Fashion Forward Florence By Alycia Oliver

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If fashion is something that sparks your curiosity, you may wish to experience Florence, Italy from June 18th to June 21st. Between these hot summer days, the Pitti Uomo is in full swing. One could also call this ‘The Beautiful People’s Club’. This renowned fashion week attracts models, designs, bloggers and photographers from all over the world. You know what this means- great people watching! As high fashion men and women stroll the streets bystanders are able to admire their impeccable, well-put together outfits.

fashion-show-pictures-1As the busy city gets exponentially busier, events get set up on the streets. An even bigger bonus- several events include free alcohol and are open to the public! This will be one of the only nights you will want to be wearing your high heels ladies (other than that the uneven cobblestone streets will guarantee you an ungraceful face plant). This is the best place to meet future contacts, especially if you are interested in the fashion industry. Shops are open after hours and DJ’s are brought in playing euro-trance tunes to keep shoppers happy. If you are planning a trip to Florence, this could be the right time for you to come. If you are already in Florence, enjoy every minute and absorb all the new fashion trends Europe has to offer!

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Top 10 Attractions for Young Adults in Florence By Alycia Oliver

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Florence is a city full of character and personality. As you walk down the narrow streets each one is more interesting then the next. This lively city is a great place for students to visit for a weekend or even to study for a long period of time. The following lists the top ten places to go to, ranging from sights to nightlife to restaurants including links to find tickets. These are listed in random order, so if you do not have time for all pick what interests you the most!

The Duomo

The Duomo

1)Piazza Del Duomo- The Duomo is one of the most popular sights to see in Florence, once you see it you will understand why. It’s large, intricate exterior is breath taking and its beauty continues to the interior. If you are up for it hike the Duomo’s 414 steps to the top to see Florence from a different angle- it is truly spectacular!

2) Piazzale Michaelangelo- A small hike to the top of this hill will get you an incomparable view of Florence. It is easy to purchase wine, champagne and beer once you reach the top as a reward. Enjoy a drink while listening to the street performers and watching the sun set over the city of Florence. If you care to go dancing after, Flo, an outdoor seasonal club, is nearby.

3) The Secret Bakeries- Most of these wholesale bakeries are only open for the night owls and partygoers. Some are difficult to find however asking a few locals they should be able to direct you in the right way. One is located on via Canto Rivolto 2, an alleyway behind busy via De’ Benci. The cheap freshly baked goods should satisfy all cravings.

San Lorenzo Market

San Lorenzo Market

4) San Lorenzo Market- Italy is known for their high quality leather. There are blocks upon blocks of leather goods and jewelry to keep you occupied for hours. Watch out for pick pocketer’s and be sure to bargain!

5) Ponte Vecchio- This is the oldest bridge in Florence which usually covers the face of postcards. It is lined with a variety of jewelry shops that have been there for hundreds of years! At sunset, street musicians play on the middle of the bridge while people gather around sipping on pre-bought bottles of wine. Just below the bridge there is a grassy area along the river where you can relax, away from all the traffic.

6) Piazza Santo Spirito- If you want to find a place farther away from tourists and closer to the local life, this is the place to be. This Piazza has several cafes, restaurants and bars to keep you occupied.

Parco Piscine le Pavoniere

Parco Piscine le Pavoniere

7) Parco Piscine le Pavoniere– In the months of summer Florence can get scorching hot. This is the best place to cool down and relax poolside. It can get very busy as it is the largest pool with a restaurant and café on location. During after hours the pool turns into a bar!

8) Gusta Pizza- For all the pizza- lovers out there, this place is a must! With the best quality and reasonable prices this pizza spot has claimed a title for one of the best pizza places in Florence. If you’re lucky the chef may even make your pizza into a heart for you!

9) Grom Gelato– Italian gelato is something you cannot leave Italy without tasting. This is a competitive industry in Florence and you will have no problem finding a gelato place within a one-block radius. However, if you want the best quality go to Grom. The service is great and there is a very large selection of flavors.

10) Hotel Cavour Rooftop Bar- This roof top bar is the nicest in the city! A great selection of drinks and an even better view! This place is something a bit more laid back then the typical bar or club scene in Florence.

If you want to see Florence in a day, this is also possible although be prepared to do a lot of walking! There are several companies that can guide you through the cities main attractions, such as When In Florence. You have several options, you can go by Foot, Bike, Vespa and even by Boat!

Savvy Shopping in Florence – by Ségolène Guitton

Shopping in a large and well known European city is not the same as shopping in a big department store back at home so here are a few smart tips on shopping in Florence so that you can have the most enjoyable time:

1. Dress accordingly – when walking the city, you will quickly come to realise that the place is filled with tourists, and as street venders and merchants try to sell you whatever they have on them, make sure you come accross as a customer used to the Florentine way of shopping and not some tourist window shopping for pretty much anything because street venders see tourists as incapable of knowing the real value of things in florence (thanks to the change in currency) you can be sure that as soon as street venders spot you as a tourist that prices will suddenly go up

2. Check out prices from your home country – make sure you check the local going rate of items you are thinking of buying before you head to your destination, that way you will know whether you are getting an actual bargain by buying it abroad

3. Designer Boutiques have the same prices everywhere – if you are thinking of buying that amazing leather cross body bag from Prada, and thinking it has to be cheaper abroad then think again, designer boutiques in Florence and Milan hold the same prices as the boutiques they have in the rest of the world – the only place you  might get them at a cheaper price is at the airport in duty free shops

3. Bargain, bargain, bargain – as you are scanning through something to buy on the streets of Florence, bring out your best bargain game, you might be surprised at how much you can save

4. Shop around – if you are planning to purchase something that almost every little boutique in Florence is selling make sure to go to a couple of shops and checking the prices before you commit to one place in particular. This is because prices vary from place to place: for example the more inversely you are to a major tourist area, the more prices will drop

5. Always ask for a receipt – I know it may seem like tedious task but trust me you will be thankful for that receipt when you want to return that particular item, or  when you are trying to figure out how much you spent that day, and also because you might end up needing it for a TVA refund

6. Count your change – make sure the shopkeeper gave you back the right amount or even charged you the right amount, you never know

7. Know the opening times – opening hours of stores varies accross countries so make sure you figure out opening hours before you head anywhere essential such as the bank or the post office: large shops in central Florence usually remain open from 10am until 7.30pm with slightly shorter hours during the weekends, while smaller shops close at lunchtime usually between 1pm and 2.30pm-3.30pm (these shops are usually closed on sundays).

8. Beware of counterfeit goods – as you wander the streets of Florence, you are bound to come across street venders selling fake designer bags and sunglasses; these items can be remarkably convincing and the prices don’t hurt either (especially if you bargain), however, buying as much as selling them is against the law and if you get caught, you might face a hefty charge so beware!

9. Know the sales period – if you are on a hunt to save money and would still enjoy splurging on a few items maybe decide to come to Florence during its sales season: Florence has two sales periods, the first one is usually between mid-January and early February and the second one is between mid-July and August

That being said, have an amazing time shopping in Florence!

Shopping in Florence: A unique experience à la Florentine – by Ségolène Guitton

If you are from abroad and have never been shopping in a typical European city, be prepared for a different kind of shopping experience right here in Florence.

Shopping is a different adventure for everybody, but whether you are looking for high street clothing stores, high end brands, vintage, antiques or home furniture, Florence is the place to be.

If you are on a quest for the latest trends from the world of high fashion such as Gucci, Prada, or Ferragamo, you should head to the streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calvaiuoli. These streets are filled with the latest fashions and haute couture collections from the biggest italian and international designers.

Yes, Florence does hold some of the everyday clothing stores we see all over the world such as H&M, Zara and all these other high street brands but as you walk through the city from famous monuments to little secluded streets you will find that Florence holds many little boutiques unknown to the world outside of the city. And as a total Fashion addict as myself, I think that is amazing, what better place than Florence to find this unique top or accessory that no one else will have when you get back home? If you are an individual with a distinguished sense of style, Florence is the place to be to find that one more unique touch to add to your look.

As you spend more and more time walking around Florence, you will come to realise that people were not lying, Italy is the birthplace of leather. I cannot describe how many shops I see every day filled with only leather goods, excellent quality leather goods for that matter. And while you may see many of these shops, make sure you take time to pop into some of them as you may be surprised with what you might find. Although leather goods can be found all over the city, make sure you check out the Santa Croche Leather Workshop: located in the cloister of the church of Santa Croche, this workshop is the most famous place to find leather items, ranging from bags to belts through bracelets all made in creatively natural shapes and textures.

Another thing that can make your shopping experience in the city that much more unique is the possibility to see craftsmen at work: the other day while I was wondering around Palazzo Pitti enjoying a nice walk in the sun, I came across this little hat boutique and while you walk around the shop admiring those beautiful handcrafted hats you cannot help but be distracted by that man in the back making those same hats surrounded by fabrics and drawings, something you rarely see in those big department stores back home.

While walking around Florence you might start to fill overwhelmed by the number of tourists and shops so here is a list of some of my must go places while out shopping:

Leather Goods

– Monaco Metropolitano (most commonly known as MM, this shop is home to a fantastic range of accessories all handcrafted and produced far from “the world of industrial mechanization”)                                                                                               – Santa Croche Leather Workshop

Jewellery

– Ponte Vecchio (if you love jewellery and are looking to purchase some high quality accessories, make sure to visit the gold sellers on the Ponte Vecchio – the place is filled with jewellery shops where you can find unique necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, rings and much more.)

Antiques

– If you are a lover of antiques, you should head towards Via Maggio (located close to the Palazzo Pitti) and Via de Fossi (located close to Sante Maria Novella).
I actually live on Via Maggio, and every day on my way back and forth from work I cannot help but stare at the amazing artworks and collectables they have on displays.

Haute Couture Fashion & High Street Fashion

– A large number of internationally high end designer stores can be found on the streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calvaiuoli                                                                                                                                                                  – If you head towards Piazza della Repubblica, Via Calimala, and Via Por Santa Maria, you will find big international chain stores such as H&M and Zara as well as large Italian department stores such as Rinascente