EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED WHILE SHOPPING
Are you ready to lift the veil of antique bodegas and to disclose the best ‘spots in town’ to find the must-have mementos of your journey?
Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance and of Italian haute couture, where unparalleled marvels are unveiled with each step. Behind its gilded and glorious façades, curious travellers will find a city that cajoles them to uncover more genuine and confidential facets. Belmond Villa San Michele prompts its guests to explore every corner, daring them to go through doors that conceal unexpected worlds; because when it comes to shopping, there is much more to the city than famous brands and glittering showcases.
This season, Belmond invites you to discover small hidden shops, ateliers of young and talented designers, and concept stores that are working completely out of the box. We will take you where the real action happens. Our guests will savour places where tradition meets modernity, where each product breathes with the overwhelming passion of artisans, an echoing leitmotif throughout the entire itinerary. Following this “unexpected-shopping trail”, guests will see, smell, touch with their hands and share the emotions that only craftspeople and their stories can offer.
We will introduce you to Saskia, an exceptional woman who moved to Florence from Germany two decades ago to make her dream of becoming one of the best female cobblers in the world come true. Each pair of shoes she makes reflects her client’s wishes and personality; an introspective task that translates to the creation of the perfect model for each foot and soul. For instance, an electric blue insole is used for the client longing for a boost of energy in the morning.
With her elegant, skilled hands, Saskia crafts only shoes for men. She never designs high-heeled models, although an expert and sensitive eye will notice the female touch in her creations, revealed by more gentle silhouettes and a meticulous attention to the smallest of details.
And now, put your new shoes on and follow us to the perfect place to abandon yourself to a symphony of flavours: Pegna, the best treasure-trove of Tuscan products just a few steps away from the Duomo. An epicurean food store, located inside a fascinating 15th century building with vaulted ceilings, where locals and travellers alike have enjoyed grocery shopping since 1860.
Far from being a modern supermarket, Pegna defends its old “bottega” identity, where each salesperson is a gastronomic consultant, happy to offer suggestions regarding the finest ingredients and hints to create an outstanding recipe. You will often see sales assistants holding customer’s baskets, where they carefully place the products selected, a treat that is reserved especially for older Italian women: authentic gentlemen and true professionals just like in the old days! For example, Giuseppe with his enormous passion and uncommon profession: he is a ‘Maestro
Prosciuttaio’ (Ham Master). From behind his counter of highly selected cured meats and cheeses, with his gentle manners and infectious smile, Giuseppe prepares special delicacies that will rob you of your senses.
The tour continues to the address where you will find Fratelli Zanobini, a fascinating and historical wine shop or, to use a local term, a “fiaschetteria”. Here, among the wooden shelves showcasing the finest wine selections, you will breathe in an ancient charm. Simone, the owner of the store that has been run by his family for generations, will suggest the finest labels for you and will not miss an opportunity to tell you some hilarious family anecdotes. Just to anticipate one, his father used to win children’s smiles by giving them a knowing wink and offering them a tiny bottle of what they believed was whisky, actually filled with sparkling lemonade!
Just a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge of jewellery and gold in the San Niccolò district, there is a special atelier owned by Alessandro Dari, a Florentine sculptor and master goldsmith. Maestro Dari creates elaborate pieces of handcrafted jewellery. Worthwhile mentioning is his special collection inspired by royal crowns, Tuscan churches and monuments, all embellished with precious gems; a must-have for anyone who wishes to feel like a queen.
Expect the unexpected while shopping with Belmond Villa San Michele and get ready to take home a unique memento fuelled with the special energy that only a genuine experience can offer.
Notes to Editors
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PR Belmond Villa San Michele
About Belmond Ltd.
Belmond Ltd is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. Established almost 40 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Company owns and operates 46 unique and distinctive hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in many of
the world’s most celebrated destinations. From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara. Belmond also encompasses safaris, six luxury tourist trains
including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, three river cruises and ‘21’, one of New York’s most storied restaurants.
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