Whether your lockdown hobbies are cleaning out the deepest corners of every drawer, color coding your bookshelves or alphabetizing your spices (true story), we’ve all become very well acquainted with our living spaces in 2020. One of the many things we’ve come to appreciate in our home-centered routines are the touches of art, design and color that offer a source of comfort, inspiration and connection to others.
What better gift to give this holiday season than an original artwork, a unique piece of home decor or a good book to brighten up our spaces as the days get shorter? Here are a few of our favorite ideas for your favorite Italophile missing Florence, that friend who loves to cozy up with a new book, or that special someone in your life who appreciates top quality craftsmanship.
For those of you who have boldly entered the hunt for an apartment in Florence or those looking for a fascinating lens into the often-frustrating world of settling down in the city, Mary Gray’s tales of triumph, perplexity and culture clash are a fabulous way to laugh (and cry?) your way through the winter. As always we recommend supporting small businesses, so pick up your copy in person (if conditions allow) from the Paperback Exchange here in Florence (€12) or order directly from The Florentine Press. Worldwide shipping is available. You can also find Rental Diaries on Amazon and for Kindle.
Whether you’re a local, a long-time resident, or just longing to get back to Florence, there are certain views that just never get old. We love artist Jennifer Leo‘s bold, colorful interpretations of the city streets and skyline. If you’re in Florence, you might even be lucky enough to come across her painting alongside the lively group street artists around the Duomo (in non-lockdown times, of course), Both original artworks and prints are available for local pick up or overseas shipping. Original paintings start at just €120 while prints start at €29. Click here for more!
If you haven’t discovered the busy co-working art studio Campucc10, treat yourself to a walk in the Oltrarno and stop by (once restrictions are lifted, of course). One of the first things that will jump out at you among gorgeous the handmade jewelry, prints and artisan crafts on display are these fascinating sculptures by local artist Oliviero Draghi. You can take a peek at his studio and pick your favorite, or for an extra-special gift you can commission an original portrait of a loved-one. Prices start at €160. You can also shop online here. P.S. he also does animal portraits! ❤
What we love about artisan Cecilia Falciai‘s work in scagliola is how she brings together traditional Florentine craftsmanship and contemporary design. If you aren’t familiar with the technique, stop by her workshop in via dei Macci (when possible) to learn about how she fuses pigment into each hand-carved stone plate. From colorful geometric design objects to more traditional nature-inspired decorative motifs, her work will add a touch of Florence’s thriving artisan community to any home. Prices start at just €25. Contact Cecilia to order your gift today.
For those now-cherished moments when we venture outside to the go to the market (and sneak a breath of fresh air), these crocheted shoulder bags by Frau Leman are a perfect accessory. Available in a range of colors, they can also be personalized for the lucky recipient (or for yourself!) We also love that these bags are a collaboration between Frau Leman designer Stephanie Lehmann and her mother, who crochets each one before Stephanie adds the leather details. Prices start at €60 for in-store pickup (if permitted by current conditions) or €79 online with shipping included. Shop here.
Bringing a touch of beauty to your everyday routine, these pieces by Little Acorns Pottery are meant to be used, held and treasured. Artisan Kirtstie Mathieson creates each object in durable stoneware clay using glazes inspired by the soothing colors of nature surrounding her studio in Tuscany. For a thoughtful gift, we love these Three Little Bird Bowls, perfect to hold a votive candle or a few treasures (€15 per bowl). She also makes perfectly-sized bowls for serving up gelato or other treats (€20 per bowl), as well as beautifully glazed espresso cups (€25 for a set of two). All pieces are dishwasher and microwave safe. To place an order for the holidays, click here, or contact Kirstie directly for more details.
We can all agree that this year has not been easy, but we so appreciate the ways in which it was taught us to slow down. Book artist Patricia Silva is facing the challenge of these times with a new project, Before We Forget. which encourages us to take time to reflect on this moment. Each of these one-of-a-kind handmade journals is an invitation to write, draw or doodle, offering a space to process the days as they pass. Each journal is unique and entirely handmade utilizing archival materials and covered with hand-marbled or hand-printed papers made by the artist or by other small artisan shops. Each journal contains 30 blank pages including 6 specialty paper pages for sketching, collaging or scrapbooking. Each journal is €25 (plus shipping if necessary). If current regulations allow, Patricia will also deliver to you in Florence. To order your journal, follow the dedicated Instagram account @before_we_forget_2020 and comment on the journal of your choice. Patricia will contact you to arrange payment and shipping. If you have questions or specific requests, contact Patricia via direct message on Instagram.
We hope you find the perfect gift for to brighten up your loved-ones’ homes this season! Happy holidays!
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more gift ideas from local designers and small business owners for all the special people in your life. As always, shop small, shop local.
To learn more about the artists mentioned above and discover other top quality craftsmanship in Florence, download the new Creative People in Florence App! Free to download from the App Store or Google Play, the App offers access to a selection of local artisans and designers. You can use it to map the route to their workshop or you can browse their online profiles and shop online.