Streetsmart: via del Porcellana

Streetsmart: via del Porcellana

Fri 29 Sep 2017 2:17 PM

Shabby and short, hardly pretty as porcelain, via del Porcellana appears a forgettable breakoff point from borgo Ognissanti—perhaps it’s a street you hurriedly haul your suitcase down when pressed to get to the station. But give it a chance without luggage or looming plans: there’s a good smattering of sostanza here that goes beyond that Anthony Bourdain-approved eatery on the block.


Recreating Sostanza’s melt-in-your-mouth butter chicken is many a home cook’s meaty dream. But even if browned to perfection, something about the flavor might feel wrong when savored outside this historic haunt. Ambience is everything at this top-tier trattoria, beloved by celebrity clientele, luxury travelers seeking the “homey” and neighborhood workers in the mood to splurge on lunch. White tablecloths and tiles provide a crystalline complement to the framed photographs and the unfussy food, from tempting tortellini in brodo to simple contorni prepared with pride. 25/r


A relatively new addition to this station-area stretch, Multiverso is a co-working chain with centers around Italy, and a first Florence location on via del Campo d’Arrigo. It’s a rare find for resident freelancers or business travelers—a spacious place to crank out presentations in pieno centro—one that’s not a sad nod to Starbucks or a busy bookstore with waning WiFi. You’ll find way more than a ledge for your laptop: community and networking-oriented, Multiverso has meeting rooms and often hosts events and workshops spotlighting the faces using its spaces. 57/59r


Upholstering and downtrodden…by dire fabric selections elsewhere? You need not have classic Tuscan tastes to find something up your alley here. Narrow and no-fuss, this shop, with a proprietor who keeps odd hours, teems floor-to-ceiling with right-priced bundles of both striking and understated designs. When it comes to padding and covering choices, your couch runneth over (as will your chair, headboard and anything else needing some handiwork). 8


The Cinquecento exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, in which Mannerist masterworks have been stripped of their bordering bodies, reminds us what a difference a frame makes. Golden and gilded. Antique or shabby-chic. Heavy and wooden, bright hued and lightweight, or somewhere in between, count on it being handmade and sturdy if it comes from Corniceria Ermas. One of the few specialty framing outfits outside the Oltrarno (where the craft is also dwindling), this stop is a doozy if you’re getting a wall gallery going. 17


For via del Porcellana residents, plus well-to-do folks around Florence (and far beyond), owner Carlo Chiti is something of a carver-on-call. Having honed his craft in a historic Florentine workshop, this veteran is well-versed in the various techniques of his trade, from gilding and fine-tuned tempera to varnishing and gold leaf. Restoration is also a regular order of business around here: as one of the few remaining artisans on what was once a dense stretch of professional DIYers, Chiti represents the top of the trade, and his busy workspace testifies to such a status. 15r

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