Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, Florence is a delight for any kind of traveler–whether one likes to experience Renaissance architecture, eat incredible meals, visit museums and galleries, sample DOGC wine at Tuscan wineries, or shop. In fact, during winter and summer, Italians flock to the shops for saldi, the biannual clearance sales. It is this premise that took us two couples to Italy in January.
And the saldi was everything we hoped it would be, although the sale prices weren’t as widespread as we’d hoped. We discovered beautifully textured jackets and handcrafted jewelry at UniqoUnique. Our foursome explored the zany bags at Graziella Braccianlini, were wowed by the stunning domed building (and the scents) at Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Novella, and giggled at the naughty linen cocktail napkins at TAF Firenze.
The sales season in Tuscany opens on January 5th and lasts 60 days with the big fashion companies and one of the most important Italian outlets: The Mall Firenze. This luxury outlet is home to brands like Balenciaga, Burberry, Chloé, D&G, Fendi, Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, and Valentino. We spent the most time in the stand-alone three-story Gucci store, which had already discounted pricing with some incredible deals because of the sale.
The Florentine cuisine is the stuff foodies’ dreams are made of, and the culinary delights spanned from truffled paninis and wine inhaled on the street to a 12-course, 4-hour meal with cocktail pairings. To read more about our dining adventures, check out my latest piece for CLASS: Luxury With a Purpose.
The stellar concierge team at the St. Regis Florence assisted us in avoiding the line at multiple museums and galleries, including the Galleria dell’Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s The David) and the Uffizi Gallery. I highly recommend utilizing this option to reduce wait times. We sped through these in one morning, allowing us enough time to climb to the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Florence Cathedral. (Side note: your legs will certainly burn after climbing your way to the top.)
There is a reason Florence has continued its Renaissance in the 21st century, becoming quite the crowded tourist attraction. (And short day trips to wine haven Montepulciano and portico-covered walking city Bologna are an additional enticement.) While winter weather may not appeal to all travelers, January is a perfect time to visit Firenze for minimal crowds, incredible deals, and a cold-weather Tuscan adventure.