If you’re looking for unique handmade gifts, Florence offers plenty of choices. That’s because the Renaissance city is home to some of the country’s most talented artisans and chic boutiques, from leather workshops and jeweler studios to designer ateliers filled with whimsical, one-of-a-kind works of art.
To make your gift-giving more sustainable this year, we’ve rounded up the best handmade gifts for everyone on your list. We hope this list will inspire you to help support Italy’s artisanal legacy while gifting a present your loved ones will cherish forever.
Quality Italian Leather Goods
Florentine leather might be famous worldwide, but it’s incredibly hard to find quality leather goods at a fair price point. My go-to in the city is Viviani’s family leather shop. Opened in 1965, the store is now in its third generation and run by the sweet Viviana and her son Leonardo. I love coming here and watching their expert hands at work to create bags, belts, wallets, and coin purses – all made with Tuscany’s softest leather.
Their purses are practical and never go out of style! I’ve had my cherry red Letizia tote for a few years now and I love how its adjustable strap makes it a super versatile accessory, perfect for going from day to night.
Pelletteria Artigiana Viviani: Via Guelfa, 3a, Florence
Stylish Florentine-Made Eyewear
Eyewear plays an essential role in la bella figura and Antica Occhialeria is the best boutique in Florence to pick up handmade frames and shades. Housed within a 19th century millinery lab, this historic business was founded in 1956 by Lucio Enrico Di Nardo in 1956, an optician and art collector, and is now managed by his family.
I’m a fan of the shop’s vintage-inspired eyeglass designs made with materials like gold, leather, horn, and wood. The Virna lenses, a reinterpretation of Italian actress Virna Lisi’s favorite cat-eye shades, add some retro glamour to any look. The artisans at Antica Occhialeria can even engrave your initials on the frames – such a stylish touch!
Antica Occhialeria: Via San Gallo 130R – 134R, Florence
Luxurious Natural Fragrances
You can’t miss visiting an independent perfumery when you’re in Florence. After all, this is the city where modern perfume-making began! My favorite place to pick up new scents is Acqua di Firenze, which means “Water of Florence”. Their all-natural fragrances embody the spirit of the city and the packaging is super cool and old-fashioned.
As you stroll by their shop, you’ll catch a whiff of their signature floral perfumes, inspired by the city of Florence. Men will love the Inferno, which takes its name from Dante’s Divine Comedy and has notes of black rose. For women, try Primavera which is inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece. This perfume has sweet orange and Tuscan cypress accents, making it a perfect fragrance for spring.
Acqua di Firenze: Via delle Belle Donne 15b, Firenze
Fine Handcrafted Jewelry
A Thousand Joys, Joy Franklin’s jewelry atelier lies just steps from the Ponte Vecchio, the most famous bridge in Florence. Originally from Michigan, Joy came to Florence to study abroad, fell in love with the city and decided to stay. Her creations are handcrafted using traditional metalsmithing techniques with a focus on craftsmanship and sustainability. You’ll find delicate necklaces, jeweled earrings, 18k gold engagement rings and much more in the shop and online.
Joy’s designs are inspired by art history, particularly the Art Deco movement and the Victorian period. And each piece comes packaged in a beautiful little handmade pouch and gift box, ready to share with the person you love most.
A Thousand Joys: Borgo San Jacopo 11, Florence
Illustrations Of Italy
Florence’s artistic scene is flourishing and I love to see new artists experiment with fresh ways to share the city’s heritage. Lucilla Vecchiarino, a Florentine-born artist, is one of my favorite illustrators with an unconventional approach to paper products and gifts.
Born into a family of painters, Lucilla completed a degree in architecture before shifting her focus to drawing. Today, she creates playful art work that reinterpret Italian motifs, from kitchen objects to local saints. Her hand-drawn cocktail recipe illustrations will brighten up any kitchen and make your home feel a little bit more Italian. Check out her Etsy shop for colorful prints of Italy’s famous beloved Spritz and Negroni.
Lucilla Vec: Via Romana 8/R, Florence
Knitting is a traditional Florentine craft, one that is sadly being lost as fast fashion takes over. Luckily, young Tuscan artists like Margherita Sgobba are helping to save it. Originally a psychology graduate, Margherita became passionate about knitting thanks to her mother and grandmother, who would spend afternoons knitting together when she was little. She launched her company Florence Knitwear after suffering from an accident that forced her to stay home for several months – turning a difficult moment into something beautiful.
Each garment is entirely hand knit with top-quality Italian yarns, often requiring many hours of work and deep concentration. I’m in love with her classy sweaters, like this chunky cream cardigan which is ideal for layering in colder months. Wearing it feels like a warm hug! Every purchase from Florence Knitwear is a valuable contribution to the continuation of the Tuscan art of knitting.
Silk Scarves & Ties
Is there anything better than wrapping your neck with a luscious silk scarf?
First established in the 1960’s, Torre D’Arte is located inside a 14-century tower just steps away from the Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore in the heart of Florence. It’s my favorite place to pick up wearable art, including stoles, ties or foulards, as everything here is made with silk from Como, the epicenter of Italy’s silk production. I also love that Rossella and Francesco, the owners, work with local designers to create new prints and styles for their creations. This season, check out Stefano Ramunno‘s patchwork designs with symbols of Florence, including the Ponte Vecchio and the Lily.
Torre D’Arte: Via dello Studio 25/r, Florence
Wooden Carved Pasta Stamps
Filippo Romagnoli, a third-generation woodcarver, is the mastermind behind Florentine Touch: a fantastic company rooted in Tuscany’s ancient wood carving tradition. You’ll find a wage range of wooden products in his Etsy shop, including Italian-style frames, rolling pins and cutting boards. Everything is handmade in Filippo’s workshop in the Chiantishire and his home decor items are sure to lend your home a Florentine feel no matter where you are.
The handcrafted Corzetti pasta stamps are a fantastic gift for food lovers who will be excited to learn how to make this typical pasta of Liguria.
Elegant Home Decor
Since 1842, Busatti has been producing some of the most beautiful homewares and fabrics in all of Tuscany. This 8th-generation family of weavers has an incredible array of items, from tableware and bedding to bathrobes and aprons. All their items are made with natural fibers that are Made In Italy, including linen and cotton, and come in beautiful shades and designs for every season. Busatti’s products are a great gift for newlyweds or anyone looking for an Italian-style home makeover.
Busatti: Via San Niccolò 48, Florence
Traditional Stationary & Notebooks
Although we live in a global digital age, I’m still one of these people who prefers to write things down on a piece of paper instead of type away on my laptop. And my favorite place to pick up beautiful notebooks and stationary is Giulio Giannini’s shop.
Giulio Giannini e Figlio is known around the world for its iconic handmade marbled paper, a Florentine decorating technique that has been kept within the family since 1856. Their stationery is perfect for sending season’s greetings elegantly, and I’m sure any professional or college student will appreciate their hand-bound notebooks. The shop also holds art workshops so you can learn how to make marbled paper yourself.
Giulio Giannini: Piazza Pitti 37/R, Florence
See More: “Made In Italy” Holiday Gift Guide 2021
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