Florence grabbed my heart with one of her beautiful leather gloves and sped off on a vespa. I said good riddance.
Unless your shoe of choice is the stiletto, making cobblestone streets your arch nemesis, there is no reason not to fall desperately in love with this city. There are a plethora of beautifully chiseled butts to stare at (they are all made of stone but hey, I'm not picky). There is a gorgeous espresso machine in literally every single establishment (and I'm not using 'literally' how your 12-year-old suburban cousin uses it. I mean, like, literally every single establishment). Asking for a 'good wine recommendation' at the local wine shop is the equivalent of asking for 'something filling' at Red Lobster (the eye-roll is apparently international!).
And finally, the main reason that beautiful bandit escaped with my thumping life line - the fashion.
I admit, I was nervous about that part. When my people would say the whole - "Oh you're going to Florence?!?! The fashion is incredible. You're going to love it!" - I tried not to pay it much attention. I assumed when they said 'fashion', they meant how Rome does 'fashion' - neatly distressed jeans, face-consuming sunglasses with someone's last name written in rhinestones along the side, and the dreaded graphic tee.
I'm not saying any of that is bad... but all of it is, without a doubt, the opposite Weirdo Chic.
Alas, to say I was pleasantly surprised would be the understatement of a lifetime.
The best way to describe the fashion of Firenze is exquisite. Those aforementioned cobblestone streets were full of billowing trousers and perfectly pressed oxford shirts - and that was just the women. Everyone seemed to have an air of unpretentious respect for each item they were wearing. No one owned that air as well as the expressive staff at any clothing shop I walked into. Similar to how Florentine waiters/waitresses would describe their tasting menus with perfectly chosen adjectives that would make me want to jump into my menu, shop owners would have all the time in the world to walk me through every detail of a locally made coat with irresistible detail.
The Italian accents didn't hurt.
Here are a couple of the passionate boutique staff I came across who effortlessly nudged me towards relieving myself of all my life's savings:
The beautiful and knowledgeable firecrackers at Marie Antoinette
The homie at Bjork - who, while knowing every detail of the store, also has a side project starting up of mod, gender-fluid clothing. Check out his instagram - @laboratorystudio - for the juicy details