Walking around artisan and monumental Florence
Amongst bottegas, churches and monuments: a “slalom of wonders.”
Artigianato&Aperitivo takes us around the alleyways and into the bottegas of an artisanal Florence of the past and traditions, source of pleasant memories for some, but unknown to most. It is a journey-itinerary to do far from the frenzy of tourists, walking slowly and spacing it out, from time to time, with a break for a good aperitif. The journey in the historic soul of Florence touches the most iconic areas of the city and finds as leitmotif the new discovery of the artisanal talent in its most varied forms: to better enjoy this itinerary we suggest breaking it down into daily stages. Let’s start our itinerary in the central area around the train station, an area rich in history, characters…and churches!
Amongst them we wish to mention the Basilica d’Ognissanti and Santa Maria Novella, both of an great beauty and importance.
Our first artisanal bottega is Ubaldo Baldini Bronzista who, with his ninety years of tradition in working metals, produces furnishing accessories of every kind and style. Nearby we find another bottega, GF 89, where Giuseppe and Mirko Fanara work, and who, following the ancient traditions of working with leather, create by hand coin purses, business cards holders, pen holders, glass cases and jewelry cases.
We continue our itinerary along the river Arno to then cross the Vespucci Bridge and reach the two adjacent districts that champion the conservation of the typical Florentine soul: Santo Spirito and San Frediano. This area surprises us for its charm of seasoned city, a meeting place where people get together and that is home to a big artists and artisans’ community which enlivens the “Diladdarno” daily. (lit. on the other side of the Arno as spoken in the local dialect). The beauty and the stories of this neighborhood made a big impression also on the timeless Italian writer Vasco Pratolini, who decided to devote his well-known novel to the “Le Ragazze of San Frediano” (The girls of San Frediano), infusing even more enchantment to its piazzas and streets.
There are three artisans on our itinerary who have chosen this area for their workshops: Rosario Sagliano of Sagliano Concetti Sartoriali, who personally cares every dress in its minute details, combining the renowned tradition of Neapolitan tailoring with the efficiency of manufacturing; Gianni Raffaelli and his wife Francesca who in their laboratory shop L’Ippogrifo Stampe d’Arte create graphic works with the etching technique, each signed and strictly numbered; Joyce Terreni who with her Arti Plastiche Studio di Restauro works on restoration.
From the Oltrarno it is a must to continue towards one of the most iconic landmarks of the city: the well-known Ponte Vecchio, that with its goldsmiths’ bottega and the very famous Corridoio Vasariano (Vasari Corridor) has rightfully gained the first place amongst the most iconic bridges in the world. Around the corner, we can find the Legatoria Il Torchio, with its artisanal production of Florentine leather, the hand-marmorized papers, the colored canvasses, the best papers from Fabriano to the ones made by them.
Going on to the right, we reach the area of the ancient San Niccolò tower, of the Rampe and the Piazzale Michelangelo: right in the middle of the renowned Bardini and Delle Rose gardens is Alessando Dari Gioielli, the goldsmiths bottega of Master Artisan Alessandro Dari. Here all the phases necessary to realize a finished jewel are performed in order to create limited edition collections and one-of-a-kind pieces. Not far away we can reach the atelier La Nuova Musiva – Mosaico Fiorentino, where Lituana Di Sabatino practices the surprising art of the Florentine Commesso .
To conclude our itinerary and our journey in the authentic and artisanal Florence we must cross the river Arno once again and end up in the “red city,” the quarter of Sant’Ambrogio. Red is the color of the typical houses of this area, famous also for the goliardic organizations and their parties. In this neighborhood, Cecilia Falciai works in her bottega with the technique of scagliola and the Florentine “commesso” in stones and marbles, producing also works on commission.