After being inspired by a novel based on Michelangeloâ€™s life in Florence, fashion designer Jane Daniels made her first trip to Florence at the age of 20. â€śI have since visited the city well over 50 times. And, like peeling an onion, each visit reveals a little more,â€ť she says. Rich in culture and history â€“ with endless museums, churches and galleries to explore â€“ the city of Florence has become a great source of inspiration for Danielsâ€™s work over the years. â€śMost of the fabrics I use are sourced from Italy because of the quality and innovation, especially with stretch fabrics,â€ť she explains. â€śItalians embrace beauty and they have a great design aesthetic.”
When to visit
I visit in February and September. In February there are less people and you can get crisp clear 17Â° sunny days. In September, the end of the European summer, it is not too hot and the high summer crowds are gone.
What to see
I am always looking for things to do with the arts, history and literature. The Salvatore Ferragamo museum always has a new exhibition juxtaposing fashion with art, film and architecture. I often like to visit the Marino Marini museum in Piazza di S. Pancrazio for his remarkable horse/man bronze sculptures. Marini was also a painter and a great colourist and used unusual colour combinations.
Where to stay
My favourite place to stay in Florence is the Tornabuoni Beacci Hotel in via Tornabuoni. It is centrally located near the river Arno. The hotel is in an old Renaissance building with sweeping stairways, the staff are friendly and it offers a decent breakfast which can be hard to find in Italy.
Where to dine
Accessible to all is the rooftop terrace of the department store Rinascente in the Piazza Repubblica. You overlook the square, always fascinating, and you almost feel as if you can reach out and touch the huge Duomo, which along with the terracotta rooftops take on a golden glow in the late evening sun.
What to wear
The first things to be packed are comfortable flats or boots that you can walk in all day, especially considering the cobbled streets. Yet they must be stylish enough that you can walk into any establishment. I take layers of clothing in fabrics from my travel collection that you can wash out in the hotel basin. My limited travel wardrobe is usually charcoal and black with brightly coloured big scarves that will see me into churches and at least one that will double as beach pareo.
View Jane’s top picks for Florence in the gallery below.