Streetsmart: Borgo Pinti
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Streetsmart: Borgo Pinti

Borgo Pinti is a special brand of Florentine street: far enough from the frenzied pace of pieno centro to feel like a members-only walkway

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Thu 04 Feb 2016 1:00 AM

Borgo Pinti is a special brand of Florentine street: far enough from the frenzied pace of pieno centro to feel like a members-only walkway, but sufficiently close so that getting there never feels like a chore. Palazzi with towering doorways dominate much of the stretch; magnificent gardens that once buzzed with activity now stay staunchly guarded; and sacred spaces like Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi add to the air of refined calm. Intimidated? Even with its family crests and hints of high society, Borgo Pinti has a host of funky spaces worth spotlighting.

Hotel Monna Lisa

Looking for lodging for out-of-town guests or just a new cozy spot for a cocktail? Try this splashy yet homey hotel, full of artistic treasures. In an unassuming room between reception and the restaurant area stands a Giambologna statuette depicting the Rape of the Sabine Women, a rough-marble model that won him the commission for the famous piece at the Loggia dei Lanzi. The Monna Lisa could also double as a Giovanni Duprè museum: the hotel houses numerous works by the neo-classical sculptor, an ancestor of today’s owners. Don’t miss the kitschy Mona Lisa Room, lined with re-imagined renderings of Leonardo’s magnum opus, from the comic book-to the Chuck Close-esque.

Dance by Nicola Parisi

The personable Parisi is reason enough to drop by Dance, a womenswear shop where everything is his own production. You might recognize Parisi as one of the flag-waving members of the Florentine corteo storico: photos from local ceremonies and pageants line the walls, along with images of icons from James Dean to Mikhail Baryshnikov. As for the apparel on offer, sequined vests and stonewashed denim hang alongside jersey dresses and crewneck cable-knits: in short, it’s full of surprises.

Cup of Milk

Don’t let its diminutive size deter you: this tiny boutique is big on charm and international flavor. Cup of Milk is a well-curated children’s store that turns northward for inspiration, taking design cues from chic Scandinavian shops. Outfit your little ones in the mood-brightening onesies from Spanish brand Bobo Choses or jazz up their bedrooms with wall decals, pastel notebooks, paper hampers and other cheery kid-friendly accessories. Though it’s popular with savvy parents, Cup of Milk is even better for doting aunts, uncles, friends and grandparents looking for guaranteed-to-please gifts.

The Box

Blink and you’ll miss The Box—if you’re walking by in broad daylight, that is. Head to this homespun hotspot after sundown and you’ll see an eclectic crowd spilling out into the street, no matter the season. With drink wizard Fabrizio at its helm, The Box serves up fruity cocktails, international beers and the house specialty, Moscow Mules. Squeeze inside with someone you’re hoping to snuggle close to or socialize outside with the regulars, who include fashionable Florentines, architecture students from the nearby facoltà and neighborhood colleagues who unwind here after work. 

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