“My happiness flowed into the shoes I made and came back to me in the happiness of my customers.”
– Salvatore Ferragamo
The story of Salvatore Ferragamo’s creative journey reads part ‘how to succeed in business’ and part fairy tale. Ambitious and determined to nurture his sizable talent, the young shoemaker traveled overseas where he was initially impressed by the efficiency of American mechanization. However, it didn’t take him long to recognize that trading work by hand for work by machine meant the loss of quality, and, more importantly, of soul. Our intrepid hero returned to Florence where his meticulous artistry and service-minded approach have remained an essential thread in the city’s fabric ever since.
This tradition of beauty and warmth in equal measure is something of a Ferragamo family crest, the central tenet in their mission statement. It seems fitting that such a family would have quietly assembled a pristine little hotel kingdom in the Lungarno Collection, the family for whom icon cultivation is part of the bloodline (see: the Vara, the “Gancino”, the almighty Wedge shoe). There is a legacy of creativity, of quality, of truth and of welcome built into the Ferragamo house rules. And so each hotel can also stand on its own, a complement to the thriving, communal whole. There are the exhibits to behold at the Gallery Art; the heady rooftop hum at the Continentale; the cobblestone bike paths to and from the Lungarno; absolutely every last detail at the Portrait… it is a testament to vision that a Ferragamo-owned entity could so earnestly practice the art of making one feel at home without the slightest indication that they may not be fashionable enough to do so.
Increasingly, your hotel home base sets the tone, scene and timbre of your sojourn — it is the difference between setting out with senses primed and pre-invigorated, or playing catch-up from behind. The Lungarno hotels are oriented toward and around the ancient Arno River, appropriately deferential to history even while enveloping you in every modern comfort. Certainly, there are bigger, flashier counterparts in Firenze, conglomerate behemoths whose corporatized stature fairly eclipses the Arno’s delicate rhythms. So may we suggest that you anchor your stay in the Lungarno constellation… and soak up a little of its legendary hospitality for the road ahead.
Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli, 4 | +39 055 2726 8000
The luxury hotel can be a tricky proposition. You expect a certain level of service and creature comforts, but luxury for luxury’s sake ends up impersonal and off-putting. It is particularly thrilling when someone gets it just right, and the all-suites Portrait Firenze is one of the most elegant combinations of sophistication and comfort we’ve ever experienced. From the informal class of your check-in ‘meeting’ to the refined black and white photo collections unique to each room, there is a rarified feeling of ‘like home, but better’ to the experience. You can gauge the time of day by the size of the Ponte Vecchio throng glimpsed at your sitting room window, retreat to the utter sumptuousness of the zen bathrooms, or dance to your in-room playlists while you prep to rejoin the buzzing medieval streets. There is a thoughtfulness to the surroundings that caters to whims, the glamorousness of colors, textures and design showcasing the city’s beauty or discreetly retreating from it depending on the moment at hand. It is our resounding first choice for your Florentine foray.
Borgo S. Jacopo, 14, 50125 | +39 055 27261
The Collection’s namesake Hotel Lungarno presides over the Arno with a stately, matriarchal air. The din of clinking glasses and happy hour chatter emanates from the riverfront terrace, fellow guests enjoying the easy refinement and Renaissance views. The rooms are comfortably appointed so as not to upstage your vantage, the staff exceptionally helpful and accommodating. A cobbled pathway guides your steps to and from the hotel’s front door, reminding you that you’re never more than a stone’s throw from the Ponte Vecchio, the Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens, or any of Florence’s innumerable can’t-miss sights.
Vicolo dell’Oro, 6R, 50123 | +39 055 27262
The slinky little black dress of the Collection, Continentale is a design-oriented nod to 1950’s dolce vita style. Imbued with the energy of the lively Vicolo dell’Oro square, Continentale is a central hotspot to be sure, but clean lines, ethereal environs and a quiet little spa also tempt you to relax. The stunning La Terrazza rooftop bar is one of our hands-down favorite Florentine corners with its embarrassment of scenic riches; sipping a Solera Negroni or a Lychee-infused Mr. Consorti while watching the sun set over the Duomo makes for evenings you never forget.
Gallery Hotel Art
Vicolo dell’Oro, 5, 50123 | +39 055 27263
Hip, sleek and the embodiment of its name, Gallery Hotel Art is a revolving canvas for artist showcases. This is where the Ferragamo family flexes its patron muscle, promoting significant works from the contemporary art world. This is the most avant-garde of the Lungarno hideaways, each room a unique homage to the creative’s studio. You’ll find chic cognoscenti sipping espresso in the common areas (the best of which is the invitingly erudite Library) and feel the charge of animated discussion in the air. The courtyard patio at the Asian-inflected Fusion bar and restaurant made for an unexpectedly delicious evening.