With its maiden voyage set to start on 4 July, the final touches are being put in place so that Costa Cruises’ Costa Firenze can offer guests the flavour of a trip to Florence from the comfort of a luxury passenger ship.
The 323-metre Vista-class cruise vessel, which was built by Fincantieri, features four venues designed by YSA Design that pay homage to the world-famous capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. Each space captures a different aspect of Tuscan culture and heritage, contributing towards an onboard ambience befitting of the vessel’s theme.
According to YSA Design chief executive Anne Mari Gullikstad, the project echoed the company’s work on Firenze’s sister ship, Costa Venezia. “Like Venice, Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world,” she says. “Therefore, as with Costa Venezia, the challenge with Costa Firenze was to recreate this charm while avoiding cliché.”
To achieve this, YSA sourced authentic materials and paid great attention to detail when selecting colour palettes and adornments, taking inspiration not only from the historical architecture of Florence and its surroundings but also from the city’s contemporary identity.
This approach is embodied in Lounge della Moda, a chic and sophisticated bar at the aft of Deck 5 that is accessed via a ‘catwalk’ showcasing Italian fashion through the ages. “The idea with this bar was to highlight another important side of the city’s identity,” says Gullikstad. “As well as being an architectural marvel, Florence is an international capital of fashion and home to some of the world’s biggest and best-known clothing brands.”
At Ristorante dei Medici in the aft section of decks 3 and 4, guests can experience the beating heart of Florence while enjoying genuine Italian cuisine. This fine-dining restaurant pays homage to the city’s iconic cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, and the adjacent Piazza del Duomo, with white and green marble walls reflecting the elegance of the building’s façade.
Located forward of Ristorante dei Medici on Deck 3, Ristorante Palazzo Vecchio recalls the grandeur of its namesake, Palazzo Vecchio, and another Florentine palace, Palazzo Pitti. Like the two palazzi, the restaurant is richly appointed and houses an art gallery displaying classical Italian paintings. Materials and decorative elements include marble flooring, ornate gilding and panel work, chandeliers and tactile velvet.
Midship on Deck 10, meanwhile, is the Versilia Deck, an informal dining, pool and lounge area that offers guests a change of scenery, transporting them from central Florence to the courtyard and gardens of a Tuscan country palace. Port side at the forward end of the venue is Bar del Conte, a small corner bar designed by YSA to recall Florence’s Santa Maria Novella – the world’s oldest pharmacy.
Having previously designed several spaces on board Costa Venezia as well as the magrodome pool area aboard Costa Serena, YSA Design has a long-standing relationship with Costa Cruises. The Italian cruise line continues to call on YSA for its ability to turn complex, highly specific briefs into visually stunning yet fully functional interior spaces.