Among the Renaissance treasures and art icons of Florence is a different kind of treasure trove. The Gucci Museum, paying homage to the fashion house that is known around the world, is in the renovated Palazzo della Mercanzio, right on Florence's most noted square, Piazza della Signoria. The museum occupied three floor and chronicles the brand's history from a simple leather goods store to an international design icon.

Inside are thematic displays that highlight the Gucci styles, from flora and fauna to sportsware to off-beat design products (who knew that there were Gucci surfboards, golf bags and a Cadillac Seville?!) The Film Room screens restored classics, and an Art and Design Library has books for scholarly studies or design fans wanting more indepth knowledge. A sleek (and, of course stylish) cafe lets you relax with a cappuccino, and there's a bookstore, too.

There are contemporary art exhibits to enjoy and the palazzo itself is a work of art. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the Gucci Museum are donated to historic preservation projects in Florence.

The Gucci Museum is open daily from 10:00 AM til 8:00 PM, staying open until 11:00 PM on Thursdays.

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Address in Florence:

Piazza della Signoria, 10.

Ph. (+39) 055 759 23302.

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