Give the promise of Florence this Valentine’s Day. Help local businesses from across the miles by selecting a specialty gift. Here’s The Florentine’s pick of the crop for the Tuscany lovers in your life. Many ship internationally and have English-friendly online shops.
For the diehard chocoholic
Indulge in Florence-crafted confectionery by Urzi Cioccolato, a quality chocolatier owned and operated by Maria Antonella Urzi and her husband Francesco Montrone. The via Gioberti store and lab was founded by Antonella’s father in Scandicci over three decades ago and moved to Florence a couple of years back out of a need for larger premises. The first firm in Italy to care about the complete production of chocolate, from cocoa beans grown in San Salvador, Ecuador and São Tomé to finished bar, the decadent goods have found their way to Fifth Avenue boutiques and into the homes of royalty and rulers. Our pick is Merida (5 euro), a 65% cocoa bar with cocoa beans from Venezuela and wrapped in Florentine paper.
Via Gioberti 88R, Florence
+39 055 0882661
For the lady in your life
Make sure the lady in your life looks the part for her trip to Florence next Valentine’s Day by ordering a pair of handmade Madova gloves. Nestled just off the Ponte Vecchio, the store in via Guicciardini claims to be “the only shop in Europe (or maybe in the world) that produces and sells strictly leather gloves”. What’s certain is the Donnini family has been lovingly fabricating gloves for three generations since 1919, when grandfather Amedeo formed leather mitts for leading families and stores in Florence. Birthed in the piazza Santa Felicita workshop, the Madova trademark is loved all over the world, particularly in the United States and Japan. Glove up with this pair of silk-lined winter warmers (42.50 euro).
Via Guicciardini 1R, Florence
+ 39 055 210204
For the artisan enthusiast
This February 14 (or whatever the occasion), gift a gem handcrafted in piazza Santo Spirito by Ditta Carlo Cecchi. Metalsmith Giuliano Ricchi started out as an apprentice to Carlo Cecchi in this detail-oriented workshop when he was just 15 and inherited the firm on his patron’s passing. Ricchi furthers the meticulous art of jewelry, tabletop and ornamentation making today. Every brooch, ring or chain is wrought on the premises in true Florentine style with the use of early twentieth-century machinery, in addition to bygone techniques, such as lost wax bronze casting to produce singular metal objects, which are coated in gold and silver and finished by hand. A favorite in the United States and in Asia, Giuliano Ricchi’s charming creations can be sought out at the likes of Harrods, but we recommend reaching out to the master craftsman directly for items made to measure for your beloved—or yourself. These assorted heart keyrings (25 euro) are the most affordable in the range.
Piazza Santo Spirito 12, Florence
+39 055 214942
For a table for two
Linens that are (almost) worth fighting over: Busatti’s sumptuous items are woven in Anghiari, the picturesque Tuscan town famous for its 1440 battle between Milanese troops led by the Visconti family and Florence’s foot soldiers. Scenes from the skirmish were purported to have painted by Leonardo in a lost painting, which some scholars believe to be concealed in the Salone dei Cinquecento. History lesson aside, the Busatti family have been weaving since 1797 when Napoleon’s army took over Palazzo Morgalanti Busatti to spin wool for blankets and clothing. When the soldiers left, the family took over the weaving operations—and never looked back. Invest in a piece of history with a Giglio table runner (72 euro), pure linen vaunting a blue-and-cream jacquard design that brings Tuscany to your table.
Borgo Tegolaio 51/R, Florence
+ 39 334 9969934
For a gorgeous gourmet
Unleash your creativity with Savini Tartufi’s truffle products and jazz up even the simplest of snacks while subtly enhancing complex recipes. Truffle is the perfect addition to any experimental chef’s kitchen: these Tuscan, straight-from-the-soil gems instantly enrich humble ingredients and inspire new culinary combinations. We’re fans of the Truffle Tagliolini Kit (25.50 euro), which includes truffle-flavored quality tagliolini pasta, summer truffle butter sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano and truffle cream. While you’re treating your loved one, think ahead and book the Truffle Hunting Experience (130 euro) for a walk through the Tuscan undergrowth in search of the earth’s diamonds.
For your inner romantic
Luciano Bargiacchi dresses locals and international in stylish garments from this via Gioberti boutique in Florence. Check out the self-produced Instagram profile @lucianobargiacchi to be lured onto the premises for timeless classics, contemporary elegance and sporty attire for dawn to dusk for men and women. Complement your look with divine accessories including footwear, ties and scarves. If you’re unsure, the helpful staff will point you in the right direction for your tastes and vision. For a dreamy romantic outfit this February, opt for a silk top with comfy jeans or a safari-inspired frock for instant travel memories. Treat yourself to a cozy cashmere sweater in natural tones designed by Bergamo brand Purotatto (359 euro, currently with 30% off during the winter sales).
Via Gioberti 71A, Florence
+39 055 671469
For the sustainably minded
Seek, create, inspire and empower: Laura Shadden and Allyson Volpe are US-born friends who have lived in Tuscany for years. Devoted to promoting creatives in Florence, their brand Lady Ripple is forever on the lookout for sustainable innovations aimed at a healthier lifestyle as well as crafts and design. Bees are their buzzword, sponsoring Fior da Fiore’s first apiary aimed at increasing the bee population in Tuscany and Abruzzo as well as distributing organic Bee Seeds to encourage people to grow insect-attracting plants in their own private spaces. Join the cause and make your own ripple in the world by wearing a Beeline necklace (32 euro). The charming 18k gold-plated bee necklace has been crafted for Lady Ripple by family artisans in Florence, Italy—10 percent of sales go to Lady Ripple’s charitable endeavors.
For the Sicily savant
A favorite for all occasions, the intoxicating aromas of Sicily can be shipped anywhere in the world thanks to Ortigia. English entrepreneur Sue Townsend, a founder of Crabtree & Evelyn, started the soap and scent company in 2006 on her semi-retirement to Italy, specifically Florence. The all-natural and ornately presented products originate with perfumes distilled from the southern island’s flowers by master nose Lorenzo Villoresi. Sicily’s colorful history is tangible in the range, from Greeks to Bourbons, palms, leopards and volcanoes. Present the man (husband, brother, best friend) in your life with Ambra Nera aftershave (45 euro), luxurious, light and silky solace for the skin, infused with warm and spicy amber perfume.
For the Tuscan traveller
Give the promise of Tuscany with a gift voucher for a stay in a Medici villa when traveling is possible again. If the stones of the Villa Medicea di Lilliano Wine Estate could tell a story, it would be one of ambition, royalty and change, from beginnings as a lookout tower in the 11th century to becoming the country home of the Medici family and entertaining the King of Denmark, Frederick IV in 1709. Owned by the Malenchini family since 1830, the villa and apartments blend the charm of an historic home with fine modern comforts, including a view of the Duomo that feels within reach. The gift voucher (390 euro), valid in 2021 and 2022, includes a two-night stay for two people, breakfast and a day exploring the estate, gardens and cellar tour, plus a wine tasting lunch.
Via Lilliano e Meoli 82, Grassina (Florence)
+39 055 642602
For Florence in your home
Canadian-Italian artist Jennifer Leo’s colorful prints bring Florentine whimsy to your walls with unique designs, such as this abstract acrylic wall art (32 euro). So too do Nicole Made’s color studies on the city’s monuments like this vibrant sky-blue rendition of Santo Spirito (25 euro). Display Florentine expressions with plain-speaking prints by I’Fiorentino. An ingenious business born out of lockdown, we love the Florentine dictionary poster (19 euro, frame not included) featuring a sample A to Z of the local lingo, including abbozzala (give it a rest) to zaffata (a sudden stink), plus the guidance to “gesticulate to add credibility”!
The advertising in this article was generously gifted to businesses by The Florentine readers David Bach and Alatia Bradley Bach. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
This article was published in Issue 274 of The Florentine.