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Our little black book of enchanting places

Ferragamo's Florence hotels

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Travel isn’t our only passion. We’re also pretty keen on shoes. And as this year marks the 90-year anniversary of the house of Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, what better time to combine the two?Museo Salavatore Ferragamo, FlorenceAfter working in the US for 13 years, Salvatore Ferragamo founded his eponymous company in Florence in 1928, creating footwear for all of the world’s biggest stars, including Judy Garland for whom he designed the iconic rainbow cork wedge, top. You can find out more at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, housed in the same building as the brand’s flagship store. Then, to keep the whole shoe-travel theme going, you can check in to one of the city’s four Ferragamo hotels, known collectively as the Lungarno Collection (guests get free entrance to the museum).Hotel Continentale, FlorenceThese days almost all of the upmarket Italian fashion brands, from Armani and Missoni to Versace and Bulgari, have diversified into the luxury hotel business, but Ferragamo was in the vanguard, opening its first Florence hotel at the end of the 1990s.Hotel Continentale, FlorenceFour-star Hotel Continentale was the first Ferragamo hotel and pays homage to Italian beauty, fashion and elegance. Like all the hotels in the Lungarno Collection, it was designed by renowned Florentine architect and interior designer Michele Bönan. Here, he has taken inspiration from the 1950s, a golden age for fashion and, indeed, for Salvatore Ferragamo himself. Portrait Firenze, FlorenceFive-star Portrait Firenze is an all-suite property right next to Ponte Vechio with a contemporary-classic vibe. All of the suites are different: the larger ones have a separate kitchenette/bar, while the smaller suites have a fridge, kettle and a microwave, making it a good choice for families. There’s an all-day bistro – or what the hotel calls a ‘salon with kitchen’ – and guests can also dine at the other hotels in the collection.Gallery Hotel Art, FlorenceSet in a courtyard a short stroll from the river in Vicolo dell'Oro, four-star Gallery Hotel Art references the innovative creativity of Florence, displaying the work of contemporary artists in an exhibition which changes every year. A current installation bedecks the façade of the hotel with 12 Vespas. The inside spaces are pretty funky, too, particularly the Pitti Suite, a rooftop duplex with a cool glass-encased staircase.Hotel Lungarno, FlorenceUltra-chic Hotel Lungarno has recently reopened after a major renovation. The crisp blue and white décor evokes the feel of a glamorous liner gliding along the Arno – a liner, that is, with an art collection of more than 450 works, including those by artists such as Picasso, Cocteau and Bueno. Hotel Lungarno also boasts the Borgo San Jacopo, a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as a lounge bar with a terrace right on the river, above.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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