Insiders

Florence Insider Spotlight: Gaia Leonori Pratesi

“As a Roman native, I am privileged to reside and work in Florence, a timeless metropolis with a unique character, where connections are formed in every corner of the city,” says Gaia Leonori Pratesi, the wife of Federico Pratesi. She has lived in Florence for 20 years, calling herself an entrepreneur with love and respect for their family heritage.

Her entrepreneurial spirit can be felt—and purchased—in its latest iteration with the launch of Verderoccia, one of Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley’s favorite finds from a recent trip to Florence. The Pratesi family is famous worldwide for beautiful, Italian-made linens, but after selling their brand to a private equity firm, they realized that their passion had not been quenched. Now, Verderoccia showcases the same obsessive pursuit of quality that the family had mastered over four generations and 114 years, and Gaia has brought a more modern aesthetic.

In her lovely, two-story boutique, tucked in a palazzo courtyard in the heart of Florence, she displays her latest designs. There she meets with interior designers from around the world, who come to collaborate on custom bed and table linens for residences and yachts. One element that Gaia is most proud of is the new percale “with the ‘perfect’ thread count, composed of the longest table Egyptian cotton, woven in Italy by the same artisans who, for generations, worked for my husband’s family.”

Below, we ask about her favorites in her adopted city–the best place for a cappuccino, a museum to return to over and over again, favorite hotels and more.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a trip to Florence. Our team can match you with the hotels that are right for you, as well as advise on all our favorite activities and must-see sites. 

Favorite Morning Ritual

"Indulging in breakfast in our cozy bed, Federico and I found refuge in meditative musings before stretching and centering ourselves with a harmonious yoga session. Energized and ready for a bright day of teamwork!"

Best Breakfast or Coffee

"I love to have my cappuccino at Iginio Massari Café, a local gem tucked away around the corner of our showroom in the chic Helvetia & Bristol, a haven for pastry connoisseurs."

For Dining

With a local friend:

"Buca dell’Orafo is the ideal choice—cozy and welcoming."

With a friend from out of town: "Cantinetta Antinori is the perfect destination—beautiful scenery and incredible Tuscan food."

With family: "Frescobaldi best reflects our family’s taste."

Date Night

"Osteria delle Tre Panche

offers a breathtaking view."

Museums

For repeat visits:

"The majesty of the Santa Croce church took my breath away the first time I visited. Aided by our guide, I was mesmerized as he narrated stories of the beautiful frescos, which forever remain ingrained in my soul."

For first-time visitors: "Palazzo Vecchio on the Piazza della Signoria."

Favorite Neighborhood to Wander

"Santa Croce."

A Dose of Nature

"The countryside of Bagno a Ripoli, our home for nine years. The area has enchanting beauty, both vivid and mystic."

Best Shops

For women:

"I love blending multiple brands and when I find myself passing by Luisa Spagnoli’s windows, I’m always invigorated by the vibrant display of ethereal grace with a hint of glamour."

For men: Aspesi and Hermès.

For children: "GERARD–my teen kids love it!"

For special gifts: "Sourced from esteemed artisans: Pampaloni silver made in Florence or 9 ROSSO, a multi-generation bijou store."

For food: "Pegna (and from local farmers)."

Favorite Hotels

"Helvetia & Bristol

has long held an honored place in our shared family history (the spa is one-of-a-kind); Villa la Massa, synonymous with Tuscan elegance, lies close to the city's center; Villa Nicola, meanwhile, is a profoundly personal place where memories are made, nestled in the rolling hills of Siena."

First-time Musts for Visitors

"Indulge in aperitivo at Procacci and then wander through the nocturnal alleys of Florence to truly admire its greatness, all while remembering to lift the gaze."

Favorite Book on Florence

"Oscura e Celeste

by Marco Malvaldi about Galileo’s family and Metello by Vasco Pratolini."

Favorite Film in Florence

"A Room with a View."Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a trip to Florence. Our team can match you with the hotels that are right for you, as well as advise on all our favorite activities and must-see sites. 

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