Santa Croce Weihnachtsmarkt, the international Christmas market of Florence

Santa Croce Weihnachtsmarkt, the international Christmas market of Florence

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The biggest and most significant Florence Christmas market is German instead of Italian; maybe because the snow and the myth of Santa Klaus coming from the North, the Florentines adopted this tradition in a very organic way. But why is not there an Italian Christmas market in Florence? This market reflects mostly the North European character, with handcrafted and gastronomic products coming mostly from Germany but also from France, Poland, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic.…

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Brands made in Florence #3: Angela Caputi Giuggiù, unique and inimitable jewellery

Brands made in Florence #3: Angela Caputi Giuggiù, unique and inimitable jewellery

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Angela Caputi started her costume jewellery business in Florence in the 1970s taking classic Hollywood cinema as inspiration. For almost half a century and although she has achieved international recognition, Caputi has managed to stay faithful to her original craft principles, continuing to use resins made in Italy, and setting up the pieces in her Santo Spirito shop-workshop. Caputi has stores in Milan and Paris, and nowadays she is immersed in the launch of her new shop in Rome.

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Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini: the sound of music in the heart of Florence

Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini: the sound of music in the heart of Florence

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Julie Andrews sang in the movie how «the hills are alive with the sound of music». We could imagine this chant not in the Alps but at the Tuscan peaks instead: «I go to the hills when my heart is lonely, my heart will be blessed with the sound of music». At Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini, besides offering space for different courses, repair and rental of instruments, it is possible to buy a cello or a piano, an electric guitar or an amplifier, a solfeggio book or a violin string. I am not a regular of this unique music store in the heart of Florence, but from the cortile of my apartment — which overlooks one of its multiple rooms — I am amused by distinguishing how different piano students evolve every day. Naturally, this is sometimes a truthful delight; some others, just an ordeal.
Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini – Via de’ Ginori, 31R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

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Todo Modo, the multidisciplinary bookstore of Florence

Todo Modo, the multidisciplinary bookstore of Florence

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For those who like to read, there are many types of establishments dedicated to book lovers: the traditional bookstores, the hypermarkets of books, and the contemporary multipurpose bookstores. This last type generally consists of a fusion of bookstore-café-restaurant-exhibition space-theater-concert hall in the same place. Perhaps using this multidisciplinary concept there is less risk that the business fails … Todo Modo is a Florentine independent bookstore with a selection of more than 15,000 books for sale, but it is also a café, a restaurant, and a show room, and a concert hall.

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Brands made in Florence #2: Madova Glove Factory, the best gloves in town

Brands made in Florence #2: Madova Glove Factory, the best gloves in town

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The Donnini family has been producing high-quality hand made gloves since 1919, although their store opened in 1954. Stablished in via Guiccirdini 1R, next to their factory, both located near the Ponte Vecchio, Madova frequent clients are usually Korean, Japanese, American and Italian. The most notorious tiny glove shop in town is carefully designed, with its numerous shelves and drawers, where the gloves are conscientiously packaged and stored, classified by their shapes, sizes, and colors and available for both, men and women. Gloves made with first-class deerskin, lamb, or napa leather, and lined with silk, wool, or cashmere. Being all of them designed and manufactured in-house, some models are simple whilst others are perfect for sophisticated outfits.…

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Brands made in Florence #1: Stefano Bemer, the perfect pair of men shoes

Brands made in Florence #1: Stefano Bemer, the perfect pair of men shoes

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Stefano Bemer opened his made-to-measure men shoes store in the vicinity of San Frediano, Florence, around 35 years ago. After his decease in 2012, the brand was handed over to Tommaso Melani, director of the Scuola di Cuoio (leather school). Today located in a former chapel of San Niccolò (via di S. Niccolò 2), the firm currently supports Bemer’s initial idea to create perfect and unique footwear. Bemer handles 800 customers of which some order only one pair in their lifetime whilst others buy eight pairs a year. For this reason, they keep the wood prototypes used to create the final leather shoes.

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Studio Musivo Lastrucci: masters of the Florentine mosaic, the art of «painting with stones»

Studio Musivo Lastrucci: masters of the Florentine mosaic, the art of «painting with stones»

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The artistic discipline named “commesso” or Florentine mosaic made with semiprecious stones emerged in Florence in the 16th century. As could be expected, the Medici family was a great promoter of this new artistic manifestation. Using the traditional technique of the Romanesque mosaic, the “commesso” added interspersed gemstones with highly aesthetic results, very similar to those of a real painting. Each mosaic is handmade in the laboratory following the traditional method, which allows to maintain the authenticity of the technique and enhance the natural colour of each stone. To complete a surface equivalent to a DIN A3 size, three or four years of craft work are needed. …

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Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

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In this mythical perfumery of Florence with four centuries of history, one senses that nothing wrong could ever happen. Moreover, a walk through its premises makes you feel as weighty as Catherine de’ Medici, queen of France as well as customer of a brand that today still sells the same scent created only for her: Acqua della Regina. Francesco Carlino, responsible for the establishment, gently shows and explains to me every corner and detail of the site, such as the original store overlooking the cloister of the Santa Maria Novella basilica, which today houses the herbal section of the business; the apprentice rooms on the first floor, where future employees of the firm are trained; the old office of the friar, with a strategic window porthole from where he used to control all activity in the store; the machinery used to manufacture perfumes, elixirs, air fresheners, hygiene and toilet articles; the old chapel with frescoes from Giotto’s school; or the church, today transformed into the main room of the store. The original site was a pharmacy founded by the Dominican monks in 1221. Given its success, it opened to the public in 1612 as perfume manufacturer, thus becoming the oldest in Europe today. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it passed into the hands of the state, which ceded its management to the nephew of the last friar director. This family has since then controlled the empire.
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16

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The magical world of Gucci Garden in Florence

The magical world of Gucci Garden in Florence

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After thorough renovation, Gucci has reopened its Florence museum located in Palazzo della Mercanzia. Its three floors and different rooms have been converted into a multi-space where you can eat, shop and join the Gucci constellation. Past and present merge within a fusion of animals, plants and flowers appearing as cheerful as the intense patterns of Gucci´s traditional garments. The two floors of the Galleria honour the trajectory and legacy of the brand by exhibiting mythical clothes and accessories, works of art and video projections. On the ground floor, there is the Gucci Osteria by Massimo Bottura, cook chef granted with three Michelin stars. Next to the restaurant we find the Boutique, divided into two large spaces with renewed antique furniture and displaying an explosion of colour. It is also possible to buy exclusive clothing, accessories and gift items created by the brand for the Gucci Garden. In addition, they have dedicated a section to the books and magazines serving as an inspiration to Alessandro Michele, creative director of the firm.
Gucci Garden, piazza della Signoria 10, Florence

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La Via del Tè: it’s tea time in Florence!

La Via del Tè: it’s tea time in Florence!

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During my daily walks around Oltrarno, I had always noticed this tearoom in Via Santo Spirito. It is undoubtedly the typical place that catches your attention and makes you stop until the curiosity is satisfied. La Via del Tè (The Way of Tea) was founded in 1961 by Alfredo Carrai who, fascinated by the world of tea, took the personal challenge of introducing the tea culture in Italy, by then almost unknown. La Via del Tè conceptual stores sell more than 250 products, including whole-leaf tea from China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Japan and Africa; scented blends; fruit infusions; herbal teas and all La Via del Tè own brand products: from classic cans, single-dose filters in transparent cloth or cotton muslin, to gift boxes, along with a selection of teapots, cups and accessories brought to the stores from all over the world. La Via del Tè has two other branches in Florence: one in Piazza Ghiberti and the other in Via della Condotta. They not only serve tea in its exquisite rooms, but also sell teapots, ad hoc utensils and homemade pastries.
La Via del Tè – Via di Santo Spirito 11, 50125 Florence

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