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Florence’s New Hot Spots

© Courtesy St. Regis Florence

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance has a new forward-looking state of mind. Here are the latest places to eat, stay and shop.

St. Regis Hotel

Housed in a 15th-century building by the great Florentine architect Brunelleschi, the elegant palazzo that in September opened as the St. Regis Florence began as the private home of the noble Giuntini family. In the late 1800s, it became the iconic Grand Hotel, an essential stop for aristocrats on their European grand tour, and everyone from Isadora Duncan to Queen Victoria to Theodor Herzl were guests. Now, after a $27.8 million renovation, the St. Regis Florence brings the palazzo’s old-world opulence, jewel-toned stained-glass ceilings and marble terraces with sweeping views of the city—all largely unchanged—into the 21st century. In the 81 rooms and 19 suites, flatscreen televisions embedded in mirrors coexist with original frescoes. In the Stanford Suite, a marble bathtub in the living room looks over the Arno River. The best suite, however, is the hotel’s exclusive collaboration with Bottega Veneta, debuting in October and featuring furnishings from the fashion brand’s home collection. At Piazza Ognissanti 1; 39-055/27161; stregis.com; rooms start at $440. —Barbie Latza Nadeau

Io Osteria Personale

Since it opened last year, Nicolò Baretti’s restaurant in the Oltrarno, Florence’s south-of-the-river bobo neighborhood, has been drawing fans and shaking up the traditional dining scene. Every morning, the Pisa-born, Spanish-trained chef scours farmers’ markets for fresh produce and meat with which to prepare the daily specials that he then intricately diagrams on a series of chalkboards hanging on the whitewashed brick wall. Baretti’s menu—available à la carte or in a four- or six-course tasting menu—is unusually light for Florence, a city of tripe and steak. A seafood salad with panzanella comes with cloud-like asparagus ice cream. The wine list is equally adventurous. Where else in Florence would you find a Gewürztraminer from Alto Adige? At Borgo San Frediano 167r; 39-055/933-1341; io-osteriapersonale.it. —Barbie Latza Nadeau

Via de Bardi

In 1990, Lorenzo Villoresi opened his maison de parfum in a palace on Via de Bardi, overlooking Florence. “I’ve made thousands of scents,” he says, “but for each client, I suss out his or her desires, which I craft into a fragrance. “He and his wife hail from ancient families but are thoroughly modern in taste. Herewith their guide. Fragrances, from $90; Via de Bardi 14; 39-055/2341187. —Lorenzo and Ludovica Villoresi

Agora

This new design store sits in the courtyard of the great cultural center of Palazzo Strozzi. The walls, in shades of gray, recall 16th-century façades, but the objects—Nymphenburg porcelain (from $200) and jewelry from Murano designers the Sent sisters (from $60)—are properly modern. At Piazza degli Strozzi 1r. —Lorenzo and Ludovica Villoresi

Il Bisonte

Master leather artisan Wanny di Filippo brings together his knowledge of hides and natural tanning with a keen minimalist aesthetic to create simple custom designs, from bags (from $150) to wallets (from $50) to luggage sets (from $800). At Via del Parione 9; 39-055/215-722. —Lorenzo and Ludovica Villoresi

Loretta Caponi

Full of bolts of fabric and lace, Caponi’s embroidery atelier combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary lines in its romantic lace lingerie (from $160), luxurious sheets (from $290) and men’s robes (from $480). At Piazza Antinori 4r; 39-055/211-074. —Lorenzo and Ludovica Villoresi

Maselli

Founded in 1955 by Paolo Maselli, this frame workshop is now run by his son, Gabriele, whose frames in wood, plaster and gilt are unparalleled. From $80; Via Ginori 51r; 39-055/282-142. —Lorenzo and Ludovica Villoresi

Otto Luogo dell’Arte

Olivia Toscani Rucellai is the daughter of photographer Oliviero Toscani and Agneta Holst, the head of the Milanese design studio Megalopoli. But at her new gallery, Toscani stands on her own, working with artists like Mauro Lovi and Tarshito to produce furniture pieces like the Aracna armchair (from $1,350). At Via Maggio 43r; 39-055/288-977. —Lorenzo and Ludovica Villoresi