A weekend in Florence with Pucci artistic director Camille Miceli
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I first came to Florence with a lover almost 30 years ago. It’s a romantic city, even more so than Venice, I think – the river Arno has its own magic and you have this very particular light in Florence that you don’t find anywhere else. At the same time there’s something less nostalgic about Florence because of the city’s factories and craftspeople, so there is always a kind of energy and bustle. I love the city’s sense of pride around the craft tradition.
I’m now based in Milan, but I come here whenever I need to visit the Pucci archives which are kept in the Palazzo Pucci, where Laudomia [founder Emilio Pucci’s daughter] lives with her mother. It was the HQ for the maison until 2017 and now it houses the Emilio Pucci Heritage Hub, which has a space dedicated to Pucci’s most iconic print, Vivara, as well as a colour library and archive pieces across furniture and design. For me, Florentine fashion epitomises Pucci, which is why I chose to do my first fashion show here. There was no way I could do it anywhere else. Florence is the DNA of the brand.
Whenever I visit, I like to stay at the Hotel Lungarno. It’s small, not flashy at all. The decor is very soft, and I love it because it overlooks the river so you can watch the guys rowing their boats. For a typical Italian sandwich, you have to go to Procacci, which is a little food and wine shop that makes the best little sandwiches in the world – the kind that you grab in the morning with your coffee. Their speciality is a truffle version with scrambled egg, though I’m not much into truffles personally so I usually go for the sautéed peas and Parmigiano cream. I’ll then walk around, crossing over the bridges, and wander over to the Uffizi Gallery, which is absolutely incredible. I never get bored with going there. I also love the contemporary art exhibitions they show at the Palazzo Strozzi. There’s a group exhibition on at the moment – featuring artists such as Maurizio Cattelan and Paola Pivi – that is very cool.
One thing that I really enjoy doing here is going to the antique stores. When I moved to Milan from Paris I decided that I only wanted to furnish my house with vintage things. I draped the couch in a fabric that I bought in Egypt and got a new bed, but other than that I just went around buying vintage pieces, and I found a lot in Florence. There’s a whole street of antique stores called Via Maggio, which has very, very good places such as Alina Malova. I also really like a shop called Galleria Estro di Michele Ramazzotti, which is in a building with a courtyard and has a mix of bric-à-brac and vintage clothing; you really feel like you’re in a brocante. There’s a guy there that has a very nice collection of ’50s and ’70s furniture, from whom I bought a beautiful wooden buffet that I keep in the entrance to the house now. I like to mix styles and different periods.
It’s such a small city that you get to know it very quickly, but every time you go there’s something new to discover. I really like to pay attention to the graphics and fonts that you see around the city. You can spot some very interesting ’60s- and ’70s-style graphics in front of big buildings such as the Hotel Croce di Malta, for example. The contrast of the old buildings with the new is very cool. Of course, you have to visit the museums, but just walking around the city is inspiring because there’s so much art everywhere. I also love the buchette del vino – the tiny wine windows – that you find all over Florence. Even though I don’t drink wine, I find them very charming.
For dinner, I love going to Trattoria Cammillo: it’s a Florentine institution and they do an excellent frittata ai carciofi, which is a delicious egg omelette with artichokes. I also love Trattoria Sostanza, which is famous for its meat. I never eat meat except when I’m in Florence. What I really like about those two places is that they feel authentic and you will always find local Fiorentini there.
Even with all the tourists the city attracts, there’s still a way of life here that is very cool and relaxed. A close friend of mine lives on the hill near the Boboli Gardens and you feel as though you’re in the countryside – there’s something very peaceful and calming about it. In Florence, there is just a wonderful sense of balance that makes it a very appealing place to be.