The Valentine’s gift guide for Florence lovers

The Valentine’s gift guide for Florence lovers

Tue 30 Jan 2018 3:08 PM

In love in Florence? It’s perfectly normal. You fall in love with the city, then you fall in love with a local, a Duomo-eyed doggy or/and your neighbourhood circolo. Here’s The Florentine’s guide to gifts this Valentine’s Day.

For wine buffs

No matter how you feel about the big red heart day, opening up a bottle of wine will most likely be involved. What better way to get ready for a little romance this Valentine’s Day than with a six-bottle Love Pack from organic winery Querceto di Castellina?

This holiday pack features two bottles of their unique white wine blend called Livia, a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and a bottle of each of the estate’s red wines: L’aura Chianti Classico, Sei Chianti Classico Gran Selezione and Podalirio Merlot. The six-bottle selection is offered at a special holiday price of 119 euro (20% discount), plus shipping costs. Purchase online or at the winery.

Querceto di Castellina, Località Querceto 9, Castellina in Chianti (SI)

For your man in Florence

Gift a “manband” to the male in your life. This handcrafted silver men’s bracelet surely hits a romantic soft spot with its moving marine motto: I look at the sea / nothing around / among the waves in the middle of the sea / blue like the sky / blue like the sea. The original design is by Fabio Corsini, a Florentine silversmith whose workshop is located outside Florence, on the road to Chianti. He’s in in love with (you guessed it…) the sea, but Fabio can craft singular pieces in line with your tastes, even with lasting lyrics in English. Price on request.

Gioielli Corsini, via Chiantigiana 38, Bagno a Ripoli (FI)

For food explorers

Bologna is a Italian city designed for cultured food lovers. Learn why one of its nicknames is “La Grassa” with Curious Appetite’s boutique food + wine tour in Emilia-Romagna’s capital, just 30 minutes from Florence. This tour indulges in the culinary legacy of Bologna over espresso, artisan baked goods, cured meats, prized cheeses, a fresh pasta-making hands-on demo with tasting, gelato and more with a local historical guide and true expert. Curious Appetite also offers a food lover’s crawl in Florence—if you’re too in love to leave Florence even for a day.

For your fashionable four-legged friend

Emma was dog garment stylist Simone Fammoni’s close companion for 14 years, a bull terrier with a strong but sweet character. Launched in winter 2017, Emma Firenze creates canine style that pairs with our own: leashes like our belts, sweaters like our artisan pullovers and bowls like our designer tableware. Dog owners can buy off the peg or spoil their hounds rotten with made-to-measure clothing and knitwear items using prized fabrics like Casentino panno and kaleidoscopic knitwear. We especially love this handmade striped pure new Merino wool sweater (starting from 178 euro), a warm yet lightweight garment that’s perfect for the spring.

For dyed-in-the-wool romantics

When all is said and done, we crave cuddles. And cashmere is as snuggly as it gets, especially when it hails from the Mugello market town Borgo San Lorenzo and available from the luxury store two minutes from the Duomo. Handmade in 100 per cent maxi yarn cashmere, Il Borgo Cashmere’s beanie (410 euro) with a fox fur pompom is contemporary, super soft and undaunted by winter chills. Il Borgo has been in the same family since 1949; they know their goats.

Il Borgo Cashmere, via Tosinghi 46R, Florence

For your mum, aunt or best friend

Step back into the nineteenth century at Münstermann in piazza Goldoni. But this is no museum; it’s an English-American pharmacy that’s been serving Florentines and foreigners with affordable and effective lotions and potions since 1897. The rich, replenishing Honey and Almond Face and Hand Cream (18 euro) is made on-site, a tonic for skin of any age on chilly winter days and nights. Pamper further with the matching plastic-coated textile bag woven in Como (28 euro), a one-of-a-kind thought from Florence.

Münstermann, piazza Goldoni 2R, Florence

For spa aficionados

Close your eyes and listen to the sound of water flowing, feel the steam on your face and unwind amid the scent of essential oils. Saunas, pools a plenty and relaxing massages are a dream come true at Asmana Wellness World, Italy’s biggest spa complex just outside Florence. Treat you and your loved one or best friend to a wellness experience package this Valentine’s to escape the stress of the city while sipping a cocktail under a starry sky. Available directly from Asmana or online.

Asmana, viale Allende 10, Campi Bisenzio (FI)

For language lovers

Love yourself this February 14—and beyond—by learning Italian. Set in a medieval monastery surrounded by olive trees and boasting breathtaking views over Florence, L’Olivo Italiano Italian language and culture school runs a Survival Italian Weekend. Learn how to order at a restaurant, meet new friends, go grocery shopping and ask for directions, the course comprises fun practical lessons based on short conversations with your partner. The intensive weekend course is available as a Valentine’s special costing 390 euro per couple, consisting of six 100-minute themed lessons, a free shuttle to and from the Bagno a Ripoli bus stop/complimentary parking, course materials included.

L’Olivo Italiano, Scuola di Lingua e Cultura Italiana, via del Bigallo e Apparita 18, Bagno a Ripoli (FI)

For young bookworms

Looking to keep your kids occupied this February? Paco & Camelia: The Venus’ Mystery and Other Secrets (13.90 euro) is a whimsical illustrated book, in English or Italian, set in Florence for children aged six and up. Secret passages, magic, unexpected twists and lots of laughter: the story ends hinting at a new adventure, eliciting readers’ curiosity to find out what will happen next. Written by Francesco Ciai, the founder of the Claudio Ciai Foundation, a portion of the proceeds are donated to support children victims of car accidents.

For fusion foodies

Soft lighting and a lotus-leaf ceiling set the scene for a romantic heart to heart at One Night in Beijing Fusion Bar & Restaurant. Seduce your beloved with the Eastern promise of a drink imbued with Sichuan syrup, saffron or ginger before indulging in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai-inspired dishes. Dote on the tofu and prawns, a tastebud-tantalizing blend of flavours and consistencies: an explosive mix, not unlike a Valentine’s night that goes according to plan. If all goes wrong, console yourself at the bar—it’s open until 2am. The restaurant is reminiscent of a film set: a striking nineteenth-century building emboldened by fusion-style furnishings.

One Night in Beijing Fusion Bar & Restaurant, via il Prato 14R, Florence

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

How to survive Valentine’s Day (without crying)

by Vincenzo D’Angelo

Love is beautiful, but sometimes it ends up not happening. Luckily, there are a lot of things to do in Florence to heal yourself and survive the worst day of the year for every broken heart.

1. If you find yourself at a table for two, eat for two. Nobody will ever know that you ate a double cheese pizza—even your metabolism will understand.

2. Binge-watch the first season of Medici: Masters of Florence. You’ll spend the whole night rooting for Contessina de’ Bardi (what a fierce queen!) until you fall asleep.

3. Have a long relaxing walk beside the Arno while listening to good music and watching the sunset over the Ponte Vecchio (But do not listen to Adele’s Someone Like You, for your own sake).

4. Do something fun. Go visit a museum, have a nice dinner with friends, buy souvenirs for your relatives abroad, treat yourself to some new clothes.

5. Embrace the “I Am Single” moment. Eventually, one day, someone will show up at your front door with cue cards, just like in Love Actually.

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