Inside Access — your guide to Florence, according to the most stylish menswear consultant in town

In today's insider guide, we talk to one of the most stylish men in Florence — menswear consultant Franco Mazzetti, who gives us the lowdown on the places to be seen in this summer. 

FrancoThe first thing you should do upon arrival in the city is... 

 Leave your luggage at the hotel and head straight into the city. Many don't realise, and are surprised to see, how small the city centre is and how much the masterpieces and monuments are concentrated in a very small space. 

For coffee I always go to... 

There’s no doubt that Caffè Gilli remains the historic meeting place for Florentines. 

Cafe Gilli

My favourite lunch spot is... 

Procacci in Via de 'Tornabuoni, a small place where you can try the famous mignon sandwiches with truffles (and many other flavours), as well as excellent wines from Cantine Antinori and plenty of other excellent quality delicacies. 

The best places for casual dining are... 

In Florence there are so many places to eat that are good value — I would recommend some typical Florentine trattorias such as Il Brindellone, The Antico Ristoro del Cambi or Trattoria Marione and I Tuscani.  Casa Trattoria

For extremely tasty street food, stop at the kiosk next to the Mercato del Porcellino to enjoy a panino al Lampredotto or a delicious schiacciata ripiena  (filled flat bread) at  Antico Vinaio, which is the most reviewed restaurant in the world by Tripadvisor. 

 It’s also mandatory to go to the Mercato Centrale, inside of which there are a myriad of kiosks where you can eat the most varied types of street food and more. It’s heaven! 

 For cocktails I love... 

Florence has many places to drink excellent cocktails. Some of my favourites are The Fusion, located inside the Lungarno Collection Hotel; Rasputin, a secret bar located "somewhere in Santo Spirito" that you will have to try to look for because it’s completely hidden.... (if you can't find it, contact me and I'll help you ...), La Menagére, excellent and very convivial and Il Locale that creates cocktails of great charm. 

Obviously, in the summer months, I highly recommend one of the many roof terraces — plenty of hotels host cocktail bars with breath-taking views. 

Lunganaro collection hotel

 If you're looking for a unique wine shop, I recommend... 

There are lots that have great quality wines for a good price, such as Signorvino, Obsequium, Spirit Brands, La Barriqe, Le Volpi e l'Uva and Enoteca Bellini. To name just a few! 

Wine bar

I love going to dinner at... 

A true Florentine local prefers going out of town, and often goes to the countryside for a really unique dinner, but in the city centre you can’t ignore the multi-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri; a true pride of the city. Despite its name, the Trattoria dei 13 Gobbi offers excellent Tuscan food in a very characteristic atmosphere. And don’t miss the Buca dell’Orafo or an intimate dinner at the Osteria delle tre Panche.  Enoteco Pinchori

 To relax in the city... 

 As I love walks surrounded by greenery, one of my favourite places is the magnificent Boboli Gardens, set up in the city by the Medici and dating from the 16th century.  They occupy approximately 45,000 m2 and are a splendid example of an Italian garden. 

Boboli Gardens

Another spectacular walk (although a bit more tiring) is the one that climbs from the centre of Florence along one of the small streets leading to Piazzale Michelangelo — it’s one of the most exciting views in Florence. 

 My favourite independent stores are... 

Needless to say, my favourite shops are clothing and shoe stores. Among my favourites are Eredi Chiarini that stocks high-level clothing brands. And I love to stop in craft shops as there are many small tailors that still follow the old dictates of how to construct clothes. Among these, I love the the small tailor, Rosario Sagliano. If you’re looking for a very exclusive shoemaker, head to Roberto Ugolini who builds "on site" bespoke shoes in his new workshop in Via della Chiesa. 

 For a slice of culture, you can't beat... 

Art and culture are everywhere in Florence, but I’ll tell you two of the places that can’t be missed that not everyone knows... 

For a mixture of art and shopping, visit the Farmacia Santa Maria Novella, behind a historic door in the centre — it’s an ancient world of drapes, frescoes, sparkling chandeliers, parchments, colognes, soaps, potpourri and many other natural perfumers, along with skincare products made with 600-year-old recipes that are of excellent quality.  It’s the Santa Maria Novella Workshop, founded in 1200, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. 

Off the beaten track but not to be missed is the Villa Bardini, built in the first half of the seventeenth century and which offers some of the most beautiful views of the centre of Florence.  It’s a riot of irises, roses, hydrangeas, complete with suggestive caves, classical sculptures and a theatre.  Sixty rooms and halls house the Capucci Museum, dedicated to the famous designer, whilst the Annigoni Museum houses six thousand works by the painter, and a space dedicated to contemporary art. 

Villa bardini

 The best places to stay in town are... 

I can recommend a couple of boutique hotels that I particularly love which are the  Jk Place in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, and the Portrait Lungarno Collection, overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, where elegance, sophistication and the utmost attention to details are clearly tangible. 

Lungarno

What are your travel essentials that you never leave home without?   

Always at hand, I like to have my little diary (the last bastion that I have not given over to smartphone technology) my trusty fountain pen, charger and headphones for my iPhone, a small spray containing my perfume (Tam Dao Diptique), a book and obviously my now indispensable reading glasses. 

Up next on the blog, a fashion insider's guide to Milan

Franco travels with the Clifton luggage in navy. ollow Franco @Franz_1955.