How to While Away a Weekend in Florence


Roger Biles


- Florence, Italy

After attending Pitti Fragranze in Florence, True Grace’s co-founder, Roger Biles, shares some of his favourite Florentine sights, shops and scents.

Held annually in the beautiful city of Florence, Pitti Fragranze is an international event dedicated to the world of fragrances and beauty. I was lucky enough to attend the event this September and it was the perfect excuse to indulge in three of my favourite passions: fashion, food and fragrance. Below are some of the gems I discovered on my travels.

A rooftop cocktail spot

Florence is full of spectacular views but my favourite is a secret vantage
point perched high up at the top of the Westin Excelsior hotel, originally shared with me by writer and critic Stephen Bayley. My wife (and True Grace co-founder) Philippa and I spent a lovely evening there watching thunderstorms in the hills surrounding Florence whilst sipping Campari Spritzes.

A stunning restaurant

Just around the corner from the beautiful Piazza Santo Spirito, Ristorante Hostaria da Fulvio has walls frescoed by the Florentine painter Giambaccio and serves a delicious array of Italian and Mediterranean dishes. The mussels are particularly excellent.

A spot of shopping

After a leisurely lunch at Hostaria da Fulvio, stagger around the corner to Ultra Store Firenze to browse the Italian-crafted men’s knitwear, along with a selection of clothing and shoes from a handful of great brands from around the world.

Afterwards, stroll back over the Arno and head towards LUISAVIAROMA – a fabulously curated shop with the most helpful staff.

 And in case you need some extra motivation, did you know that shopping in the EU is now tax free?

Selecting a scent

I always leave the Pitti Fragranze full of fragrance inspiration and this visit was no exception. This month, I will mostly be wearing Spiceair by Hermetica Paris (a warm scent inspired by rainy London) and Megamare by Orto Parisi (a unique unisex fragrance reminiscent of a sea breeze). 

Looking for your own signature scent? Founded in 1843 by an English pharmacist, Profumeria Inglese is an iconic Florentine perfume shop that stocks a wide range of fragrances from major houses.

A secret TG Tip

Take along an SD card to the Leica Store Firenze and they’ll lend you one of their wonderful cameras for an hour in the hope that you’ll fall in love and won’t want to give it back. Even if you don’t make a purchase, you’ll end up with some amazing photos.

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