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Florence by Casey Klugman

Casey Klugmam goes down memory lane on what makes this historic Italian city so dear and near to our hearts

Florence by Casey Klugman

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Florence is rich in history, craftsmanship, and heritage. So like many of us, it is not a surprise that AHL Insider Casey Klugman has fond memories of the birthplace of the Italian renaissance. Casey, a celebrated eyewear designer, has been busy this year setting up Les Monts, his heritage-focused eyewear brand.

Casey first fell in love with Florence when he was a student in the city, “I would meander through the city, paying great attention to every detail, no matter how insignificant it seemed. I noticed complex ornamental features on front doors, filigree detailing in the most unexpected areas, crevices, and beautifully hand-laid cobblestone roads with Italian inscriptions.” 

We caught up with Casey to go down memory lane on what makes this rich Italian city so dear and near to our hearts. 

How would you describe Florence to someone that’s never been?

Florence is just magical. That’s the best word I have to describe it. It’s incredibly romantic, and it’s beyond rich with history and heritage that has been amazingly preserved (to think Michaelangelo lived in the city at some point? Beyond cool). It’s not overwhelming or too large, and the pace is not too fast or too slow. Florence has no shortage of activities — some of the best examples of art, nature, fashion, and food you’ll ever experience. The people of Florence are incredibly kind. It’s just a “feel good” place with so much culture to be inspired and enriched by.

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Architectural details in Florence
Architectural details in Florence
The statue of Perseus
The statue of Perseus

Describe a perfect day in Florence.

Start the day with an espresso or cappuccino at any of the lovely coffee shops in the city. Take an hour to sketch near the banks of the Arno River. Have lunch at All’Antico Vinaio or Pino’s — two of my favorite sandwich shops in Florence.

Visit the Scuola del Cuoio to see some of the best craftsmanship in Italy happening live. Then, go back to my apartment for an hour for a siesta, a common pastime in Italy. Then, meander the city, taking note of anything and everything — particularly the design details within the city and the people who make it so special.

Aperitivo drinks on the steps of Piazza Della Signoria, next to my favorite statue of Perseus. Dinner at Trattoria Anita of my favorite dish in Florence — the spicy Bucatini.

Scuola del Cuoio
Scuola del Cuoio
Spicy Bucatini at Trattoria Anita
Spicy Bucatini at Trattoria Anita

What is your favorite place to find the finest craftsmanship in Florence?

I recommend that readers who love handmade products visit the Scuola del Cuoio, the Florence leather school to get a rare behind-the-scenes look. I fell in love with their work being imperfect, not defective or flawed, and no two pieces were exactly the same. So when it came to building my brand and products, I knew the handmade process would be integral in creating something special for my customer.

If you could have only one meal in Florence, where would it be?

When I lived in Florence, I had a restaurant close to my apartment named Trattoria Anita, which was visited mainly by locals. If I could have one meal in Florence, it’d be the spicy Bucatini dish at Trattoria Anita. I’d eat this for dinner no less than once a week. Since returning to the US, I’ve tried to replicate the dish numerous times, but it’ll never come close. 

Mosaic details
Mosaic details
The iconic duomo
The iconic duomo

Favorite place in Florence to see beauty? And for people watching?

The place that immediately comes to mind is the Boboli Gardens. The Boboli Gardens is an estate created for the Medici family. The Boboli Gardens have since become a beautiful park and a national treasure. When I lived in Florence, I’d meander through the gardens only to get lost in this labyrinth of immaculate floral arrangements, landscaping, and sculptures. It’s one of the best examples of beauty in all of Italy.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to thank the city of Florence and the individuals who live there for making my time so special.

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

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