The charm of Cellerini

The charm of Cellerini

See behind the scenes at the Florentine showroom where bags, belts and leather accessories are handmade with love.

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Wed 24 Jan 2024 3:42 AM

Knocking on the door at via del Sole 9, you’re ushered upstairs into a welcoming first-floor showroom where timeless crafts adorn the walls and pieces are handled with pride and passion. The true story of Cellerini is uncovered when you take a step behind the figurative curtain to the workspace on the left, where suddenly the whole story becomes clear. Workbenches have stood strong since the 1960s, with little to no signs of modernity blemishing the sacred artistic space where the small team carefully and painstakingly put together their bags, belts and various other handmade leather accessories.

The sense of timelessness makes sense when you learn more about their history: Silvano and Anna Maria Cellerini started out in the late 1950s in a rented room in piazza del Mercato Nuovo, with the quality of their work speaking for itself, leading to their being well-known in Florence. Fast-forward to just before the pandemic, when a long-time employee, Antonella Fantechi, took over the company, carrying on the same skills and attention to detail that had brought the name renown. There’s a truly Florentine feel to the comfortable space, with their cat, Dalí, keeping himself warm under the light of the lamps and sitting in on the artisans’ chats as they carry out their work. Joining in on one such chat, we spoke with Antonella and her daughter, Isabella, (who also serves as Cellerini’s model in addition to her artisanry) to learn more.

The three women behind Cellerini: sisters Alessandra and Antonella with Antonella’s daughter, Isabella

Antonella explains, “I started working here in 2008, and I had a wonderful friendship with Signora Cellerini. When myself and my sister, Alessandra, purchased the business, the pandemic struck just two months later, so it was a very difficult beginning. We survived through our online orders, which mainly come from Japan, where we’re well-known. When the clients visit here, they even ask to take photographs with us! Even though I started out here as an employee, the business has entered my blood. I’m 40 years at this work now. There’s just something here that I couldn’t leave behind.”

Almost everything you see has been here since the beginning. They opened a shop downstairs in the 1980s, and it was beautiful. More like a museum than a shop. When that closed, we restored the room upstairs, which was the old sale room from when Cellerini was here in the 1950s and ’60s. In fact, some of our clients remember coming to visit the space with their mothers when they were children.”

A key characteristic is the “hidden” brand name. The Cellerini name is waiting inside the classic and elegant items, forcing you to take a closer look. These are bags with soul, with each member of the team adding their individual skills to the creative process in order to create each unique product.

Vintage Cellerini from the 1950s and ’60s are lovingly on display in the adjoining corridor between the workspaces and showroom, with the difficult-to-find clasps and almost inimitable shapes proving a link between Cellerini’s past and present. These are forever bags, with the evergreen styles meaning going out of fashion isn’t on the horizon. While online ordering is easy and every customizable option is outlined (even down to the colour of the stitching), there’s something special about experiencing the space in person, taking a peek behind-the-scenes, and seeing authentic artisanry at its purest. 

Cellerini Showroom and Laboratory 

First floor / Via del Sole 9, Florence

Tel. +39 055 282 533 / +39 339 719 7881

@cellerinihandbag

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