Streetsmart: via Lorenzo Bartolini

Streetsmart: via Lorenzo Bartolini

Thu 13 Jul 2017 8:40 AM

Lorenzo Bartolini was a Neoclassical sculptor who counted Napoleon Bonaparte among his patrons. You’d never know it from his namesake street in San Frediano—a dead-quiet, dusty drive, the kind of place anyone outside the neighborhood could never pinpoint on a map. It’s its own kind of “beaten track”—defined not by tourist traffic, but by shabby storefronts and a resignedly restful mood. At-first-glance aesthetics are austere as they come: inside is where you’ll find all the action.


British restorer and woodworker Jane Harman has been hard at work here for three decades. In another life, she was a novice who needed a job and stumbled upon this workshop, then run by seasoned artisan, Enrico, who taught her the trade. These days, she’s the Oltrarno’s wood whisperer: besides nurturing antiques in need of TLC, she shapes original jewelry, architectural miniatures, magazine stands and block letter-based designs (her “SEX” piece always makes a splash). Her showroom-shop is within hollering distance on via Sant’Onofrio, but the via Bartolini bottega is where the magic happens


Yin meets yang at this healthy eating hub, which attracts a mix of curious first-timers, neighborhood folks and macrobiotic diet devotees. The latter are often attempting to recreate the dishes they’ve tried at the Punto’s sister restaurant in piazza Tasso. Ethical eats are top priority, and despite appearances, you don’t have to be a diehard vegan or chia seed convert to find something delicious. The enthusiastic staff—who all appear to adhere to the principles of the Punto, even when off the clock—could get any glutton pumped about their grainy-good offerings.


This Florentine institution is the Renaissance city’s sole silk mill, acquired by Stefano Ricci in 2010: one part tourist wonder, another (bigger) part workspace. It has been in this via Bartolini location since 1787—guarded by glicine or jasmine, depending on the season—but silk’s history as a source of Florentine wealth reaches back to the 14th century and “looms” over the atelier. Weavers in the workroom, many of them veterans, exude laser-sharp focus as they produce precious fabrics, brokatels and damasks to be sent to the stateliest Italian and international homes.

Visit by appointment only, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm. Tel. 055 213861 /


Did someone say destination wedding? Dream duo Valentina and Benedetta fulfill Big Day fantasies for a living, helping luxury-bent lovebirds with all the nuts and bolts of tying the knot in Tuscany. With minimalist desks and Mac computers, the office space feels understated—after all, much of the work gets done on train cars, villa grounds and church spaces. Photographs of the tiny team’s swankiest productions line the wall, and a German couple whose nuptials landed in Vogue Italia jumps out. Valentina’s sunny disposition and megawatt smile are the icing on the (wedding) cake.

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