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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Discover Fresh Fashion in Florence

5. Oddball Day

Explore cavernous Cantina Antinori, a serene contemporary winery built into a hillside.  

After indulging in more material pursuits, spend a day getting spiritual among the stunning architecture and vistas of this ancient city. Rise early and take the number 12 or 13 bus ($2.70) up to the serene San Miniato al Monte basilica, a stunning green-and-white marble Romanesque church dating back to the year 1000 with the best view of Florence from its adjoining piazza. Be sure to walk down to the Giardino Delle Rose, a little-known rose garden on the hillside recently filled with modern sculpture by Belgian artist Jean Michel Folon. The city starts waking up at 9 a.m., so head to Caffè Giacosa for a cappuccino with a drizzle of chocolate ($1.88) and lieviti mignon sweet pastry ($1.30). Walk over to Aqua Flor, a perfume laboratory and shop housed in a 15th century palace with vaulted plaster ceilings. Influenced by his studies with a Sufi master making spiritual fragrances on Cyprus, perfumer Sileno Cheloni incorporates exotic scents like rare amber grease into his creations and can even have a skin sample analyzed to complement a client’s chemical makeup. When shops close for the long noon-to-3 p.m. lunch break, drive 30 minutes south past sunflower fields into the heart of the Chianti Classico region to the year-old Cantina Antinori, a dramatic winery complex built into the side of a hill by prominent Italian architect Marco Casamonti. Wander the winery (tours from $27) before sharing a traditional salumi and cheese platter ($17) with a Chianti tasting ($34) for lunch, gazing at olive groves and ancient churches dotting the landscape through the Rinuccio 1180 restaurant’s glass walls. After taking in the Tuscan hills, return to Florence for an Aperol spritz ($19) at La Terrazza atop the Continentale hotel. The small rooftop lounge sits adjacent to a medieval stone tower, and looks directly down on the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge and Arno river, with one of the city’s most stunning views at sunset. Return to ground level for a dinner blending Asian and Italian influences at the Fusion Bar & Restauran t in the Gallery Hotel Art. Try the melt-in-your-mouth foie gras sushi ($15) and beef carpaccio ($15) from the comfort of a sofa on the piazza, and prepare for your close-up as passerby gawk at “Personal/Unpersonal,” an art installation of life-size figures literally climbing up the side of the hotel above your table. End your day with scoop at Gelateria dei Neri, a local favorite for its highly untraditional flavors, like pear-mascarpone-chocolate and fig-ricotta—along with a classic, perfectly executed pistachio (from $2.42).

Published on Sep 18, 2014 as a web exclusive.