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Friday, 27 November 2015

WIT Florence Tip: Pasticceria Gelateria Badiani

Going for 'un gelato' has always played a big part in my family's life - summer and winter. Greta shares this passion and every time we come back to Florence we go for an ice cream, even in the blistering November winds! I have a favourite spot in town where you can enjoy an ice cream sitting by one of the Arno bridges (Gelateria Ponte alla Carraia), but the best ice cream in terms of quality and prestige is a little bit off the beaten track and you have to make the trip to a not so central area of town to enjoy it.

Gelateria Pasticceria Badiani makes some of best ice cream you will ever taste and also 'invented' a flavour that has become a Florentine speciality. It's called 'Buontalenti' and it's essentially an ice cream version of chantilly cream (vanilla and whipped cream with a little taste of mascarpone), it's just delicious and goes really well with their fruit ice creams or more creamy ones. Being a 'Pasticceria" (bakery) they also make excellent cakes, home made ice creams and ice cream stuffed Panetton's - all in really chic branded packaging, so if you ever must bring something for a dinner or party this is the place to get your goodies.

Vl. dei Mille 20/R
Tel +39 055 578682

Thursday, 26 November 2015

WIT Florence Tip: Luisa Via Roma

If you are looking to do some seriously high end shopping, the Luisa Via Roma is the shop to head to. It's situated bang in the city centre just off Piazza del Duomo and it presents a quirkier, non-conventional buy like Valentino's Rockstuds in all the the boldest colours imaginable (some of which you simply wouldn't find on Net-a-Porter or Matches) and pieces that are directly off the catwalk. If you want something statement and a little bit on the fun side, this is the shop to head to.

The shop floor in itself is like a candy shop and the decor each season takes inspiration from the current there of the world famous bloggers event that happens every January and July. This year is was all titled "Over the Rainbow" and the shop is still decorated with Mini Ponies, plastic clouds and huge rainbows on the ceiling. It's a super fun shop to explore!

I went in with the intention of taking some pics for you and browsing only but it didn't quite turn out that way... I was drawn to a huge collection of Saint Laurent bags and clutches (the lipstick one is so so cute and has just been added to my Christmas wish list), Manolo Blahnik shoes (in store exclusive) and extensive Isabel Marant Etoile collection, but also some more classic pieces like Equipment shirts and Stella McCartney jeans. Obviously you can shop on line world wide, but if you happen in Florence do pay a visit to the store because it's really a bit different from everywhere else.

Here are some if the things I took into the changing room with me...

7 - Saint Laurent clutch £845
5 - Saint Laurent bag £1325
6 - Valentino Rockstuds £815
4 - Isabel Marant Etoile jumper £290
3 - Stella McCartney jeans £225
1 - Equipment heart print shirt £251
2 - Isabel Marant Etoile shirling boots £375
I may have splashed out on these Isabel Marant boots... not one of my most glamorous buys, but  boy are they warm and comfy and thinking of the winter ahead I needed a pair of practical shoes! I'm pretty sure they will be a WIT mama Friday favourite.

Isabel Marant Etoile shirling boots £375

Luisa Via Roma
Via Roma 19/21r

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

WIT Florence Travel Tip: All' Antico Vinaio

I became coeliac with pregnancy but I remember vividly what a great sandwich tastes like and if you ever come to Florence you must make time for one of the best sandwiches in the world from All'Antico Vinaio

Vegetarians look away because this is the place to stuff your schiacciata (Florentine for focaccia) with sbriciolona (a type of salami), finocchiona (another type of salami with anise seeds), prosciutto and salame Toscano topped with all sort of grilled vegetables, mozzarella, pecorino and sauces such as truffle cream and sun dried tomatoes spread. I mean, a vegetarian could have a great sandwich here too.... but you would sort of be missing out.

Don't expect anything fancy from the experience - the sandwich shops are two simple shops off Piazza della Signoria: one where you can sit down and one where you can only to take-away. You will probably end up sitting by the Uffizzi Gallery or by the Arno overlooking Ponte Vecchio to enjoy your sandwich - which are both not bad at all eating spots. Be prepared to cue at pretty much any time of the day, but these run pretty quickly and ultimately are so worth it!

If you prefer to sit down and have a more "fine dining" experinece, you can grab a table at the less busy Osteria next door - no sandwiches served here but you can enjoy primi (risotto, pasta, soups...) secondi (meet and vegetables) or the phenomenal taglieri (boards) which you can get in all sizes and variations with a side of foccaccia and a glass of red wine. You can book here at any time and it's a great spot for both lunch and dinner.

All' Antico Vinaio 
Via Dei Neri 74 R, 50100 - Firenze 
Tel. 0552382723 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

WIT Florence Travel Tip: Officina Santa Maria Novella

I've never been one for 'souvernirs' but if you ever happen to be in Florence this is a place that you: a) want to visit as a historical site b) take away beauty and home products for both you and friends/family as chic/acceptable souvenirs. Especially around Christmas, gifting something in the beautifully wrapped Santa Marai Novella retro packaging is always a little bit special. I always stock up on hand soaps, bath salts and scented candles (the men's range is fab too).

Officina Santa Maria Novella is a Florentine institution. First founded in 1221 in Florence by the Dominican Friars who started making herbal remedies and potions to use in the monastery. Their reputation became world renowned and the pharmacy, sponsored by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, opened to the public in 1612. 

Many of Santa Maria Novella’s products have become a part of history: the world famous pot-pourri is still hand crafted in large terra cotta vats using local essences and plants as has been the tradition since the 1200’s. The first “Eau de Cologne” has been attributed to the pharmacy’s creation in the 1500’s of Catherine de Medeci’s “Water of the Queen.” She used the citrus and bergamot scented water constantly and gave it to all of her closest friends during her reign as the Queen of France.

The Almond Paste is an excellent rich cream made from almond butter. The Rose Water can be used on the face for washing and removing make-up or for scenting linens. The Milky Soaps, scented with Santa Maria Novella’s own fragrances are made with whole milk to protect and soften delicate skin.

And of course the Santa Maria Novella fragrances themselves; classic scents like Honeysuckle, Rose and Iris, exotics such as Patchouli, Marescialla and Calycanthus, and, romantics like Jasmine, Violet and Lily of the Valley.

The original "Officina" is in Florence, but Santa Maria Novella has shops all around the world that you can locate via their website and, from the US, shop online. Yet the Florence experience is unique so make sure you come and visit the store next time you are in town!

 Officina del Profumo Santa Maria Novella
 Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze
Tel +39 055 216276

Monday, 23 November 2015

WIT Florence Travel Tip: directions to The Outlets

I'm in Florence all week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, so instead of the daily outfit pics I thought I would post one Florence travel tip per day from eating out to shopping and sightseeing. I often get asked what are my favourite spots, the ones I like to hit every time I come back so log on in the next five days to see what they are.

First on my list are, of course, The Outlets. I go back (almost) every time I come back and often bring back something fabulous like a pair of shoes, an accessory or dress. You can get to the outlets with handy shuttles from the city center's train station (Santa Maria Novella) or, if you have a car you can drive there yourself. Weather you are planning a trip to Florence or thinking about it for the future, ear mark this page with directions on all of my shopping mecca's and how to get there.

(roughly 35min from Florence)

LOOK OUT FOR: Stella and Stella Kids, Marni, Burberry, Balenciaga, Sain Laurent and the newly opened Prada and Miu Miu wing
  • From Florence take the highway (autostrada) in direction ROME
  • Take the exit at INCISA REGGELLO
  • Follow signs to PONTASSIEVE/LECCIO
  • A lot of windy country roads later...
  • Look out for signs to "The Mall" to the left at a roundabout 

DIRECTIONS to The Dolce and Gabbana
(roughly 35min from Florence)
 LOOK OUT FOR: Dolce man, women and kids 

  • From Florence take the highway (autostrada) in direction ROME
  • Take the exit at INCISA REGGELLO
  • Follow the same road you would for The Mall (above) but take a left at the roundoubout signposted for "Dolce Gabbana outlet'

DIRECTIONS to Prada outlets 
(roughly 25min from Florence)

LOOK OUT FOR: Prada and Miu Miu for both men and women
  • From Florence take the highway (autostrada) in direction ROME
  • Take the exit at VALDARNO
  • Follow signs to MONTEVARCHI
  • Then follow signs to AREZZO 
  • Then look out for signs to "Space Outlet" to the left

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