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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

WIT Florence Travel Tip: All' Antico Vinaio

I became coeliac with pregnancy but I remember vividly what a great sandwich tastes like and if you ever come to Florence you must make time for one of the best sandwiches in the world from All'Antico Vinaio

Vegetarians look away because this is the place to stuff your schiacciata (Florentine for focaccia) with sbriciolona (a type of salami), finocchiona (another type of salami with anise seeds), prosciutto and salame Toscano topped with all sort of grilled vegetables, mozzarella, pecorino and sauces such as truffle cream and sun dried tomatoes spread. I mean, a vegetarian could have a great sandwich here too.... but you would sort of be missing out.

Don't expect anything fancy from the experience - the sandwich shops are two simple shops off Piazza della Signoria: one where you can sit down and one where you can only to take-away. You will probably end up sitting by the Uffizzi Gallery or by the Arno overlooking Ponte Vecchio to enjoy your sandwich - which are both not bad at all eating spots. Be prepared to cue at pretty much any time of the day, but these run pretty quickly and ultimately are so worth it!

If you prefer to sit down and have a more "fine dining" experinece, you can grab a table at the less busy Osteria next door - no sandwiches served here but you can enjoy primi (risotto, pasta, soups...) secondi (meet and vegetables) or the phenomenal taglieri (boards) which you can get in all sizes and variations with a side of foccaccia and a glass of red wine. You can book here at any time and it's a great spot for both lunch and dinner.

All' Antico Vinaio 
Via Dei Neri 74 R, 50100 - Firenze 
Tel. 0552382723 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

WIT Florence Travel Tip: Officina Santa Maria Novella

I've never been one for 'souvernirs' but if you ever happen to be in Florence this is a place that you: a) want to visit as a historical site b) take away beauty and home products for both you and friends/family as chic/acceptable souvenirs. Especially around Christmas, gifting something in the beautifully wrapped Santa Marai Novella retro packaging is always a little bit special. I always stock up on hand soaps, bath salts and scented candles (the men's range is fab too).

Officina Santa Maria Novella is a Florentine institution. First founded in 1221 in Florence by the Dominican Friars who started making herbal remedies and potions to use in the monastery. Their reputation became world renowned and the pharmacy, sponsored by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, opened to the public in 1612. 

Many of Santa Maria Novella’s products have become a part of history: the world famous pot-pourri is still hand crafted in large terra cotta vats using local essences and plants as has been the tradition since the 1200’s. The first “Eau de Cologne” has been attributed to the pharmacy’s creation in the 1500’s of Catherine de Medeci’s “Water of the Queen.” She used the citrus and bergamot scented water constantly and gave it to all of her closest friends during her reign as the Queen of France.

The Almond Paste is an excellent rich cream made from almond butter. The Rose Water can be used on the face for washing and removing make-up or for scenting linens. The Milky Soaps, scented with Santa Maria Novella’s own fragrances are made with whole milk to protect and soften delicate skin.

And of course the Santa Maria Novella fragrances themselves; classic scents like Honeysuckle, Rose and Iris, exotics such as Patchouli, Marescialla and Calycanthus, and, romantics like Jasmine, Violet and Lily of the Valley.

The original "Officina" is in Florence, but Santa Maria Novella has shops all around the world that you can locate via their website and, from the US, shop online. Yet the Florence experience is unique so make sure you come and visit the store next time you are in town!

 Officina del Profumo Santa Maria Novella
 Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze
Tel +39 055 216276

Monday, 23 November 2015

WIT Florence Travel Tip: directions to The Outlets

I'm in Florence all week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, so instead of the daily outfit pics I thought I would post one Florence travel tip per day from eating out to shopping and sightseeing. I often get asked what are my favourite spots, the ones I like to hit every time I come back so log on in the next five days to see what they are.

First on my list are, of course, The Outlets. I go back (almost) every time I come back and often bring back something fabulous like a pair of shoes, an accessory or dress. You can get to the outlets with handy shuttles from the city center's train station (Santa Maria Novella) or, if you have a car you can drive there yourself. Weather you are planning a trip to Florence or thinking about it for the future, ear mark this page with directions on all of my shopping mecca's and how to get there.

(roughly 35min from Florence)

LOOK OUT FOR: Stella and Stella Kids, Marni, Burberry, Balenciaga, Sain Laurent and the newly opened Prada and Miu Miu wing
  • From Florence take the highway (autostrada) in direction ROME
  • Take the exit at INCISA REGGELLO
  • Follow signs to PONTASSIEVE/LECCIO
  • A lot of windy country roads later...
  • Look out for signs to "The Mall" to the left at a roundabout 

DIRECTIONS to The Dolce and Gabbana
(roughly 35min from Florence)
 LOOK OUT FOR: Dolce man, women and kids 

  • From Florence take the highway (autostrada) in direction ROME
  • Take the exit at INCISA REGGELLO
  • Follow the same road you would for The Mall (above) but take a left at the roundoubout signposted for "Dolce Gabbana outlet'

DIRECTIONS to Prada outlets 
(roughly 25min from Florence)

LOOK OUT FOR: Prada and Miu Miu for both men and women
  • From Florence take the highway (autostrada) in direction ROME
  • Take the exit at VALDARNO
  • Follow signs to MONTEVARCHI
  • Then follow signs to AREZZO 
  • Then look out for signs to "Space Outlet" to the left

Friday, 20 November 2015

4 of the best black Capes


I've been wearing my Stella cape so much (literally every day) that I've sort of become obsessed with it and wondered why on earth it took me so long to finally own one. I thought I would wear it mainly in the evening, as it's such a chic and elegant cover up but I actually find myself reaching out for it for every day meetings and over jeans at the weekend. The problem of how to hold your bag is a bit annoying (it really only works with a  clutch), but I love that fact that it doesn't cling and feels like a warm hug. I know there are lots of colours and prints to choose from, but I like a simple go-with anything black.

Weather you decide to splash out or try out this trend on a budget, here are four lovely styles worth WIT's seal of approval  for most budgets. 

Joseph double-faced wool and cashmere-blend cape £945

Mango wool-blend cape £59.99

Stella McCartney wool cape £965 

REDValentino Wool-blend twill cape £595

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The chicest FESTIVE jumper


In Italy we don't really have the concept of a 'Christmas jumper' so I remember when I first moved here I didn't really get it. To this day I still don't own one but every year I invest in a cosy jumper that will serve as the perfect cosy, chic number that stylishly says festive!


This year I've chosen this Elizabeth and James cream feather-trimmed sweater and I'm starting to wear it early as I head to Italy at the weekend to go back to Florence and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I will be wearing it with my Joseph leather leggings, black courts and a fun box clutch (this one from M&S at £35 is my latest find!). For Christmas eve I might wear it with big earrings and a maxi skirt but for every other Christmas do up to then it will be just as perfect with jeans, a coat of red lipstick and heels.

Elizabeth and James Feather-trimmed cotton-blend sweater £395 exclusively at Net-a-Porter
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