Five experts reveal their insider tips, from a ceramics tour of the Amalfi Coast to a culinary drive in Emilia-Romagna.
Florence: Art Tour
5 Ways to See Italy
Florence: Art Tour
Ori Kafri, gallerist and hotelier, opens his little black book to the city’s modern art world.
The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance has become a hot spot for contemporary creativity. “The gallery scene in Florence is buzzing,” says J.K. Place Hotels founder Ori Kafri, an ardent photography collector who recently co-opened a gallery in the Tuscan capital. Kafri’s FOR Gallery is one of about a dozen spaces that have arrived in the past decade, bringing with them fresh local and international talent. “Many artists are trying to comprehend the present while relating to the past,” Kafri says. “Florence provides an ideal context.”
In Diladdarno—the city’s up-and-coming art district—you’ll find FOR Gallery, Kafri’s photography and video gallery, dedicated to cutting-edge talent such as Israeli street-art photographer David Kassman and Italy’s Massimo Listri. Also in Diladdarno, the long-established Poggiali e Forconi has impressive rotating shows that include Patti Smith and David LaChapelle. Museo Marino Marini, in a former church, houses 183 sculptures by mid-20th-century Tuscan artist Marino Marini, famous for stylized equestrian works. Art guru Isabella Brancolini oversees the centro storico’s Brancolini Grimaldi, a bookstore and gallery that shows edgy international photography. She also curates for the nearby Gallery Hotel Art (doubles from $391). At
Bespoke travel agent Andrea Grisdale leads the way to the area’s best shopping.
Andrea Grisdale has visited just about every corner of Italy, yet the place that the Lake Como–based CEO of IC Bellagio keeps returning to is the Sorrentine Peninsula. “The bright blue water, fresh food, and Mediterranean sun make the Amalfi Coast one of my favorite places in the world,” says the U.K. native. “Most of all, I love the handmade ceramics: my house is full of them.” Rich with natural clay pits, the area has been known for pottery since the 13th century. Grisdale is especially partial to the tiles and dishware painted with the region’s palette: seaside azures, lemon yellows, and sunset pinks.
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The center of Amalfi Coast ceramics production since medieval times has been Vietri sul Mare. At the best factory and store, Ceramica Artistica Solimene Vincenzo, a building covered in 20,000 brown and green vase bases, you’ll find crockery designed with handsome, nature-inspired motifs (grapes, lemons, flowers, foliage). Grisdale’s recent discoveries: a tapered vase with blue-and-yellow flowers and simple blue-and-white dinner plates. A 10-minute drive from Vietri takes you to Marsia Ceramiche for contemporary pieces by Salerno-born, London-trained artist Mariella Siano. Don’t miss her spherical lamps with light filtering through pinholes and her decorative agave-leaf sculptures. Ten miles to the northeast, in Monti Picentini Natural Park, Antico Cotto di Berardino De Martino is where the De Martino brothers bake terra-cotta-colored tiles in a 450-year-old wood oven. In nearby Ravello, visit