It’s that time of the year when we start hunting around for gift inspiration, for loved ones here in Florence and (much) farther afield on the other side of ponds, small and large. Here’s our pick of the city’s myriad delights, Florence at its most delicious, always creative and never ever monotonous.
Hampers of all shapes, sizes and mouth-watering morsels deck the halls at Eataly: the ideal gift for foodies and that tricky Tuscan mother-in-law. Opt for “The Good Christmas” box fully loaded with Vergnano coffee, a winter-warming bottle of Dolcetto d’Alba, yummy hazelnut truffles from Piedmont, the finest paccheri Gragnano pasta, fruity stuffed olives, Afeltra tomatoes and the New Year’s necessity, zampone. A snap at 27.90 euro.
Via de Martelli 22R, Florence / 055 0153601
Looking for some hot stuff this Christmas? Follow your nose to Dischi Fenice, where the popular record store is spinning habaneros and more with a vast range of pepper products from Tuscan company Peperita. Spice things up in the bedroom kitchen with delicate Erotico chilli (5.50 euro), chopped red savina habaneros (8.50 euro) and a chilli blend, perfect for grinding onto lackluster pasta dishes (8.50 euro).
Via Santa Reparata 8b, Florence / 055 3928712
Sometimes all you crave is something different. A quelche chose that tickles your tastebuds… and that isn’t Nutella. At Jullian, the only French épicerie in Florence you’ll find the finest goose foie gras (24.90 euro, 125 g) for a decadent holiday season. That’s not all… in this petit corner of via Romana dig your teeth into the perfect baguette, excellent reds and Champagne, and magnificent cheeses. (On December 11, don’t miss the chance to try French oysters and snails during the street party.) Open 10am-8pm through December.
Via Romana 106r, Florence / 055 222123
For folks arriving from out of town, make sure they get proper Florentine hospitality by booking them into Palazzo Belfiore. A home away from home, tucked away down a quintessential Oltrarno street, Francesca and Federico welcome you to the 14th-century building with cozy modern amenities. Up to 20% discount for The Florentine readers for reservations made prior to December 25, 2016, applicable for January to November 2017 stays, including museum skip-the-queue assistance.
Via dei Velluti, 8, Florence / 055 264415
Granted we are a little biased, but we honestly think there’s no better holiday read than our new literary magazine! With its six short stories and poetry in Italian and English, TheFLR (10 euro, plus postage) is the perfect cultural crossover gift: for your mum or dad, that Italian uncle who “speaks” English or that cousin in Calabria. For paper fetishists. For literature types and word lovers. For translators, poets and romantics. For everyone. It'll whiten and brighten your life far more than an electric toothbrush ever will.
Now available from all bookstores
Is there anything more charming than a Florence charm bracelet? Didn’t think so. Please Return to Tiffany is a silver chain complete with a single heart shape engraved with Firenze and a unique registration number, meaning that if you ever get separated, your bracelet can be sent home again (170 euro). Milan, Rome, Venice and Verona heart charms can also be worn on your sleeve—bracelet+all five charms=1,080 euro.
Via Tornabuoni 37r, Florence / 055 215506
If you can’t make it to Chianti this December, then have Chianti brought to you. In bottles, naturally. Castello Vicchiomaggio will warm up your winter with its attractive wooden gift box containing six bottles (75 euro), all produced on the Greve estate: 2 Ripa delle Mandorle IGT Toscana 2015; 2 San Jacopo Chianti Classico 2014; and two Agostino Petri Chianti Classico Riserva 2013, the perfect pairing for your Christmas Day meal. For those in Tuscany, treat yourselves to a drive out to the Vicchiomaggio winery for tastings and more. Cin cin!
Via Vicchiomaggio 4, 50022 Greve in Chianti
What to give the Florence-loving man in your life? The smell of leather. Farmacia SS. Annunziata has been scenting via dei Servi and beyond since 1561, but their Cuoio Fiorentino eau de parfum is as timeless as it gets. The bold tobacco and leather top notes are softened with patchouli, cedarwood and musk, making your male bask in his masculinity this holiday as he tackles that Ikea flatpack. Don’t knock it; it’s the next best thing to being an Oltrarno artisan.
Via dei Servi 80R, Florence / www.farmaciassannunziata1561.it / 055 210738
A gorgeous gift for your best friend, the genuine leather article direct from Montepulciano. The World War II army bag (69 euro) from Maledetti Toscani is available in three colours. Wear it on the chain provided or as a fanny pack, the sumptuous leather purse is hand-made and hand-stitched in the Tuscan brand’s inimitable style, stamped with the founder’s face. Remember, purses are not just for Christmas; they’re for life.
Via della Condotta 36r, Florence / www.maledettitoscani.it / 055 211981
We simply cannot live without Uashmama’s home accessories. The unique Made in Lucca line comprises stylish, on-trend items large and small, but we particularly love this Tuscan-style butcher’s apron (75 euro). In 100% cotton with pockets copious enough for all your kitchen needs and oh-so-hip adjustable straps in the famous washable paper that continues to take the design world by storm—and always at temptingly affordable prices.
Borgo San Jacopo, 30, Florence (and other outlets throughout Tuscany) / https://uashmama.com
The Mercato Centrale Firenze’s Christmas box is the perfect gift for the food passionate, decisive or not. Grab a box, take it for a tour around the market, stopping at the various stalls and listening to recommendations made by food artisans. Once you’ve made up your mind (good luck with that!), fill the box with culinary goodies and put a lid on Christmas 2016. Buon Natale!