The Florentine insider
Firenze has many secretsand great
buys and places to eat, if you know where to look
by Stanley Moss
some photographs by the author
€700 Real Alligator Handbag at Infinity Leather Shop
Heres a super deal for bargain hunters: a hand-made real alligator
bag for only €700, the kind of artisan object that usually
goes for €3,000 or more in the designer shops. The kicker:
it cant be shipped, owing to bureaucratic regulations which
require complicated export certificates and mysterious fees. You
have to carry the bag out of Italy by hand. Still, its an
amazing opportunity, considering. This shop designs fashion-forward
bags quickly copied by the big stores and brands, and this particular
bag is a classic.
Borgo S. S. Apostoli, 18r
Telephone +39 055 239-84-05
Artisan Deruta at La Botteghina
Theyve been making signature ceramics up in the hills of Deruta
(just south of Firenze) since Roman times, and everywhere in Tuscany
its easy to spot the production items that have been sold
in Italy forever. You know them by sight, the rooster pitcher, the
double-headed bearded guy, the fat mugs. Its a more difficult
task to locate the exceptional one-of-a-kind work rendered by artisans
in the traditional style. Proprietor Daniela has direct connections
to these people, and if you walk to the back of her little shop
hidden on via Guelfa, on the right hand wall, tucked away in a corner
you will find the real thing at amazing prices. These beautiful,
tasteful and refined ceramics are scarce or hard to find. You wont
see a lot like it in the shops of Firenze, and you wont regret
shipping home a few choice pieces.
La Botteghina del ceramista
Via Guelfa, 5/r
Telephone +39 055 28-73-67
Pappardelle to die for at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco
Order the pappardelle in this place and Marco, the owners
son, may recommend you taste it first before shovelling fresh-grated
Parmigiano on to it. Hes right: doesn't need a thing, just
a glass of the local chianti to wash it down. After youve
packed that away, why not try some fresh mascarpone with shaved
white truffles? If youre still sitting upright in your chair,
after your espresso corto, knock back a shot of Amaro Montenegro,
and try not to shout hooray at the cheque which reads €32.
This typical restaurant now in its 25th year of
operation offers great hospitality in an easy, relaxed setting.
Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco
Borgo S. Jacopo, 43r
Telephone +39 055 21-57-06
Great values in the closeout bin at Madova
Madova, the only glove factory in Firenze, has occupied the tiny
space at the corner on the far side of the Ponte Vecchio on via
Gucciardini for decades. Legend has it that Madonna still has her
gloves made here. Every season, new styles placed in the window
stop pedestrians cold, and the curious cluster around gawking at
new contrasting colours, stitching, and wild innovations this traditional
glovemaker constantly dreams up.
But crazy gloves dont always sell through,
and a quick drop-in to the shop often leads to real bargains in
the close-out bin, where deep discounts, sometimes 20 per cent of
original retail, mean lucky customers can score big. Even the normal-priced
items are a great value, though, and theres a special pleasure
in slipping on hand-made gloves in kooky colours, lost in the sweet
swirly fragrances of fine leather.
Via Gucciardini, 1/r
Telephone +39 055 239-65-26
Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.
to Del.icio.us | Digg
it | Add
Botteghina platterthis one went for €50.
Truffles at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco.
Ponte Vecchio, by night.
Madova gloves, from the only glove factory in Firenzethe bargain
bins have some deep discounts.