As Florence heats up for the summer season, here are some insider tips on places to keep you cool, calm and beautified.
Arguably the best mani/pedi in town, when Maniboo opened its purple doors, its California-style treatments took the city by storm. Within the purple drawing room, four velvet banquettes are ready for manicures, while out back your tootsies are immersed in a warm bath before the polishing begins. Book ahead so you won’t be disappointed.
Borgo Ognissanti 4R / www.maniboo.it
Fabio is the main man at this stylish parrucchieri (hairdressers), however all staff will pamper you equally. Within the front loggia of a grand Santo Spirito palazzo, Aveda products are used and there are other treatments upstairs like manicures and waxing. A one-stop beauty shop south of the river Arno.
Via di Santo Spirito 27 / www.parrucchieriwavefirenze.com
This sleek salon down a backstreet near the Duomo is run by the effervescent Simone and Valeria. With over 25 years hairdressing experience, Simone is in charge of tresses while Valeria focuses on make-up. Book an appointment for this one-seat-only salon.
Via dei Biffi 5R / www.ziziai.com
Established in 2006 by Sue Townsend, one of the founding owners of Crabtree & Evelyn, this Italian store is intoxicating. Behind the palm tree-adorned glass front door are rows of brightly coloured products inspired by Sicily and made in Tuscany. Nutty almond, lavender, Sicilian lime, orange blossom and sweet pomegranate are a few of the ranges to choose from and much of it is handmade.
Borgo San Jacopo 12R / www.ortigiasicilia.com
Thai massage is the best jet-lag cure I know. So I run to the tranquil Silathai the minute I land in Florence to enjoy some relaxation under the arch of a fresco ceiling. Deep tissue and oil are available (30 euro for 30 minutes, 60 euro for 60 minutes) and oils can be purchased to take home. Enjoy pandan and lemongrass tea afterwards.
Via dei Serragli 63R / www.silathaimassage.com
This perfume showroom harks back to a bygone era of Florence. Set in a 16th-century palazzo beneath glorious arched ceilings, large wooden cabinets contain rows of glass bottles filled with sensual scents. With bespoke bottles available and workshops too, experience the ambience of a salon dedicated to the fine art of perfume making.
Borgo Santa Croce 6 / www.florenceparfum.com
Perfume master Villoresi has been working his magic since 1990 in a secluded bottega (workshop) surrounded by scents and exotic smells from all around the world. Famed for his one-of-a-kind bottles made to order, you can visit his sleek perfume emporium hidden in a 16th-century palazzo in the quaint district of San Niccolò. With a perfume museum and academy due to open in 2019, there are many reasons to visit.
Via de’ Bardi 12 / www.lorenzovilloresi.it
Originally a monastery where monks created tinctures for health, this elegant atelier dedicated to an apothecary has over 400 years of history. Under the grandeur of the Great Sales Hall, it was originally a chapel dedicated to San Niccolò di Bari, and frescoes painted by Paolino Sarti represent the fame of the pharmacy and its products across the world. Try before you buy, from hand cream to perfumes including its namesake originally commissioned by Caterina de’ Medici. Make sure to visit its ancient Antica Spezieria, the old shop dating from 1612.
Via della Scala 16 / www.smnovella.com
With an aim to bring the Italian countryside to your body and home, these organic beauty products are 100 percent made in Tuscany using fresh spring herbs, rosehip berry, helichrysum, Iris Florentina and wild flowers. The range includes perfumes, bath gels, crèmes based in vegetable oils (rice, sweet almond and sunflower), exfoliating gels and body oils. Scented candles are made with 100 percent natural ECOSOYA® wax.
Via della Spada 36R / www.poesia21.com