Yes, you read that right, we’ve come up with a selection of gifts for those friends and loved ones who long for the days of packing a bag and jetting away to an other continent, country, city, or these days, even just to the next town over. Whether you know someone who is longing to get back to Italy, or has been hunkering down here for longer than anticipated, here are a few ways to feel close to Florence from afar, or to see the city from a brand new perspective.
We know we said this list is all about gifts for others, but let’s be honest, I think we’d all like to treat ourselves to this view for an afternoon! For a truly unforgettable gift, why not book the Window to the Duomo at Ardium Design Studio for a photoshoot for the photographer or designer in your life? A project by artist Danella Lucioni, Ardium features beautifully curated spaces that are a feast for the eyes. You can reserve this stunning spot by the hour with or without a professional photographer. Imagine the gorgeous product images or dreamy Instagram posts that could come from a few hours with this as the backdrop! Rates start at just €30 per hour, (€60 per hour with a photographer). For more information about the location or to make a reservation, contact Danella.
For that friend who is planning a trip as soon as the lockdown lifts, a comfortable, fashion forward travel outfit is a must. Our recommendation is to head straight to the latest collections by Eva di Franco. Her minimal yet eye-catching geometry-driven designs come in soft, accommodating fabrics that are perfect for long journeys (or days of lounging on the couch–no judgement here!). We absolutely love the versatile Softwear Carryover collection, which features one-size-fits-most shapes and unisex designs in 100% cotton. Our favorites are the fun yellow Softwear Carryover dress (€95), the comfy and elegant Kimono Jacket (€120) and the always chic black Jumpsuit (€135). Shop on line, or schedule a visit to the atelier if current conditions allow.
We may not be venturing out very much these days, but we can always use a new bag to help keep us organized, whether you’re carrying around your passport and plane tickets or just your hand gel and a back-up face mask for your big trip to the supermarket. You may know New Kid for their footwear, but they also have a great selection of fun, versatile bags. We love this fabulous cross body purse (starting at €50), which if you ask us would pair perfectly with Eva di Franco’s Softwear Collection (see above). You can never go wrong with a sturdy tote, great for groceries, your laptop or all that other stuff we carry around (styles shown here start at €85). Shop online, or if regulations allow, stop by the shop to take a look.
We love these gorgeous illustrations by Florentine artist Nicole Made, which emerged during these spring months in lockdown, when she, like so many of us, started to think about her city a little bit differently. For Nicole, she found that she associated each area of the city with a color: for her the Duomo is red, Ponte Vecchio is ochre, Santa Croce is turquoise, and so on. We love how this color study developed into such striking images of these familiar places. Available as signed limited edition prints, as well as panels. postcards, and journals, they will make great gifts for anyone who might be missing Florence this season, Prints start at €25, panels start at €50, and sets of 4 postcards is €10. Be sure to check out her notebooks as well (€11). If conditions allow for it, stop by the newly opened shop at Studio G’Art 44 in Gavinana, or browse her website and shop online.
Even though much of the traveling we are doing these days might be in our imagination, a travel journal or sketchbook is always a welcome gift, even better if it’s handmade by local bookbinder Erin Ciulla at Il Torchio. These journals come with a variety of soft leather covers, marbled paper accents, and personalized details. Books with marble paper covers start at just €8 (a great stocking-stuffer!), while leather bound books shown here range from €10 for the smallest size to €170 euro for luxurious refillable leather covers with handmarbled leather pockets and a handsewn blank book. If possible, we suggest stopping by the workshop in via de’ Bardi to find the perfect item or contacting Il Torchio to learn about more options. All products can also be made to order to your liking.
Know anyone who is deep in nostalgia for Firenze these days? We’ve got a little something to help them though. How about a reminder of Florence in the form of an elegant object in scagliola, a traditional Florentine stone inlay technique? These beautiful pieces by local artisan Cecilia Falciai blend generations of craftsmanship with a fresh take on the symbols and sites of the city. We also love her ever-practical leather wallets for all those loose euro coins. If you find yourself in via de’ Macci (and conditions allow) stop into her workshop, or contact Cecilia to inquire about available pieces. Prices for objects shown above range from €25 to €110.
For that special person in your life who wants to sink into the rich beauty of all four seasons in Tuscany, we love This Tuscan Life, a quarterly magazine created by Lisa Brancatisano. Each seasonal issue takes the reader on a tour of some of the most beautiful, delicious and hidden spots in Tuscany, featuring historical notes on local traditions, mouthwatering descriptions of Tuscan delicacies and recipes, as well as profiles on artisans, and guides to charming towns and villages. The 2020 issues gather together the most-loved articles recipes of the past four years, All 4 issues of the 2020 Magazine are available to download here. To order a hard copy, email Lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send a DM on Instagram to arrange shipping.
Once we all get back to traveling again, be sure to look into experiences in Florence with This Tuscan Life. Lisa also organizes exclusive bespoke tours of the city focused on fashion, artisans, design, and of course food! While you plan your trip, keep up with Lisa (and check out her gorgeous watercolors!) on Instagram.
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.