I had written a while ago how, after having gone all Gucci gang round 2016, I had somehow fallen a bit out of love with the storied Florentine design house. That being said, when I booked my spring trip to Florence, one of the first items on my bucket list was to visit Gucci Garden and possibly eat at Gucci Osteria by Michelin starred chef Massimo Bottura. I am happy to report I managed to tick both off the list …
Visiting Gucci Garden
The stunning 14th Century Tribunale della Mercanzia has been the seat of the Gucci Museum since 2011 which, more recently was taken over by Alessandro Michele who created a guccified heaven and renamed the place Gucci Garden. Despite having my visit coincide with a partial closure due to renovation works, I would still classify the space as a real giardino delle meraviglie. Walking in you feel you are entering a unique space where, set in a medieval structure, each room presents a vision of the historical fashion house. The exhibits effortlessly bring together vintage as well as more contemporary pieces, expertly showcasing the development of the Gucci maison as well as how archival designs feed into current collections. The main exhibition at the moment is ‘The Male – Androgynous Mind, Eclectic Body’ … a true feast for the eyes especially for any Gucci – or dandy style – lover. I was enthralled to say the least.
There is also a boutique where you can purchase both items which are exclusively found at Gucci Garden as well as other pieces from the main collection. I, quite obviously and predictably, fell for the ‘exclusive’ bit and bought myself a scarf for my collection. I had in any case been considering buying one of the ‘flora’ print scarves – I always tend to gravitate towards more classic prints – so when I found a design which is inspired by archival prints but has that contemporary twist (and, is exclusive to some degree!) I knew I had to have it.
Gucci Osteria – a three Michelin star experience
Anyone who has ever travelled with me or knows my travelling habits will know that I am well happy to skip lunch or munch on a plain baguette as I skip from one museum to another and I don’t usually bother much about what I eat and where. But of course, since Gucci Garden was on my agenda I wanted to savour the experience to the fullest (pun intended) so I booked myself a table at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria. If I overlook my regular trips to Sergio Herman’s Atelier Frites in Antwerp (that’s snacking not proper dining, right?), this would qualify as my first experience dining from the hands of a Michelin starred chef … *happy dance*
My appetite was whetted with a pineapple and magnolia drink as an aperitif, which I followed with the ‘Vieni in Sicilia con Me’ risotto beautifully blending tomato and red prawn flavours together in a light, yet filling and exquisite dish. I didn’t opt for the tasting menu – though it was heavily recommended – as I know my tummy is not happiest when I mix a lot of things at once and wanted to have good memories of this experience! I did pair the risotto with a nice fresh rose wine as recommended by one of the waiters and followed it with ‘The Forbidden Apple’ – a translucently sliced apple shaped like a rose which is doused in the most delectable of cinnamony syrups. It does come with a side of ice-cream but me being the lactose intolerant self that I am, I opted out of that. I must commend the staff at how attentive they were to my dietary requirements and how they made sure the dishes I chose were amended to my needs.
I must admit that I was partly jealous at the staff and hostesses’ luck at having to wear Gucci every day for their uniform … ha! What I would give for the floral dresses the hostesses had on!
Would I go again? I would quite confidently say yes. Firstly, I am already mentally planning another trip to Florence at some point or other (do come back for the vlog and photo diary in the coming days), and I do want to see Gucci Garden properly once the renovation works are done. There were other items on the Osteria menu which I would quite gladly like to try – the burger comes in a pink burger box! Had I known that I would have certainly opted for that (which is also customised for vegetarian palates) …
Bottom line is, yes, I think it’s safe to say I’ve fallen back in love with Alessandro Michele’s vision of Gucci.