I visited Gucci Garden when I was recently in Florence, an interactive venue bringing together a restaurant, boutique and two floors of gallery space paying homage to maximalism in all its whimsical splendour. Conceived and designed by Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele, it is located in the 14th-century Palazzo della Mercanzia.
Alessandro Michele took the creative reins in 2015 and has since implemented his vision for the Florentine fashion giant. When it comes to flora and fauna, more is definitely more in the Gucci Garden.
For me, the most incredible treasures adorn the second floor, where two rooms, entitled De Rerum Natura explore Michele’s passion for gardens and the divine creatures that inhabit them. This preference for nature has been present since the brand’s inception and has long been part of their narrative.
Displays of clothing, accessories and objects burst with verdant embellishment. Amongst the planting and romantic blooms, Alessandro Michele’s Garden is decorated with totems: The scarlet Kingsnake represents knowledge in Greek and Roman art, whilst the industrial and cooperative bumblebee denotes nobility and connects Michele to his Roman roots. The Barberini are to Rome, what the Medici are to Florence and their coat of arms included three golden bees (I recall walking through Rome, keeping tally as and when I spotted another Barberini bee motif carved into stone).
Also on display is the original artwork by Vittorio Accornero de Testa, who was commissioned to create the Gucci Flora print in the 1960s.
The boutique, particularly the interior design is impressive and has since provided me with a trove of ideas and inspiration for my new seaside home in Margate.
Nature blossoms in Gucci Garden and I’d recommend it as a special trip when you are next in Florence. The Gucci Garden Galleria and boutique are open from 10am to 7.30pm; entry to the galleries is €8, half of which will be donated to support restoration projects around Florence. Gucci Osteria is open from noon to 8.30pm; entry to the restaurant and the boutique is free of charge.