Artisan Studios & Specialty Shopping

In my travels to Florence in recent years, I’ve come to know many local artisans and merchants who specialize in Italian-crafted merchandise. I’ve written about many of these shops and artists on my blog – and, in fact, some of them are in my book Tales from Tavanti: An American Woman’s Mid-Life Adventure in Italy.

The idea for my artisan workshop visits came to me one day as I listened to a Florentine bookbinder’s story of his family’s five-generation legacy. “It ends with me,” he told me sadly. His ancient craft has been undercut by technology and the economic crisis.

I want to share with visitors to Florence a part of its heritage that is fading away and shine a light on artisans who are adding a new twist to the old, keeping alive the renaissance spirit of this magnificent city.

I’m offering two itineraries that will take visitors to the side streets of Florence that most tourists don’t see…

MORNING  (10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) – specialty shops in the historic center. MEETING PLACE: Caffe Giubbe Rosse, Piazza della Repubblica 13-14R – we’ll gather inside the cafe, by the bar.  DIRECTIONS: Piazza della Repubblica, known for its huge triumphal arch and carousel, is a 3-minute walk from the Duomo – head south (toward the Arno) along Via Roma – and the piazza will loom large on your right.

AFTERNOON (3 – 5 p.m.) – the artisan workshops of the Oltrarno – the “other” side of the River Arno – where you can shop for unique items produced on location. MEETING PLACE: in front of the Madova glove shop, Via de’ Guicciardini 1R  DIRECTIONS: From the city center, cross the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) to the south side of the Arno. Madova will be on your left – look for a vertical white sign that says GLOVE FACTORY.

Space is limited. Please reserve at least one day in advance.  We’ll leave on time, so please arrive a few minutes early.

Book by e-mail: rb@rebeccabricker.com

Cost: 25/person

Come with your shopping list – I can customize the itineraries to your interests. Choices include: paper products, linens, desk accessories, jewelry, handbags, buttons and trims, fabrics, curtain tassels, ceramics, art supplies from the Renaissance and hand-made puppets (it’s the hometown of Pinocchio, after all 😉).