Florence, the most romantic shopping destination in Italy, is the kind of place that can turn a normally apathetic shopper, into an over-the-top-shopaholic Patsy in just a couple of hours. But it’s not all hell for leather in Florence; indeed there are a few interesting boutiques which deserve a closer (and calmer) look. Book your next vacation rental near the Duomo in Florence and discover the true charms of Florentine artisans.
Il Papiro, Piazza Duomo 24
Florence was the birthplace of some of Italy’s best known writers and poets, so it is not surprising that it is now home to Il Papiro, a shop we can only describe as a stationery art gallery. This Florentine paper merchant has been operating for four decades, and adopts old-fashioned binding, carving and manufacturing techniques. Of special interest here are leather travel journals which are bound using a technique last see in the 16th Century. One of a kind wax seals can be personalized with your initials, and a myriad of glass pens and quill sets will keep you enchanted for hours.
From greeting cards, to stationary sets and unique wrapping papers, Il Papiro is the store to visit if you wish to step back into Florentine history.
Madova, Via Guicciardini 1
Visiting Madova requires but a few minute’s walk. You may have to head west of the Duomo just a little..and perhaps you may need to cross the Ponte Vecchio too. We guarantee you however, that this shopping expedition is one you won’t regret!
Madova is a glove emporium, and one of the true specialized boutiques in Florence. Here, you’ll find nothing but the fluffiest, most stylish and utterly delicious gloves in town. The owners do claim to own the only glove factory in Florence and, at the very least, their extensive selections point to them being paramount. Their hand-made leather gloves are to die for, as are their cashmere and silk numbers. You’ll be personally sized-up before being escorted through the shop, which is deceptively small. It’s quite amazing how little room a pair of gloves takes up…there are thousands here!
Want a piece of Florentine couture which is guaranteed to last you years and never go out of fashion? Then get yourself a pair of Madova gloves.
Jamie Marie Lazzara- Via dei leoni 4
Now here’s a bona fide master boutique you simply must visit. We absolutely love Jamie Lazzara’s story, and the fact that her workshop is hidden behind the Duomo, makes any holiday in Florence that much more captivating.
Ms Lazzara was just a teenager when she left her hometown in California to follow her dreams. Actually, she only had one dream: to learn to make the most divine violins in the world. Florence is where she ended up in the 1970s, and where her namesake workshop/boutique/museum is now situated.
Jamie has achieved Maestro Violin Maker status, and her violins are in hot demand. To give you an idea of just how good this lady is at her craft, you need only hear one story. The world’s most sought-after violins are the ‘Stradivari’, made by a master Italian artisan in the 1700s. Nowadays, Stradivarius (the name given to a selected few violins made between 1700 and 1725) sell for millions of dollars.
A few years ago, a world famous violinist (Itzhak Perlman) was commissioned to play at the inauguration ceremony for President Obama and, although he did own a Stardivari, Mr Perlman decided to travel to Italy to have Jamie Lazzara make a new violin instead. He actually traded in his Stradivari for a Lazzara! Whilst most people dream of holding a Stradivari at least once in their lives, head to Jamie Lazzara’s workshop and hold a Lazzara…now THAT is truly priceless.