Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s, Galentine’s or both/none of the above, do yourself and Florence’s artisans a favour by buying something that was curated with love. Thirteen high-quality independent spaces, labs and stores in the Sant’Ambrogio and Santa Croce areas have grouped together to fashion a project called the Not for Tourist Map. Take the tour!
1. Ad’A – Area d’arte (via de’ Macci 46R) is a creative workshop where weaver Laura Biagini and designer Gloria Modesti work side by side to produce and sell handcrafted clothing and accessories according to the principles of responsible fashion. Top tip: check out the weaving classes and workshop experiences.
2. Bottega Scuola per l’Artigianato Liutario (corso dei Tintori 29R) is home to Tuscan master luthier Giuliano Merlini’s workshop devoted to the crafting and restoration of string instruments for plucking or bowing, as well as the Tuscan Region’s luthiery school.
3. Cecilia Falciai (via de’ Macci 25R) is specialized in the ancient scagliola and commesso fiorentino mosaic art techniques featuring precious stones and marble. An eclectic range of designs are available, from tables and panels to small-scale interior decor and jewellery, also on a commission basis.
4. Essère Atelier (via Pandolfini 7R) embodies the name of the dressmaking store founded by Ilaria Tolossi in 1997. Meaning “to be” with an accent for added passion, the former Loewe and Emilio Pucci employee creates unique and personalized clothes. The enthusiasm for fabrics, colors, prints and sartorial details makes each garment precious.
5. JHA Porcelain (via Pandolfini 5R) is a creative hub for porcelain workshops led by Dutch founder Jacqueline Harberink. Expect contemporary ceramics—tableware, homeware and jewelry—in a minimalist style.
6. ORERIA (borgo Pinti 87A) was established by Rita Rinaldi and Marzia Poggi in 1989. One-of-a-kind pieces, the two designers’ creations are made from metal combined with wood, ebony and precious stones. The end result? Bold jewelry with no-fuss designs.
7. LINFA Studio Gallery (borgo Allegri 60R) is a spellbinding jewelry lab led by Valentina Caprini, whose unique pieces are created using experimental and centuries-old Italian goldsmith techniques. Here you can become a jewelry maker for a day (or more) by attending a basic metalsmith course.
8. Mrs Macis (borgo Pinti 38R) is an independent and sustainable Florentine fashion brand, which was founded by the eponymous Carla Macis in 2005. Expect bold and colourful “good mood” clothing confected from recycled and vintage fabrics.
9. MudMoiselle Ceramica (via de’ Macci 75R) is an oasis of one-of-a-kind stoneware and porcelain pieces “for delicate souls”. Sara Bardazzi harnesses age-old ceramic techniques to craft the handmade and handpainted creations as well as offering interactive workshop experiences.
10. occhi-ali (via Pandolfini 23R) is an optician’s store for eye testing, frame repairs and contact lens as well as getting crafty with customized mosaic designs to dispel the tedium of spectacle wearing.
11. Paolo Carandini (borgo Allegri 7R) has been creating refined handmade parchment boxes for the past 30 years. In addition to a vast selection of color combinations, check out his original Boxes of Wonder, with images sealed in transparent parchment. Paolo’s boxes can also be ordered on commission.
12. Donata Patrussi Antiquariato & Design (via Palmieri 28-29R) focuses on 20th-century decorative arts, ranging from turn-of-century antiques to designs dating to the 1950s and ‘60s. Italian, French, Austrian and American glasswork predominates.
13. Tee-Pee Vintage (via de’ Macci 50) is a mecca for selected vintage garments from the United States and around the world. Matteo Nuti and Sara Sguanci launched the store in 2019, having previously sold online and at markets.