Sofia's Florence

Sofia’s good taste goes beyond her astute sense of style. As a scholar and scientist, she has a profound understanding of how the arts influence who we are, what we value, and how we should live.

Ferragamo Museum

Salvatore Ferragamo’s cinematic journey of creation is brilliantly represented here. He designed the iconic multi-colored wedge for Judy Garland to celebrate the success of the Wizard of Oz. He invented the platform, the wedge, the cork sole. Joan Crawford danced to 100 dance trophies in his shoes. And here, inside the historic Palazzo Spini-Feroni, are the handmade wooden lasts for the feet of Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, and others.


A living homage to several Florentine traditions all at once: the gilded age of the Renaissance, the artisanal beginnings of Guccio Gucci, and contemporary art in every medium. From the iconic “La Dolce Vita” projected in the film room to the video of Sophia Loren with a Gucci bag, you are in the midst of a kaleidoscope of art, thought and design.


One of the oldest pharmacies in the world, founded by the Dominican friars, who grew medicinal herbs for curative purposes. Today, the pharmacy still produces balms, pomades, and elixirs from only the highest quality raw local ingredients. No one should leave Florence without the signature potpourri, an intoxicating mix of lilac, wood, rosemary, and other flowers and herbs from the Florentine hills, left to macerate in Impruneta terracotta jars.


These luminous and precise works of art appear to be painted in watercolor or oils. They are, instead, composed of finely cut pieces of stone from local and distant quarries using 16th-century techniques. Bruno and Iacopo Lastrucci and their trained mosaicists, like their Renaissance predecessors, search for stones in their natural habitats. In 2010 the Studio Lastrucci received the Bottega Artigiana Fiorentina prize, along with the patronage of the UNESCO Centre of Florence.


It may be this designer’s love of cinema that inspires such heart-stopping pieces as a knotted necklace of colored glass beads or chandelier earrings that reach one’s shoulders without ever seeming to be too much. With the hands of a sculptress, the eyes of a painter, and the intuition of a woman who knows how to make other women feel gorgeous, Angela Caputi has achieved the extraordinary. Pull out the massive white drawers filled with whimsical and gorgeous earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and pins—and just play.


Florence was not only the birthplace of the Renaissance but also of the Futurist movement. And it was in these historic caffès (Gilli, Concerto Paszkowski, Giubbe Rosse) in the Piazza della Repubblica, then named Piazza Emanuelle II, that Florence’s literati met over espresso and wine, to write and discuss their manifestos, pamphlets and books. At Caffè Gilli, Sofia is enamored of a coffee dessert called il cremino.