I just returned to Paris after a week-long trip in Italy! It’s good to be back; after only knowing how to say “hello” and “thank you” in Italian, I’m feeling like a master of the French language. My friend and I visited Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan; we spent two nights in each city except Milan which we only spent one night in. It was an extremely busy week but was so worth it!
In Florence, we happened upon The Gucci Museum. I didn’t know this existed until we saw it…it’s just what it sounds like: a museum about the history of Gucci with pieces from collections throughout the years. I thought it was going to be a half-hearted, thrown-together exhibit intended to make people buy Gucci products in the gift shop it would surely let out in, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was multiple floors of well-curated rooms, each highlighting a different aspect of Gucci (Handbags, Jewelry, Lifestyle, Branding, etc.). There was good information on plaques in each room and items from different decades displayed together to show the continuity of the brand. I didn’t know a lot about Gucci before this and I really enjoyed this overview of the brand; it’s definitely worth a visit. Here’s the website for the museum.
Florence is knows for its outdoor markets, so of course, my friends and I went for a stroll down the most famous one, the San Lorenzo leather market. Most of the vendors are aggressive and annoying, to be honest; I don’t like to be bothered while I shop, I’d rather be left alone, and these vendors call out to you and attach themselves to you as soon as you even look at their stand. But if you can deal with that, there are hundreds of leather bags, gloves, coin purses etc. for sale alongside tourist goods such as magnets, pottery, and masks. We found a store near the Duomo that sold similar leather goods and scarfs where the shop owner left us alone so we did most of our shopping there. But walking through the market is definitely part of the Florence experience.
One final stop on your shopping tour of Florence should be Ponte Vecchio, a bridge covered in jewelry shops. We just window shopped here, as the jewelry is pretty pricey, but the novelty of a bridge covered in shops makes this a fun stop on any walking tour of Florence. (And note, you will walk a lot! There really isn’t much public transportation because Florence is quite a small city.)
Aside from shopping, the Duomo is a must-see in Florence. There are also delicious restaurants everywhere. I had so many good meals! Florence was possibly my favorite stop in Italy, but it’s a close call…I’ll be back with more posts about the other cities we visited!