Getting set to return to travel this summer?

Florence may be a well-touristed town, but Julia Dilworth was able to track down a handful of thoughtful designers and makers who are redefining the city's artisanal scene (read all about them here)—and she got their top picks so you can explore Firenze like the locals.   florence-gems-4.jpg

Local Picks from Martina Loncar Goldsmith, Martina Loncar Jewellery

florence-gems-1.jpg

Bjork

This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it concept store in the Oltrarno district houses hip men’s and women’s fashions and a wide range of art and culture publications (Avante Garde, Kinfolk, Woth, The Gentlewoman). They’ve got a cozy second-floor loft space they’ve set up for private reading sessions and they carry Italian designers like Federico Curradi, Sunnei and New Kid shoes.

florence-gems-3.jpgBrac

“It’s not typical Italian food,” says Loncar, but this popular space is a favourite. Order the tri-plate piatto unico and choose a salad, pasta and faggotino (a crunchy bread pocket with fillings like ricotta and spinach). This lunch/dinner resto-café and artist event venue has stellar natural light (vaulted domed ceilings, big windows) with an inner open-air atrium (decorated with living room furniture, streamers of hanging pastel fabric and bicycles), plus there are shelves of art books everywhere.

florence-gems-5.jpg

Local Picks from Marghertia Pandolfini Textile Designer, La Serra MK Textile Atelier

florence-gems-7.jpgNumeroventi

Pandolfini’s friends run this exhibition and artist residency space that’s on her street (Via Pandolfini) and inside a 1500s palace called Palazzo Galli Tassi. The gallery space is palatial, but the most beautiful parts are the apartments they rent to travelling creatives: bright lofts with six-foot arched windows, simple Italian mid-century modern furnishings, wide-plank oak floors and copper pendant lights.

florence-gems-6.jpgStibbert Museum/Museo Stibbert

The half-Italian, half-English Frederick Stibbert (also Pandolfini’s ancestor) was a prolific private collector of historic artifacts—all of which are on display inside his former 1800s estate for eight euros! “It’s really inspiring because it’s a bit eccentric,” says Pandolfini. The rooms show off everything from his lavish decor (leather brocade wallpaper, gilded rococo furniture and Murano glass chandeliers) to his 16,000-piece armour collection (complete with 14 life-sized 16th-century knights on horseback). Well worth the cab trip up the hill.

Updated post, originally published March 2018