There are few views as iconic as Florence’s Arno, breathtaking at any angle, day or night. It’s the centerpiece to the city–a defining element in tangible form that is as iconic as the legacies of the historical figures who’ve shaped this city over time. I spent a year in Florence, Italy a decade ago and there are a few things that stuck with me from a historical perspective: the royal influence of the Medici family, Brunelleschi’s architectural mastery, the great artists of the Uffizi and Piazza della Signoria and beyond, and one humble southern Italian shoemaker whose Florentine business forever changed the fashion industry.
Salvatore Ferragamo is a name synonymous with luxury footwear today, but his presence in Florence specifically has long transcended his 1960 passing. His shoe business lives on, of course (visitors can explore his decades of work at the eponymous museum in Piazza Santa Trinita), but what many don’t know is that the Ferragamo family quietly owns a collection of hotels that live under the Lungarno Collection. Four of these hotels line the banks of the Arno on either side and the company is lead by Ferragamo’s son, Leonardo.
Reading Salvatore Ferragamo’s autobiography in the peaceful comfort of a Portrait Firenze suite solidified a connection to this place I’d not yet found in all of my time here years ago. The earnest kindness and ingenuity that Salvatore Ferragamo brought to the fashion industry (and the world) during his lifetime is not dissimilar to what I experienced during my stay in this riverside hotel–there are just some places in life that trigger emotion in all of us, and for me, this was one of them. Hospitality comes in many forms, Lungarno Collection’s own brand is a modern nod to Ferragamo’s personal definition of the concept.
Below, Selina Tan of Portrait Firenze’s Lifestyle Team gives DuJour an inside look at what makes a stay here so personal and unique, and reveals the most requested room type at the property.
So that we can better understand Portrait Firenze’s place within it, what is the full story of Lungarno Collection?
The Ferragamo family-owned hospitality group, Lungarno Collection, includes Hotel Lungarno, Gallery Hotel Art, Continentale, and Portrait Firenze in Florence, and Portrait Roma in Rome. Each property provides a very different experience, but they’ve all modeled hospitality after Ferragamo’s values of creativity, artisanship, and style. After establishing its flagship property, Hotel Lungarno, and introducing other hotels along the Arno River, it was discovered that Lungarno Collection was missing on a few opportunities within the hospitality industry, and our CEO Valeriano Antonioli set out to create a brand unique to what was known at the time, which is how the Portrait Collection of hotels came to be.
Lungarno Collection first opened Portrait Roma with 14 suites, then Portrait Firenze with 37 suites, and now, we are very excited to announce that the newest addition Portrait Milano is set to open in late 2020 to early 2021. Portrait Milano will create a new neighborhood within Milan that will join Corso Venezia to Via Sant’Andrea. It will bring new job opportunities to Milan with a handful of restaurants and shopping boutiques opening, and a new extensive event space with the goal of establishing Portrait Milano as major lifestyle hub in the heart of the fashion district.
What’s the most requested room at Portrait Firenze?
What makes that room so special?
The Studio Deluxe River View suite is very spacious and comfortable with a separate bedroom and lounge area. It was designed to pay homage to the city of Florence with the glitz and glam of the 1950’s when people were taking notice of Italian high fashion. The suite also has floor-to-ceiling windows with gorgeous views of the Arno River and historic Ponte Vecchio.
What is the usual rate for that room?
Starting from €640 ($710) during low season, and up to an average of €1,300 ($1,440) per night.
What makes the property unique to Florence?
Portrait Firenze has a front row seat to incredible views of the Ponte Vecchio in the very heart of Florence. However, its knowledgeable and expert Lifestyle Team is what makes the property truly unique and special. Yes, other hotels might have a concierge team, but our Lifestyle Team truly gets to know guests and creates tailor-made experiences for them. They paint a portrait of the city with unparalleled knowledge of their subject matter, and provide the extra touches that make lasting memories.
Any notable/celebrity guests or regulars that you can share with us?
The Inferno movie crew, including Tom Hanks, as well as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Laura Pausini, Billy Joel, and Conan O’Brien have stayed at the Portrait Firenze.
What’s your personal favorite dining/drinking experience at Portrait Firenze? And your favorite dining/drinking experience at any of the other Lungarno Collection properties?
My favorite would have to be the Aperitivo Italiano at the Caffè dell’Oro, consisting of a glass of wine and cured meat and cheese board for €15 ($17). For a special occasion, the gourmet tasting menu dinner at Lungarno Collection’s Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo is a must. Chef Claudio Mengoni prepares the most incredible à la carte menu, and sommelier Salvatore Biscotti provides the best pairings to go with your culinary journey.
Tell us a few fun facts about Portrait.
Our Portrait properties are not just luxury hotels, but destinations for incredibly personal experiences! At Portrait Firenze, we had a Lifestyle Team Member help a guest train for an important marathon while on vacation, and then he ultimately ended up running the New York City Marathon with the guest. Other examples include coordinating and executing really specific requests, such as a couple who stayed at Portrait Roma and wanted to fish along the coast at sunset, and the Lifestyle Team helped them find a local restaurant to prepare their catch. Additionally, the Lifestyle Team assisted a couple whose dream was to be married in the Portrait Roma rooftop lounge.