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View from Arnolfo Tower

Luca’s tips for your Tuscan stay

4 July 2020

Luca Gnecchi Ruscone shares a strong tie to Florence and the Tuscan territory. This is where he chose to live and where most of his family lives.

Keep reading and discover his favorite places in Florence.

What makes Florence special to you?

Florence evokes my maternal family. Is the birthplace of my grandfather Raffaello Bini, the one who led me to Asmara on the journey that started the story of L.G.R.

What do you suggest to do when visiting Florence?

Florence is an entirely walkable city, so just keep walking and your eyes will be filled with art and wonder: Brunelleschi’s Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s bell tower, Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, the incredible sunsets from Piazzale Michelangelo and the beautiful views from the lungarno.

Ponte Vecchio view from Ponte alle Grazie

But don’t be afraid to step off the tourist trail and to get lost in the city and explore! In Palazzo Vecchio, you can catch some intriguing and mysterious glimpses of the palace with a tour of the private passages created for the Medici family by Vasari; or climb the steps of Arnolfo Tower to get the best view of the Duomo (best at sunset when the Duomo will be bathed in the perfect golden light). Don’t forget to visit Il Porcellino (piglet in Italian), a bronze statue in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, and to rub the boar’s snout to ensure good luck and your return to Florence!

The view from Arnolfo Tower

Do you have some secret spots to shop something unique?

The tradition of made in Italy is still strong in this city. Florence has several one-of-a-kind artisans workshops creating jewelry, objects and leather accessories, all strictly handmade, that you won’t find anywhere else. When I’m in Florence, I always end up buying a gift for my wife Diana from the master goldsmiths of Ponte Vecchio.

Principe di Firenze (Via del Sole 2) is a mini-department store with traditional tailored clothes for men and women, and a selection of elegant homewear. My grandfather used to go to this shop, and I’ve been buying my courdoroy trousers and lamb wool golfs here for years! The shop also offers a made to measure service, creating custom clothes according to your needs.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

I also strongly suggest to step by the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. This is a true hidden gem of Florence, close to Santa Maria Novella Church on Via della Scala. It’s one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, founded by Dominican friars in 1221; here, you’ll not find medicines, but delicious scents and perfumes. I personally love their pomegranate soap, and their pout-pourri is the unmistakable scent that I have always smelled at my mother’s house.

Then, don’t forget to visit L.G.R brand new Flagship Store in Via Porta Rossa 68r!

What about the food?

It may seem like one could throw a rock and find good food in Florence, so it’s difficult to suggest just one restaurant. First of all, as you are cruising along the cobblestoned streets of Florence, you will bump into trippai kiosks, where vendors preside over steaming pots of tripe boiling with vegetables and herbs, and order the classic panino con lampredotto, the ultimate Florentine street food.

If I might choose just one restaurant for a remarkable experience, I’d go with Cibrèo Trattoria, in Via de’ Macci 122r, by Chef Fabio Picchi. A smart and pleasant man, he is the city’s undisputed culinary icon, with its 5 restaurants congregated in Florence’s most authentic food quarter Sant’Ambrogio. At Trattoria Cibrèo you will try the most delicious pappa al pomodoro and eat the best steak of your life!

And if you want to experience Florence like the locals do, go to Sant’Ambrogio market in Piazza Ghiberti, just 10 minutes away from Piazza del Duomo. It’s one of the favorites of the Florentines as it’s more relaxed and quiet than the most famous Central Market in San Lorenzo neighborhood. It opens every morning at 7am to 2pm, and here you will find a large selection of various and colorful stands with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, pastries, but also meat, fish and cheese.

For the aperitivo, I have no doubts: a glass of wine accompanied by an array of traditional truffle panini at the historical Procacci. Located in the heart of Florence, on centuries old and prestigious Via de’ Tornabuoni, this delicatessen was founded in 1885 and, due to its historical, artistic and artisan heritage, it quickly gained an excellent reputation with the Florentines for its gastronomic delicacies made with truffles.