Via del Parione is classic Florentine eye candy: think colorful storefronts, guidebook-glorified eateries and camera-ready shop owners taking smoke breaks on the sidewalk. It’s acquired an increasingly international feel, but the artisanal aspects of “old Florence” reign supreme, creating a cool mix of modern flavor and old-fashioned saper fare.
The Packing Man
Eco-chic is the new black at this earthy boutique where community is key. Opened just five months ago, The Packing Man is managed by a multicultural team of fresh-faced fashion grads from Indonesia, Luxembourg and Norway, all with a passion for “slow fashion” and sustainability. But the store features much more than typically folksy threads. Watch one of the wunderkinds craft a “forty-minute handbag” from Italian and Indonesian fabrics, or marvel at the Mongolian antiques, Hawaiian tiles and handwoven scarves.
No matter how long you live in Florence, those “back home” still often expect endless Tuscan surprises on your return trips. Leather gloves and Florentine perfumes quickly grow predictable. Head instead to Letizia Fiorini’s studio and shop, where handcrafted puppets, pillows, ornaments, and dolls line the shelves. Snag a feline-form cushion for your cat-loving aunt; bag a Big Bad Wolf puppet for a little one in your life; liven up your Christmas tree with customized ornaments. Mass-market toys and decor retail for much higher than these one-of-a-kind Tuscan treasures.
Statement pieces, both ready-made and su misura, are Vertigo’s bread and butter: this jewelry bottega uses precious gems and centuries-old techniques while always monitoring contemporary trends. Invest in a “Renaissance ring” or another piece from Vertigo and you can bring it back in for restyling or adjusting for years to come. Bonus? It’s owned by the cutest couple on the block, a married designer-jeweler team of Tuscans who do the sketching and stonecutting right in-store.
A family-run operation with multiple generations under its belt, Alberto Cozzi represents the finest in Florentine bookbinding and restoration—they’ve been serving libraries and private clients since 1908. No weathered texts to reboot? No worries—most simply know this as a one-stop shop for beautiful Florentine paper, stationery and leather-bound notebooks. From marbled paper to gold-flecked postcards, most of the magic happens in an open lab off to the side of the main shop. Cozzi is also known for its customizing work: anything from a bookmark to a diary can be made-to-measure or emblazoned with initials.