Melissa's Travels

Florence, Ever Fashionable: Tips from Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley

Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley crafts an itinerary with Laudomia Pucci in Tuscany’s evolving culture capital, finding new artisans and lesser-known treasure troves.

Getting away from the crowds has emerged as one of this year’s travel themes. And of all the cities often cited as examples of being loved into congestion, Florence tops the list of places people put off visiting because they worry it will be impossible to avoid throngs. In fact, when I returned to Europe just as it reopened to Americans in June 2021, I headed to Florence because I had avoided it for years, fearing crowds. Its treasures, though, from its terraced gardens and magical evening light on the Arno to its proud palazzos and tiny shops brimming with handmade crafts, make it a place that enchants as much on a first visit as on a 15th. So, smitten again by Tuscany’s capital, I returned this spring to collaborate with Laudomia Pucci, the former CEO of fashion brand Emilio Pucci and founder of the Emilio Pucci Heritage Hub, whose family has inhabited Palazzo Pucci at Via Pucci 6 for more than 500 years, since before the Medicis arrived.

As we crafted an itinerary together that celebrates the families—like hers and others that have laid the foundation of the city’s artistic and social traditions—we also explored how Florence continues to evolve. Modern art foundations and patrons are embracing the city’s rich heritage while bringing inventive exhibits and collections into its ancient buildings. Creative young chefs, artists and designers are coming to study the past while constantly innovating. By focusing a visit on the new creators and lesser-known treasure troves, it is possible to go off the beaten paths and revel in Florence’s unique fabulousness. Read on for some of our favorite spots.

Join us for our Florence Insider Journey, with Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley and explore how the great families of Florence laid the city’s cultural foundations and are continuing to shape its evolution. Plus, contact your Trip Designer or Indagare, if you are not yet a member, to learn more about planning your next travels. Our team can match you with the itineraries, accommodations, reservations and guides that are right for you.

Pucci Power

The new Emilio Pucci Heritage Hub, located in the Palazzo Pucci in Florence, combines the fashion brand’s archives with an innovative incubator program for special fashion projects.

Golden Age

One of the world’s top museums, the Uffizi Gallery features the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art, and the building, begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560, was commissioned as magistrate offices by Cosimo de Medici.

Up on the Roof

One of the city’s newest restaurants, Angel Roofbar at the Hotel Calimala.

Florentine Treasures

One of the world’s great antiques dealers, Stefano Bardini, who died in 1922, donated his former showroom and home to the city of Florence as a museum. The building and the treasures within it are some of Florence’s lesser-known cultural highlights.

A Twist on Tradition

Florence has long attracted expats: American Julia Berger, who founded the handmade linen boutique Julia B. Casa, has embraced the city’s artisan traditions and added her own twist. Her shop, at 33R Via dei Fossi, is one of many that will welcome our Insider Journey guests.

History as Tradition

“Florence is a city that flaunts its history but isn’t buried by it,” notes Melissa Bradley. “And many of its oldest families are the ones who are committed to keeping its tradition of innovation alive.”

Arts Patron

Laudomia Pucci, whose family traces its Florentine roots back more than 600 years, patronizes many of the city’s traditional artisans, including silversmith Brandimarte.

A Taste of Tuscany

Atelier de Nerli

is one of many neighborhood restaurants in Florence that specializes in traditional Tuscan cuisine.

Style File: Tips from Laudomia Pucci

In her own words:

Hear about Laudomia Pucci’s latest passion project, the Emilio Pucci Heritage Hub; what makes Florence such a unique Italian city; the evolution of fashion; and what we will explore on our fall Insider Journey to Florence on Melissa’s podcast Passport to Everywhere: Laudomia Pucci wherever you listen to podcasts.

Here are some of Laudomia’s Florence favorites:

Iginio Massari: A wonderful new pastry shop and tea salon. “If Paris has Ladurée and Milan has Marchesi, this is Florence’s similar outpost.”

Palazzo Strozzi: The contemporary art museum, of which she is a patron, brings new perspectives to an historic palazzo and will have a major Anish Kapoor show in the fall.

Farmacia Munstermann: An ancient pharmacy, not far from the Ponte Vecchio, that produces its own natural creams and cures. Laudomia recommends the eye and hand creams in particular.

Hotel Savoy: The Rocco Forte hotel is not far from Via Pucci; its lobby and restaurant feature an exclusive Pucci print celebrating Florence monuments.

Emilio Pucci Heritage Hub: Our Trip Designers can arrange visits to the family archives and fashion hub (not open to the public).

Join us for our Florence Insider Journey, with Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley and explore how the great families of Florence laid the city’s cultural foundations and are continuing to shape its evolution. Plus, spend time with Laudomia Pucci during a visit to their 600-year-old palazzo, as well as at her family villa in Tuscany. 

This article originally appeared in Indagare Magazine’s Summer 2023 edition, available exclusively to Indagare members.

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