Visit Florence through the eyes of Tyler Ellis

29 November 2023
Written by
The Italy Insider

accessory designer whose heart belongs here

Tyler Ellis is an American accessory designer and the daughter of the renowned fashion designer Perry Ellis. Her clutches and minaudières have become a red carpet staple and won the designer a host of star fans including Cate Blanchett, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner. Each design is made in Italy and handcrafted to the highest specifications by artisans in the famed leather region of Le Sieci in Tuscany. Tyler and her family live between Florence and Los Angeles and it is through her love for the city and relationship with its artisans that the designer reveals her unmissable stops.

How would you describe Italy today in very few words?
Historic, Gastronomic, Artistic, Profound Soul

Why Florence?
My handbag factory is in Florence, but it isn’t just about business for us. The city has a way of slowing things down, emphasising the importance of family, faith and enjoying life. Our son is 2 years old, and our dream is to preserve his innocence and provide him with the gift of language as he grows up in this unique environment.

A stolen secret?
Avoid the 2014 Brunello di Montalcino vintage. It wasn’t a great year due to the cool and excessively rainy weather, which, for the first time ever, prompted the Italian government to permit wineries to manipulate wines in ways that were previously never accepted. Many renowned wineries decided to forgo production entirely during that challenging vintage.

An unmissable day trip? 
Take an excursion to the enchanting Bolgheri wine region and make sure you stop at Sassicaia for a delicious lunch. Don’t miss the charming little wine shop inside the trattoria, filled with exceptional regional wines at approachable prices – side note, they do not take American Express.

The best time of day?
The late evening, after a delicious dinner, when the crowds have vanished, as you wander along the peaceful cobblestone streets, and you are left alone with the moonlight shimmering on the tranquil Arno River.

A relaxing moment?
Get a 75-minute Fusion Massage, a mix of Asian and European healing elements to balance your body and mind, at the Four Seasons Florence, then unwind by the picturesque pool located inside the hotel’s secluded garden.

A special experience?
Listening the legendary, Andrea Bocelli perform under the stars, in the rolling hills of his hometown, Lajatico, on a warm Tuscan evening.

The essence of Florence?
Embrace life! Revel in its beauty and treasure moments with your loved ones

That memorable evening?
Indulging in dinner at Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence’s exclusive 3-Michelin star gem. Don’t forget to explore their extraordinary wine collection – it’s a journey in itself!

The most beautiful landscape? 
Villa La Pietra, a gift to NYU in 1994, is a historical masterpiece including 5 villas and 37 acres of gardens in the Tuscan hills above Florence. The grounds are stunning, with gardens that make you feel like you stepped into a fairy tale! Walking through the property is like taking a step back in time…it’s a truly magical experience.

An unforgettable dish and where?
The uni pasta at Fuor d’Acqua.

The drink (and where)?
Le Volpi e l’Uva, a cozy wine bar located in the center of Florence – the extensive Italian wine selection is perfection! You can’t go wrong, but you will usually find me with a glass of Bernello di Montalcino.

The hotel of the heart?
The Belmond Villa San Michele is an absolute treasure. Nestled in the hills above Florence, it offers a magical view of the city’s historic architecture and the iconic Duomo. The intimate atmosphere makes you feel like you are in your own private Tuscan haven. Whether it’s savouring a leisurely meal at their fine dining restaurant, La Loggia, or sipping cocktails by the pool, Villa San Michele manifests tranquility and luxury.

What to pack for the weekend?
Florence is a very casual city – which I love. Bring light weight, airy clothing, comfortable shoes, and a cross-body bag because you walk everywhere, and it can get warm. Less is more – you can transition your day look into evening.

The Souvenir? 
Olive Oil! You won’t find anything better than Tuscany’s finest. And use it! Italian olive oil has an annual expiration date.

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