Via dei Serragli has long figured into the Florentine lives of the authors of this piece. Last November we tackled its initial half for this column, showing up with some preconceived ideas about which spots we’d feature, and leaving laden with too many tempting options. We paved the way for a part two by cutting our column short, and it’s now time for the shabby-chic southern half to have its moment in the spotlight.
STUDIOLAB SERRAGLI 75/c
StudioLab Serragli 75/c is a textbook example of a San Frediano trick: the small-seeming foyer/storefront stretches into room after room once you step inside. A rotating roster of local artists takes up residence amid the organized chaos: painters, sculptors and sketchers share the space, more of a refuge than a workroom. The aforementioned foyer hosts temporary exhibitions, but the converted-home feel is the Studio’s main source of appeal. Coffee breaks happen in an unpolished kitchen that looks plucked from a mountain cabin, a space that gives way to a lofted apartment housing guests and visiting artists.
Taking its name from the term Fata Morgana, which describes an eerie form of mirage, this secluded-from-the-street complex is part photography darkroom, part restoration lab and 100 percent learning center, even for its owners, the congenial husband-and-wife duo Salvatore (“Rino”) and Marilena. Rino manages the darkroom—he’s amassed a collection of analog wonders through the years—while Marilena duly restores, colors and retouches black and white prints by hand. Interested hobbyists can take part in their ongoing darkroom courses, which run for a maximum of three students at a time.
The short, sweet moniker of this small takeout eatery originates from a simple yet elusive command: “Mangiare Mediteranneo” (Eat Mediterranean). Greek-owned and operated, MaMe serves inexpensive street food and is a (mostly) one-woman operation, with the modest owner’s husband lending an occasional hand on high-traffic days. While MaMe could coast along in mediocrity, given the lack of similar food in much of Florence, the ingredient quality paired with lowball pricing makes it good for more than just a “feta fix”. Mouthwatering pita is made fresh every morning, and the homemade tzatziki and veggie-friendly fare draw in a crowd of Oltrarno office workers for quick lunches.
Herika Signorino is the force behind this atelier, a corner boutique with cutouts of Nina Simone, Frida Kahlo and other formidable women “modeling” the shop’s merchandise. Herika is a jeweler first and foremost, but recently launched her own clothing line, and her designs—nearly all of which are single pieces—are all over the map, more indicative of a mood or an imagined mademoiselle than strict loyalty to a signature “look”. Jewelry is all engineered in her hidden working quarters behind the shop dog’s bed. A specialty: the fingerprint-emblazoned pieces, which can be personalized on request.