By Manos Angelakis
St. Ambrose said “If you should be in Rome, live as the Romans do; if you should be elsewhere, live as they do there”.
So, when I’m in Florence, I live as the Florentines do. I shop in the neighborhood stores that the locals patronize and eat in restaurants, patisseries and gelaterias, away from the tourist traps that occupy the city center.
Up to a few years ago, I would ask the hotel’s concierge or a cab driver to direct me to the appropriate businesses, if I did not know the neighborhood. Recently I was lucky enough to be befriended by a number of wine producers and oenophiles who live in the city and would get tips from them.
I just found a little book that will become my bible for visiting Florence in all future trips. It is called “The Cognoscenti’s Guide to Florence” and will allow a traveler to shop and eat in the manner of the Florentines, by providing practical information in the guise of city walks and the good establishments that one would encounter during these walks.
Looking through the book one finds everything that a visitor might want or need, from pharmacies and perfume stores, to enotecas selling quality regional wines, to bookstores, to florists, to toy stores and the list goes on.
Do you plan to buy masks for the Venetian Carnevale or to decorate a room in your house? The information is there! Are you looking to purchase high quality silk fabrics woven on 18th century looms that create bedspreads, curtains, scarves, tassels and pillows in a variety of colors and styles? You are told where to find them! Are you in search of comfortable, hand made, leather shoes or sandals? You will be directed to a small, if-you-blink-you’ve-missed-it store where a shoe-maestro will fit you!
Louise Fili and Lise Apatoff have done an excellent job of guiding you to many hidden treasures of this wonderful city, Florence.
© May 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.