A legit local’s guide to Florence

Luisa Via Roma’s Andrea Panconesi gives us his go-to spots for the holy trinity: pizza, wine and aperitivo (arguably the second best Italian invention after Giorgio Moroder).

Florence isn’t just home to mouth-watering gelato, excellent pizza, fine wines, and aperitivo. It’s also the location of the annual PittI Uomo fashion showcase that’s now entered it’s 90th year. To commemorate the monumental event, Pitti Uomo enlisted the help of Italian luxury fashion retailer LuisaViaRoma (and CEO Andrea Panconesi) and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris Carine Roitfeld and her CR Runway concept to host a celebration in the shape of an impressive catwalk show at piazzale Michelangelo that saw 5,000 members of the general public attend.

A grand total of 102 looks from the AW19 collections were shown (from Prada and Givenchy to Simone Rocha and Richard Quinn), worn by 61 female and 22 male models, including the likes of Alek Wek, Doutzen Kroes, Natasha Poly and Bella and Gigi Hadid. The spectacular played out as a homage to the iconic runway moments of the 90s. It’s a tribute to Florence, the capital of the Renaissance, where the first prêt-à-porter runways were held in the Fifties,” explains Andrea.

We caught up with Andrea Panconesi after the event to get his insider guide to Florence, including his go-to spots for the holy trinity: pizza, wine and aperitivo.

What’s your favourite restaurant in Florence?

Trattoria Cocolezzone. It translates to very dirty cook”. In ancient times they said that if you were too clean you couldn’t get food. Now it’s very clean and proper. It’s my second home.

Where would you take someone on a first date?

Forte dei Marmi – it’s a classic high society seaside location that Italians have flocked to for decades. It’s in Tuscany and you can see the white Alpi Apuane mountains. It looks like now, but it’s not, it’s white marble. 

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Where do you go book shopping?

Fashion Room Book Store. It specialises in fashion and design is a must visit here in Florence for creative people. We also opening library in our new concept store in Via Mattonaia.

What about the finest Italian wine?

Head to Cantina Antinori in Chianti country. It’s world renowned. I also love Fiaschetteria Fantappié, it opened in 1947 in Via dei Serragli. It has the best selection of labels and wines in the city.

The best low-key pizza joint?

Go to Pizzeria Antica Porta, they’ll make kind of pizza you’d like!

Do you do coffee and cake?

Yes, the bar at St Regis is one of my favourites in town for a relaxed coffee. And Dolci & Dolcezze in Piazza Cesare Beccaria, is great for sweets and cakes.

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Where do you go for aperitivo?

Enoteca Bellini. It is one of the spots in town, favoured by many Florentines, and myself.

Do you have a favourite gallery?

I love to wander around the Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi. If you’re looking for modern and contemporary art, I’d suggest Galleria Tornabuoni Arte.

What’s your go-to road trip?

A trip to Castello Di Ama. It’s a medieval castle in Chianti. Beside amazing wines, they also host contemporary art exhibitions in collaboration with Galleria Continua.

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What is it about Florence that fuels your creativity?

You just have to look up, raise your eyes, and you see something new every time. I see something new every day.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse?

The key word is curiosity. I’m fascinated by things that are different and unexpected. Things that are a novelty. If you’re curious you never grow old. I’m only 29!


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