bottega del Biscottificio Antonio Mattei museum to taste the original recipe, which dates back to 1858.
Embark on a tuk-tuk tour. Yes, this is a must. Experience a comprehensive tour that whisks you away to discover hidden corners and local areas in and around the Renaissance city.
Photos courtesy of Lungarno Collection