Florence has a history rich in artisan traditions from leather making to bookbinding and glittery jewellery too. Just take a walk over famed Ponte Vecchio to see windows of sparkling jewellery on offer, many still made in the workshops lining this medieval bridge. But take a walk through the backstreets of Florence to find an exciting number of new wave artisans making beautiful products using traditional techniques yet with a modern flair – welcome to the modern artisans of Florence.
Wandering the streets of Florence and seeing artisans in their workshops is one of the joys of visiting the city with many studios having a shop front to explore products on sale; below are four such unique studios to discover in Florence to find not only a unique gift but meet the artisan too.
Bookbinding – Il Torchio
A hidden gem on via de’ Bardi just minutes from Ponte Vecchio, Il Torchio is a book and paper lover’s paradise. Hand bound leather folio’s line wooden shelves on display; paper in bright marble effect, made the traditional way by dipping in coloured oils, hangs over up-cycled wooden ladders. Run by Erin Ciulla, a Canadian native now fully ensconced in Florence, who came to the city ten years ago to study bookbinding under a local maestro. When her teacher went into retirement, Erin took over the store and today works from her in-house studio that also has a beautiful shop front to welcome customers from all over the world. Erin can customise or create a bespoke item for you with embossing a popular way to add a special touch to your purchase. Come and see her to discover the best books and paper in Florence, both in a traditional or modern style, all under one roof.
Address: Via de’ Bardi, 17 Tel: (+39) 055 234 2862
Ceramics – Anita Russo
Anita Russo hails from Sorrento just south of Naples towards the Amalfi coast yet was drawn to Florence to study fine art at the famed Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. Her passion for making traditional clay ceramics is balanced with a contemporary style: bold, block colours fill plates, cups and lampshades all delicately hand made inside her via Romana studio. The front of her studio acts as a shop from where Anita displays her latest items and where she welcomes you with southern Italian warmth. In the evenings Anita also runs ceramic making workshops for the first time novice or expert, depending on your level of skill.
Address: Via Romana, 11R Tel: (+39) 055 906 3823
Jewellery – Sara Amrhein
Bold statement jewellery is Sara’s forte and this California native brings her bright personality to her pieces, each item intricately made by hand then fired before being hand crafted onto necklaces and earrings to wear and adore. Her life between sunny LA and historic yet fashionable Florence plays a lead role in her pieces, a combination of traditional techniques with a fashion forward design. From her studio in hip Sant’Ambrogio Sara works on her latest creations, which are displayed in her light and bright shop, housing a range of bracelets and brooches to also discover.
Address: Via di Mezzo, 6R (No Telephone)
Clothing –Tiziana Alemanni
Tiziana is a tailor with fabric flair making funky clothing for the modern woman in her studio by Piazza Pitti. With a family heritage in manufacturing knitwear, her passion for intricate textiles to create unique fashion garments is what inspires her as does her homeland of Sicily: its colours, beaches, Baroque architecture and Greek influences. From shift dresses with bold prints to tailored trousers with matching tops, Tiziana’s designs are the perfect style for the modern woman who likes to look fashionable yet elegant at the same time.
Address: Sdrucciolo Dé Pitti 22 Tel: (+39) 327 6745143
All photos Beatrice Mancini for Lost in Florence except those of Sara Armheim’s jewelry taken by Nardia Plumridge