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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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 important 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. Italy by itself possesses a powerful cultural, gastronomic and craftsmanship richness to have its own Italian Christmas market here in the Tuscan capital, however, the whole market is formed by around fifty cabins where the visitant can drink Glühwein (hot wine) and German beer or taste Bratwürste and Lebkuchen (German sausages and biscuits). The ambient is somehow sad and desperate, a completely dispensable experience!
Until December 20 in Santa Croce Square

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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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On the Road: a Florentine travel bookstore with added-value

On the Road: a Florentine travel bookstore with added-value

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On the Road is not only the title of the Beat Generation best-known novel. It is also a charming bookshop in Florence specialized in travel, the only one of its kind in the city. Opened in 2012, in this bookshop, the continents are classified by colors. “For me, Africa is red and not black – the color that anyone would associate with this continent,” says Martina. Martina owns the business. A bellissima donna italiana, kind, graceful, and refined who is, in fact, a simple woman bursting with life and sweetness. She is a great expert in travel literature and, no need to say, she is passionate about her job. But being a bookseller not only implies selling books: “It is exhausting.” There are many tasks hinter den Kulissen: select books, stay tuned for editorial novelties, accounting, expert advice, and affection. In addition to all these duties, Martina has time to organize book presentations with authors or workshops on photography and travel literature. On the Road not only sells guides but also novels focused on travels, maps, books on hiking and cycling routes, travel literature for children and last but not least, it gives priceless personalized attention.
On the Road – Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 32 A/R – 50134 Florence

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Donnini Cutlery or the survival of ancient crafts in Florence

Donnini Cutlery or the survival of ancient crafts in Florence

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I love the combination right in the middle of Florence of modern shops and old handicraft ones with its tradition living through generations. Such trades grant the city vestiges of its medieval past as well as an air of genuine timelessness. For instance, Florentine artisan Leonardo Donnini´s masters sharpening: from knives to professional scissors or devices used to cut leather, which serve also as tools for other artisan colleagues in Florence. «I began working with my father in 1992, when I was still a teenager. Our bottega, shop and laboratory opened in 1930, and was in Via Gioberti. Since then, I have totally inherited my father’s trade, I have become one of the 11 Mastro Arrotini of Italy and I moved the store, Donnini Coltelleria, to Via G. Lanza 70. It is a pleasure for me to show my work and I would love to share my old craft with your readers.» The knife from the movie Hannibal was indeed manufactured in his shop.
Donnini Coltelleria, Via G. Lanza 70 – 50136 Florence

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