The Stylish Person's Guide to Florence, According to Pitti Immagine's Raffaello Napoleone

The fashion and beauty industries are filled with interesting people from all over the world who have great taste — the types you can rely on for excellent travel recommendations. So, we're asking them about their favorite food, shopping and wellness spots in their cities. Consider this series your fashion and beauty person's guide to travel.

Florence has centuries worth of history, art and culture to experience — which can feel vastly overwhelming when you're planning a trip, whether for fun or for work. Much of the fashion industry descends upon the Tuscan city this week for the latter, as Pitti Imagine Uomo kicks off the summer menswear shows. So, who better to ask for recommendations than Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of the group that puts the whole event together?

Originally from Rome, Napoleone's been living in Florence since 1981. "I came to both for work and for love," he says. "[Living here] for 43 years, and I'm very happy to do so!" What makes it unique, he continues, is not only its geographical position in Italy, but "its genius loci, its specific characteristics, its history and its link with the Renaissance, born, developed and established right [here]."

The city completely transforms when Pitti rolls around biannually, with an influx of press, buyers and other creative types. "Firenze becomes the most fashionable town in the world," he says. "You can feel it in every corner — being a small city, the fashion vibe is everywhere."

What he loves most about it, ultimately, is "its human dimension." Ahead, find Napoleone's Florence favorites, from food to museums to souvenirs.

What's one dish everyone that goes to Florence should try?

Pappa al pomodoro because it's an integral part of the local culture. The best are at Cantinetta Antinori, Trattoria Cammillo and Ristorante Frescobaldi.

What's your favorite place (or places) to get breakfast in Florence?

At home! Every time I can I have breakfast together with my family, in our garden, eating our fruits. To mention a place for a cozy breakfast: Pasticceria Buonamici, a phenomenal pastry shop and a great atmosphere.

Favorite place to get lunch?

At Trattoria I due G — very close to the Fortezza and our offices. It's home cooking, and basically our company canteen!

Best place for coffee?

Bar Giacosa. A great atmosphere, very centrally-located and frequented by many Florentines despite its tourist location.

What's your favorite spot to get dinner in Florence?

Osteria Belguardo, because you can eat open air with an amazing view of the Arno river. Typical local and home cuisine and a very nice atmosphere.

If you were to plan a staycation for yourself, where would you stay?

I would stay at Hotel Lungarno, just next to Ponte Vecchio — an extraordinary position, a wonderful view, very nice people, familiar atmosphere and great service.

What's one tourist attraction you think is well worth the visit in Florence?

I would say the Opera del Duomo Museum. It's a very special place, probably less visited, but extraordinary. It's a magical place.

If you only had time to visit one museum or gallery while in Florence, which would you pick?

I would go to La Specola Museum, just reopened after some years. It's a very special museum, unique in the world and the oldest of its kind in Europe — really something to see in Firenze.

Where do you shop? What do you think are the most unique stores/boutiques?

Taddei Bottega Artigiana del Cuoio dal 1937 – phenomenal artisans for leathers, with unique products.

Paola Locchi because it continues part of the Medici tradition of the work on glass.

Antico Setificio Fiorentino for its incredible silk products, one of the few remaining workshops for silk production in the world.

Mazzanti Piume — a unique place, an artisan activity transforming feathers and silk flowers into precious ornaments for hats and dresses. An harmonious mix of tradition and innovation using the same techniques passed down with passion for three generations.

What's a good place to buy souvenirs?

Paolo Penko for a real Silver Fiorino, the traditional Renaissance Florentine coin; Argenteria Brandimarte for its exclusive originality; Pampaloni for its unique products.

What's your top wellness experience in Florence?

Parco di Firenze, a very simple driving range with nine holes, very close to downtown – 15 minutes from the Cathedral. You can hit and enjoy amazing views of the city. Also, the tennis court La Carraia, downtown in San Niccolò, with a very good restaurant inside and a nice gym.

What's your favorite day trip to take from Florence?

Siena – a city 50-minute drive from Firenze. It's a magical town. I like it for the strong relationship with Firenze. To get there, you go through the whole Chianti area, which is amazing.

What's your favorite recent discovery in Florence?

The Gypsoteca Bartolini at the Accademia Museum. It's unique and totally unexpected. Also, the frescoes inside the San Marco Museum: not very touristy, but something really exceptional.

Anything else you'd like to add?

[See] the city by walking it. Florence is a city that should be walked while looking up with a curious eye.

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