Florence has a magical allure that captivates, fascinates, and enthralls its visitors. Its idyllic scenery, warm sunsets, and exquisite cuisine embody the quintessential Italian dream. For centuries, it has been a must-see destination for literature aficionados, art enthusiasts, and explorers. While living in Rome, I often visited Florence on day trips for a quick cultural fix, but I was hesitant to fully embrace its charm. However, an overnight at The Place gave me a new perspective.
The Place Firenze
Florentine pillow talk takes all kinds of shapes, and one of the most charming is boutique hotel The Place. In 2003, hotelier Ori Kafir opened the doors of a town square townhouse originally known as J.K. Place with the idea of giving guests a pied-a-terre in the middle of one of Italy’s most visited cities. He wanted something different from the grand dame styles of European hotels — something cozier and chicer, though just as elegant and impeccable. He wanted a home that was quintessentially Florentine in both style and hospitality.
THe Place still holds up to its original tenets. The townhouse is an easy respite, perfectly located for both historic city center strolls and out-of-town trips, while its beautiful design by internationally acclaimed local designer Michele Bonan upholds its contemporary vibe. More importantly, it is so Florentine, down to every detail — from the bottled water they serve to the thousands of books about art, culture, and style scattered around, many focused on the city and its artisans.
The Place is a home, an impeccably stylish one, that invites you to hang out. Style is Florentine elegance, which translates to effortless style in all things aesthetic, and you get it from the moment you walk into the townhouse. The ground level is a labyrinth of gorgeously styled lounges, salons, and libraries, with beautiful artwork and to-die-for art books and magazines, comfortable sofas, and cashmere throws.
The 20 guest rooms and suites are gorgeous mixe of contemporary with classic — anachronistic yet very 21st century — to make you feel like you are in the home of Florence’s most peripatetic art collector and fanciful flaneur. In room amenities include sublime linens, towels, and robes. Excellent and fast WiFi and LED televisions. A mini bar abundantly stocked with free snacks and drinks. Cashmere blankets from a local merchant. Rooms scented by local perfumer Dr. Vranjes. I just wish they updated the power strips.
And The Place is a hangout. There are two lounges. On the ground floor is the outdoor lounge, a teak terrace on the edge of Piazza Santa Maria Novella, a great people-watching lunch spot or cocktail-hour hangout that faces beautiful Santa Maria Novella church and its very cool Renaissance facade designed by Leon Battista Alberti in the 1470s. On the roof, is a tiny terrace lounge that sits eye-to-eye with Santa Maria Novella’s flourishes.
Location is great for daytrippers. The Place is just a five-minute walk from Stazione Santa Maria Novella, Florence’s main train station.
What To Do
Florence has been Tuscany’s self-proclaimed It town since it birthed the Renaissance. The city has a hit list of top art and architecture from the 15th and 16th centuries. And Florence keeps up that vibe today, nourishing 21st century artisans — fabulous leather workers, printmakers, jewelers, bookmakers, and more. This means there is a lot to do and see.
The Place is within easy walking distance to just about everything you want to see and do in Florence. Get your modern art fix on with the nearby Museo Novecento and the bombastic Palazzo Strozzi. Cruise Piazza del Duomo for the Instagram ready green, pink, and white marble panels of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Have a Hannibal moment in Piazza della Signoria, then drop by Gucci Garden for a peek into the Guccci mind. Or better yet, talk to General Manager Claudio Meli- he knows everyone and everything there is to know in Florence.
A version of this article appeared in Fathom.