Streetsmart: Borgo La Croce

Ceramics and housewares, tea time treats, menswear

Mary Gray
March 5, 2015

Being a savvy sightseer in Florence is all about being ‘streetsmart’—taking note of the shops, sounds, scents and smiles that add atmosphere to a given area and lend a street its spirit.

Boasting a lively mix of new hotspots and old standbys, borgo La Croce is having a renaissance. With the stretch from piazza Sant’Ambrogio to piazza Beccaria freshly repaved, its stylish character is shining through like never before. Carve out some time to take a leisurely stroll down this long street—with everything there is to see and sample, this is no place to be in a hurry.



illustration by Leo Cardini

 BORGO LA CROCE > The Don't Miss List

1. Mesticheria Mazzanti Mixed bag, 101/r

2. Enoteca alla Sosta dei Papi Food and wine bar, 81/r

3. La Petite Maison Home decor, 64/r

4. Cose Così Kitchenware and more, 53/rsolenelborgophoto by Birgitte Brondsted


Maddened by the unpredictable March weather? Take a quick trip to the southern coast, without leaving town. This is the underlying theme of Il sole nel Borgo, a colorful concept store that got a beachy makeover this past summer. In its 14 years, the shop has always sold nautical-themed ceramic treasures, but the staff recently opened a café inside, making the coastal vibe complete. Mediterranean cobalt blue is a central component of the warm, whimsical decor and the wares for sale, handcrafted in the province of Salerno.

6. Caffè Rainer Coffee and Austrian sweets, 45/r

7. Animal Magic Pet store, 46/rlorenzo|photo by Birgitte Brondsted

8. LORENZO - 39/r

Don’t underestimate this fine men’s shirt boutique by its unassuming exterior. The shelves inside are stacked with choices for the discerning gentleman. Back in 1997, Lorenzo Berti opened his doors when he was disappointed by the selection of high-quality ready-to-wear men’s shirts in Florence. He also offers tailor-made options, however, and describes his clients as varied in age and background but united in style: ‘classic’ is the key word. 

9. Antica Officina del Farmacista Dr. Vranjes - Fragrances, cosmetics and more, 44


photo by Birgitte Brondsted10. L’ARTE DEL SOGNO - 24-26/r

C.S. Lewis once famously said that ‘you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’ If this sounds like your personal philosophy, add L’arte del Sogno to your literary café rotation. Stepping into this hip but homey haunt feels like visiting a grown-up flower child’s kitchen. With a name and ambience inspired by the 2006 film The Science of Sleep, L’arte del Sogno is the perfect choice for an afternoon tea, a light aperitivo or a long morning with that new novel you’ve been dying to read. The café frequently hosts art exhibitions and its eclectic furnishings are all for sale.

11. Vincent Croce Womenswear boutique, 3/rsorellephoto by Birgitte Brondsted


This charming children’s boutique offers classic and competitively priced clothing, linens and toys for little ones. Stock up on traditional school smocks or enlist the sisters’ help in customizing your children’s clothes and stuffed animals—if you need initials emblazoned on anything from a blanket to a bear, count on Sorelle Orlandi Cardini. All of the items for sale are exclusively made in Italy. 

13. Sugar & Spice American bakery, 15/r

14. Clinica della Scarpa Shoe repair, 14/r

Before wandering down borgo la Croce, take a peek inside the neighboring Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio. Home to works by Masaccio and Filippo Lippi, it's a welcome respite from the buzzing activity outside. 

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