It’s that time of year again, which I am sure more than a few of us have a love-hate relationship with: Christmas. Receiving presents is of course the best bit, but having to get other people’s presents can be stressful and time consuming, especially when carefully trying to come up with something original, thoughtful and ‘Florentine’ for every single relative and friend back home. So, get yourself prepped for some serious Christmas shopping (the trick to motivate yourself is the “one for you, one for me” thing). Here are a few ideas to get you going for this year’s Christmas Wish List.
For the little one:
An original and whimsical work of art to inspire a little one’s creative imagination, such as the ceramic figures on wood pieces by a local artist.You can find these, along with all sorts of children’s toys, games and cute notebooks printed with fun designs (all on ecological paper) at the fanciful shop La Tartaruga.
For the bookworm:
You can’t go wrong with books, and on the subject of Tuscany and Florence, there are so many to choose from, from the ‘Great Ideas’ Penguin edition of Machiavelli’s The Prince for the politicall-minded type, to the gorgeously illustrated Tuscan Artists’ HomesI, featuring the creative and rustic interiors of over twenty artists. Found in most bookshops, such as Edison.
The other thing about this time of year is that just around the corner from Christmas is New Year’s, where no doubt she will be attending some fabulous party where she will need a new pair of fabulous shoes. Try the jewel-studded velvet Via Spiga wedge-heeled sandals from Saja to make her feel properly princess-like. A fun and colorful piece of jewellery is perfect fo the festive season as well. As Falsi Gioielli (“false jewellery”) you can find creative, orginal pieces from hairclips to earrings to necklaces, handmade on site from wool, buttons and plexiglass.
A different take on the traditional Italian leather jacket is to have one in the softer shearling – instantly warm, cuddly and stylish. Find a range of men’s shearling jackets from Saja. One of the striking striped scarves from the accessories shop Roberta wouldn’t hurt either.
For the coffee-addict:
Now that you have come to Italy and started to drink real coffee, you’re no doubt addicted and need to make your own espresso at home you are not alone. What better a souvenir from Florence than an espresso-maker shaped like Brunelleschi’s dome of the Duomo? Find Aldo Rossi’s design for Alessi, “The Cupola” espresso-maker, at many places that sell household items such as Braschi.
For the sweet tooth:
If life is like a box of chocolates, this is the closest you’ll get to sorting out your life properly since you get to choose from the assorted chocolate designs, such as the ones in the shapes of the Zodiac signs, €5.50 for 100 grams at Cafè Rivoire.
For the dreamer:
A handmade leather-bound journal for every thought and whimsy, and a quill to write it all down. Be prepared to want everything you see in this paper shop and book restoration studio, Abacus. They lovingly hand-make a range of inspirational things from limited-edition bound books to address books, photo albums and marbled paper (small handmade leather-bound blank books with laid paper, €13, with 100% handmade cotton paper, €29 feather quill with ink)
For the gastronome:
A hamper made to order filled with all the things a true gourmet can appreciate, from a great selection of local wines, fruit chutney, marinated peppers, tapenade, pasta, paté and chocolates (from around €50 for a generous selection, depending on what you choose). They can do a selection of up to 6 large or small bottles of wine, packed in a beautiful wooden box. This is a great place to end, by the way, since you can now relax with a glass of win at this lovely enoteca near Santa Felicità, Le Volpi e l’Uva.
Finally, one more important stop to make is at the paper shop Marzotto, which has been around since 1890 and is situated in a beautiful 16th century Ammannati palazzo, with graffiti designs on its exterior by Giorgio Vasari. This is where you will find all the cards, stickers, papers, pretty boxes and ribbons you’ll ever need for wrapping all your presents. After all, the best fun is unwrapping them! Happy holidays!
La Tartaruga, Borgo degli Albizi, 60r
Edison bookshop, Piazza della Repubblica
Saja, via Vacchereccia 22r
Falsi Gioielli, via de’Ginori 34r & via dei Tavolini, 5r
Roberta, Borgo San Jacopo 74r & 78r
Braschi, via del Corso 67r
Café Rivoire, Piazza della Signoria
Abacus, via de’Ginori, 30r
Le Volpi e l’Uva, Piazza dei Rossi 1
Marzotto, Borgo degli Albizi, 86r
*The Florentine receives no monies from the above mentioned establishments