In a city whose fame is based on a 500-year-old history, how does a young Florentine navigate the contemporary fashion scene in the 21st century? Filippo Anzalone is the creative director and buyer of BJØRK, a boutique full of fashion, jewellery, footwear plus magazines on style all housed in a two-floored space by the hidden piazza della Passera, a block from the hustle of the city’s famed Ponte Vecchio. Although passionately Italian, Filippo's design and style influences come from the Nordics and have also been influenced by time spent living in London. Clean lines and modern styling are on show, both with BJØRK's interior design plus on the racks. The result: Filippo curates a collection of independent designers with minimal tailoring and a lean towards hand made and quality textiles. Think Florence is just a city of old stone and antique art? Think again. 

1. Galleries I Love 

My favourite would be La Strozzina, the smaller gallery space in Palazzo Strozzi, and Museo Marino Marini. They are both the most interesting spaces in terms of exhibitions hosted with a modern mind. Unfortunately, Florence is lacking in inspiring galleries or contemporary spaces where to get stimulated or influenced (in my opinion). 

2. For A Perfect Dinner

I always go to Il Santo Bevitore. I love how they are always capable to mix traditional Italian with a contemporary twist. In terms of the quality of their products, their dishes and wine selection, they are simply the best.

3. For A Sweet Treat

There are only two locations to keep in mind. Firstly, Dolci e Dolcezze in Piazza Beccaria, a pastry shop far beyond the usual standards. Or Gelateria della Passera just near BJØRK in the piazza of the same name. It's simply the best gelato in town.

4. My Florence Style

Florence style, in general, is very classic and conservative. Having lived abroad in Copenhagen and London has shaped me more in terms of style, mixing items like sneakers (trainers) or baggy pants with a classic tailored jacket. I think Florence should be more receptive in terms of new styles or the latest fashion and this is what I try and offer at BJØRK.

5. Favourite Shopping Stores & Streets 

Oltrarno area is my favourite. Besides the fact that my store is right in its heart, I think it's the only part of Florence which has remained authentic and less touristy but where young entrepreneurs are seeking out spaces to open up new businesses. In terms of shops, my favourite is I Visionari, one of the best sunglass shops in the world, both for their selection and for their overall aesthetic.

6. For Sunset Cocktails 

I think the best spot is by Ponte Santa Trinita, grabbing a nice drink and sipping it while admiring the sun bathing the Arno river.

7. For Art & Culture {beyond the obvious galleries} 

As mentioned before, Florence is really lacking of contemporaneity. I would say to keep an eye open on Lattex Plus for their niche music proposal. Besides that, Florence wake the f*** up!!

8. Favourite Green Space In Florence

Boboli Gardens is the best green spot in the centre. You can get lost in its wonderful array of nature, sculptures and fountains. Another little gem is Il Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden) which has hundreds of different roses and an uber-cute Japanese garden hidden just below Piazzale Michelangelo.

9. Escape To The Countryside {best day trip from Florence} 

Just follow Via Chiantigiana, it will lead you from the centre of Florence to the best vineyards in Tuscany with an amazing view over the Chianti area as you go. 

Photo credit: Olga Makarova