Local handicrafts and artisanal items to pick up on your trip
Florence’s leatherworks tradition goes back over a thousand years. More recently, Gucci was founded in the city, originally as a purveyor of leather goods, while shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo also lived and worked in Florence. Buy inexpensive goods in the San Lorenzo market or stores around Santa Croce, the city’s leatherworks district. Via de’ Tornabuoni is the street for designer items.
The family firm of Giulio Giannini & Figlio has been producing beautiful handmade marbled and other traditional Florentine paper since 1856. The pretty store opposite the Palazzo Pitti sells paper by the sheet, journals, address books, calling cards, pencils, and other items covered in a range of papers. Piazza de’ Pitti 37R; tel. 39 055 212 621.
Louise Fili, author, The Civilized Shopper’s Guide to Florence (www.littlebookroom.com), recommends the venerable Antico Setificio Fiorentino, where silk is still woven on original 18th-century looms. The fabrics are the same as those depicted in the paintings of Masaccio, Pontormo, and Piero della Francesca. “Look for ermisino, a type of taffeta woven exclusively here,” says Fili. Via Bartolini 4; tel. 39 055 213 861. By appointment Monday to Friday. www.anticosetificiofiorentino.com/
Discover unique Venetian soaps, perfumes, herbal remedies and other products made from medieval recipes created by Dominican monks. Sold from the beautiful, original 16th-century pharmacy of the Santa Maria Novella monastery. Via della Scala 16R; tel. 39 055 216 276. giubileo.comune.fi.it/en/frame.htm
The jewelers at Tharros refer to old paintings and prints to create jewelry inspired by, or copied from, historic originals. They work with emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and other precious and semiprecious stones to create dazzling rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches. Vicolo de’ Cerchi 2R; tel. 39 055 284 126. www.tharros.com
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