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July 4, 2007updated Dec 07, 2015

The 3 Best Things To Do In Florence

By Chris Boyle

SCUOLA DEL CUOIO

Leather Hand Bags From The Scuola Del Cuoio

For one-of-a-kind, exceptionally crafted leather accessories visit the Scuola del Cuoio, or School of Leather, located in Santa Croce monastery.

Founded by the Gori and Casini families alongside Franciscan monks, the school once offered apprenticeships to Warld War I orphans. Adorned with frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio, the Scuola del Cuoio has the atmosphere of a Renaissance workshop and customers can watch the artisans at their craft. Logos are never engraved on the leather so that each item is valued solely on the quality of its craftsmanship. Accessories are handmade using calfskin, deer, ostrich, alligator and python. Francesca Gori, daughter of the school’s founder, has a permanent collection of hand-cut and stitched, individually decorated, jeweled handbags. Audrey Hepburn, Steven Spielberg and President Eisenhower owned Scuola del Cuoio leather articles. Book private lessons with a Scuola del Cuoio Master Craftsman and learn how to make your own accessory – from a leather journal cover to a pouch-style handbag or monogrammed belt.

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL FIRENZE, SPA

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL FIRENZE, SPA

Treatment and facilities: This outstanding spa is located within Giardino della Gherardesca, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze’s 11-acre private garden.

The spa uses a bespoke range of natural products formulated by one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Pierre-Yves Rochon is responsible for the chic cream and black interior of the spa lounge, which is adorned with carefully chosen classical art. The nine treatment rooms in the main building boast stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary mosaics and polished oak floors. The true pièce de resistance is the opulent VIP Couple’s Suite. Located in a separate building, the Couple’s Suite has corniced ceilings and a freestanding bath, with a fireplace in the lounge area. To ensure absolute discretion, the extensive windows look directly out over the suite’s own private garden area.

Signature treatment: The Sense of Well-Being. Available exclusively in the VIP Couple’s Suite, your body is coaxed into a state of total relaxation during this luxurious three-hour session. The treatment consists of an eight-step ritual including a foot soak, rose water toning treatment, Tuscan exfoliating scrub and a pureness facial.

ENOTECA PINCHIORRI

ENOTECA PINCHIORRI, kitchen

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Head chef Annie Féolde and Sommelier Georgio Pinchiorri began their collaboration in 1972 at the esteemed National Wine Cellar, where Féolde crafted light dishes to complement Pinchiorri’s coveted wine collection.

Féolde’s cuisine became increasingly complex and by 1993 the pair were running a three-Michelinstar restaurant with a renowned wine cellar. Pinchiorri keeps 120,000 bottles of the finest wine in the restaurant’s basement. Enoteca Pinchiorri emanates character and charm with mosaics, parquet floors, a pink marble chimney and antique furniture, but it is the restaurant’s cuisine rather than its décor that is the true show stopper. Born in Nice, Annie Féolde successfully applies French techniques to Tuscan gastronomy. Dishes focus on one ingredient prepared by a number of methods. One popular dish on a single plate is crawfish filled with courgettes and thyme, fried in batter and stewed with onions and bacon.

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