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Places to go - Florence, Geneva

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I'll be on a trip next month, and while most of it will be business, I have also set some time apart for going out and being a typical tourist, but also for visiting boutiques and artisans. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for either one. I'll be in Geneva and Florence between the 28th of June and the 8th of July, in Naples for a day or two afterwards, and then I'll be in Africa for about a month.

So, what should I not miss while I am in Florence and Geneva?

post #2 of 10
I was just in Firenze last month, and I found the shopping to be quite good. Most of the higher end shops are found on Via de Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuovo and Via Strozzi. These three streets are all in central Firenze, north of the Arno River, and within walking distance to the Piazza Signoria. I also found a few shops on Via Calzaiuoli, the main street which leads from the Piazza Signoria to the Duomo and Baptistery. There was a shop right near my hotel (Hotel Maxim) on this street, which carried Fray, a relatively obscure Neapolitan shirt maker. Besides many of the ritzy high end designer boutiques they have, I would recommend visiting Bernardo, located on Via Rossa, and Happy Jack, located on Vigna Nuovo. Bernardo is small and carries a selection of Borrelli, Barba and other private label items. Happy Jack is much more prodigious in size, and carries a nice selection of dress shirts, sportswear, and suits from Borrelli, Barba, Brioni, Loro Piana, and a few others. I almost purchased a Barba shirt while I was there, but they only had three in my size, and the one that I liked had a pattern that was quite similar to a Borrelli which I had just purchased a day before in Milano. I have not been to Naples, so I can't really give you any recommendations for shopping places. However, I know that a few well known shirt makers have factories there, including Borrelli and Barba. Borrelli also has a boutique in Naples.

There are plenty of wonderful architectural sites to visit while in Firenze, as well as some fabulous art galleries. Unfortunately, Firenze suffers from heavy tourist crowds, so your best bet is to arrive at sites as soon as they open (usually around 9 or 10am) or later in the day before they close. If you plan on visiting the Uffizi, a famous and excellent art gallery just off the Piazza Signoria, have your hotel book you a time, otherwise you will get to experience the long lines that plague this place. Before I left for Europe, I had my hotel do this, and it worked out fine for me. I would also strongly recommend visiting the Duomo, and climbing to the top of its famous dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.

If you want some more information, please feel free to PM me, as I can tell you about many other places to see while you are there. I hope this helps. Enjoy your stay!
post #3 of 10
In Florence, you should definitely pay a visit to Milord (piazza Strozzi, between via Tornabuoni and Piazza della Signoria). Very sartorial. They carry Edward Green and Santoni, as well as Marinella, Borrelli, and a couple more. Not very welcoming staff, though.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Pink22m, Tibo, thanks for the great advice. I'll definitely check those places out.
post #5 of 10
It's not about shopping. But as we all know you get seriously hungry from this job. So make an appointement at the Brasserie Lipp in Geneva. PS: Geneva hosts the most of the famous swiss (wrist) watch brands.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok. Lipp will be the first place I visit when I land, I think, since I'll have some time to kill before I actually have to get down to business. Thanks for the advice!
post #7 of 10
i'm in geneva several times a year and am here now
what would you like to know?

geneva is one of those places where there isn't a lot to do or there is a lot of do, depending on your interests; there are a lot of small museums that focus on very niche things, watches, ceramics, voltaire, earthenware ..... so if you're not interested, the museum is a dud

i can recommend the excellent le corbusier exhibit going on until august at the musee rath ("le corbusier ou la synthese des arts") dealing with his paintings, sculpture and tapestries of all things along with some architectural sketches and models - there is an extension of the exhibit focusing on his drawings ("le corbusier dessins a dessein") at the musee d'art et d'histoire as well

there is also an excellent picasso exhibit of book illustrations at the fondation martin bodmer in the village of cologny in geneva canton (about 10 minutes from the centre of geneva, take bus 33 to croisee de cologny stop) -the museum is only open from 2-6 so plan accordingly - you can also take a short walk around cologny, which is extremely beautiful and wander to the villa diadoti (or diadati) where lord byron lived and where mary shelley got the inspiration for frankenstein one stormy night

the main shopping area is rue du rhone and rue de la confederation on the south side of the lake/rhone river - which sit at the base of the old town, climb up the steep hill for some excellent cafes and galleries and boutiques

the more creative and hip shops and bars and clubs are in plainpalais, just south of the old town

take tram 13 to the town of carouge, just south of geneva (10 minutes - get off at ancienne stop) which was once part of the kingdom of sardinia - lots of beautiful architecture, little shops and restaurants, mainly along rue ancienne and the adjacent squares

i always recommend a meal at the cafe de paris, which has no menu and only serves one dish, entrecote, just for the experience (just south of the train station on rue mont blanc)

there are of course good chocolatiers, martel and rohr being two of them; if you want to stock up on chocolate on the cheap, visit either manor department store or coop; there is a good swiss souvenir shop on rue des alpes just south of the train station which as a large selection and very good prices (for switzerland anyway)

you can also take a 30 minute train ride to lausanne, and visit the musee olympique, along with it's city centre which is quite attractive on three hills overlooking lac leman (there's a train every 20 minutes all day long from geneva)

geneva is expensive, as is lausanne, so plan accordingly

if you have any questions, just ask
post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by fritzl
So make an appointement at the Brasserie Lipp in Geneva.

I second this restaurant recommendation, and would strongly recommend a visit to the Patek Philippe Museum, which is filled with one-of-a-kind auction pieces and provides an outstanding overview of Patek's rich history.

Although temptation abounds, DO NOT BUY A WATCH IN SWITZERLAND. They have among the highest list prices in the world, combined with some of the least generous discounts and the haughtiness unfortunately prevalent in Fracophone regions.

Half an hour by train in Lausanne, the Olympic Museum is a must-see for any sports fan. You can combine it with a spa day at the Beau Rivage and wonderful dinner at l'Hotel d'Angleterre, both a 5 minute walk away and along the lake.

Quite frankly, while living in Switzerland I found the shopping to be terrible. Milan is 3 hours away by high-speed train. Have fun!
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by medtech_expat
Quite frankly, while living in Switzerland I found the shopping to be terrible. Milan is 3 hours away by high-speed train. Have fun!

Not the first time I hear this, but then: where do all the serious bankers shop ?
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by Tibo
Not the first time I hear this, but then: where do all the serious bankers shop ?

I presume either London or Milan. I would spend a weekend in Italy every few months, and this stressed the credit cards and sated the appetite.
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