A Spring Weekend In Florence
Rooftop view from the terrace of JK Place
This weekend was planned as a few days respite post the yearly Salone de Mobile in Milan. The worlds most enormous design fair bringing together designers, agents & brands in this week long event (which you can read about here & here). After spending the previous four days walking miles & miles every day, my mind was full to bursting with all the appointments we had, exhibitions & installations we’d visited. Florence was down time, whilst checking out a few places on our radar (I was here on Discover&Deliver business). Discover&Deliver were lucky enough to have the support of one of our favourite small hotels when the company launched last year, JK Place in the lovely Piazza de Santa Maria Novella. Blocking out the rally/music festival going on in the square on the afternoon we arrived, I was just desperate to see which room we were staying in. After longingly staring at photographs of JK Place for over two years I was so thrilled to be finally staying here. I will always remember seeing a magazine page with the most beautiful dining room taking up a full page in the magazine. House & Garden I think it was, it took pride of place on my inspiration pin board in my studio, anyway, only a couple of years ago did I realise It was this hotel. Amazing how these things unfold….
Guest Living Room
The Library above, featuring Estro picture lights available to buy here.
After being invited into the library to sign in, we were shown to our beautiful room overlooking the Piazza. JK Place Firenze opened in 2003 (with another outpost in Capri), it is still known as the most elegant place to stay in Firenze. Well, maybe after the Bottega Venetta Suites at the St Regis (I had a quick tour, it’s quite beautiful). Back to JK Place though, the hotel has just 20 rooms, & few are the same. There is a Duplex suite, Master room (below), a Penthouse, Classic rooms, & Junior suites. Some rooms feature four poster beds, & all feature their heavenly embroidered linens & bath products. The Florentine designer, Michele Bonan did good here.
I loved this little feature, forget movies on demand JK Place had a DVD wall where guest can borrow their movie of choice to watch in their room. We chose the Pixar film UP, & yes I sobbed into my hand stitched linen pillow that night. Below is another wall light I spotted, this is the Kuria Lamp by Estro, available to purchase here.
Once we’d had a moment to just take a deep breath & finally realise we were here, we headed straight to the rooftop terrace with our laptops to begin writing up all the excitement we’d seen in Milan. Finally, we had some time to have a de-brief & begin creating action plans for our weeks ahead. Salone de Mobile is full on information overload. Obviously we were eased into our state of relaxation via the odd Aperol Spritz & calming efforts of the staff ensuring we had our evening reservations taken care of. Bliss.
Spot the Libra wall light on the Terrace. Available to buy at Discover&Deliver.
Little pre-stroll snack…
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
Sunset in Florence, tourists & locals alike flock to the river to watch the magical Tuscan set slowly over the bridges infront of the Ponte Vecchio. Everyone strolls from the local wine bars, glass in hand to just quietly take it all in, we caught it just in time. Five minutes later & we would have missed it all. JK Place reccomended we try Cammillo for our first supper in Florence. We’d been sent to a real gem, this family run trattoria opened way back in 1945. Packed with the locals, all effortlessly chic dressed in Loro Piana & Ferragamo, we were squashed onto the world’s tiniest table, & promptly handed English menus. So much for the blending in. Serving simple local dishes, tuscan beans, crostini, burrata & pappardelle, the table next to us showed us how it’s really done, with the most enormous steak, this was a serious meat restaurant, with most of the trattoria’s being celebrated for their house dishes, tonight we were in the Florentine equivalent of Hix or Hawksmoor.
Ponti Vecchio below
After a stroll through a sleepy Florence, avoiding the gelato shop (again) it was time to head back to the hotel, I was looking forward to road-testing my hotel slippers. The last few days had seriously caught up with me by now. I couldn’t had wished for a more comfortable bed! Hand stitched bed linen, & a cup of tea in bed with a movie on to send me to sleep? Bliss….
Day Two: Morning!
With every good intention to get up at the crack of dawn to write up some reports from my time in Milan, I think I finally made it to breakfast in the dining room for 8.30/9am ish. I love smaller hotels where you all sit at the same breakfast table, Ett Hem in Stockholm share the same ‘at home’ style. After multiple cappuccino’s & a plate of Italian meats & cheeses I was set for day two…
JK Place dining room. Chairs by Michele Bonan for Chellini.
Day two, & it was time to check into a new hotel. A running trend with LWSY. I can’t spend more than one night in the same hotel. FOMO (fear of missing out). Gallery Arts is just a stones throw from the Ponte Vecchio, & part of the Lungaro group of hotels. Much bigger with 7 or 8 floors of rooms, we were upgraded to a beautiful suite with a little terrace, again looking over all the pretty rooftops. The bathroom was possibly bigger than the room itself, with very generously sized Ferragamo bathroom products. Another hotel designed by Michele Bonan, this is a 4* star hotel popular with the locals, always a good sign. A perfect people watching spot. Set in a quiet little courtyard opposite the Hotel Continentale, by the Arno & Ponte Vecchio, it’s a perfectly situated hotel.
One final night, one final supper. Tonight, Buca Mario on Piazza degli Ottaviani. Buca Mario is housed in a sixteenth-century buca. In Florence, a Buca is a cellar situated beneath historic palazzos often owned by aristocratic families. They were used to store salted meats, ham and salamis, & wine. Enormous oak planks lined the thick walls, which maintained an ideal temperature. As you make your way down the old entrance stairs of Buca Mario, it’s impossible not to step into the past, with the vaulted arches and bare brickwork. It’s a very authentic place for a quiet sunday evening. The food? Heaven. Simple plates of parma ham & melon, wild boar pappardelle pasta & homemade tiramisu that leaves you wanting seconds.
The next morning I popped into another hotel I was considering staying at. Over the courtyard from Gallery Arts, Hotel Continentale is also owned also the Lungaro Group. It’s a really cute hotel, & I think i’d rather have stayed there (not that Gallery Arts wasn’t beautiful) see this is my FOMO kicking in again! This is why I’m here though, to tell you what I’ve seen so you can make your own decisions. Here you are, Continentale below, with some finds for you…
Saarinen Tulip Chair available to buy here.
Wall lamps by Estro available here.
Here’s a first, a sofa in a lift with shutters, so you feel like you’re in a little conservatory…
Liberty Floor Lamp by Estro, available to buy here…
With a lunchtime flight back to London, my time was up in Florence. You can imagine my surprise when I landed at Heathrow, I thought I’d booked a flight to city. Good job I didn’t leave my car at the airport.
All images: LWSY