If you are looking to purchase any leather products, buy them from La Scuola del Cuoio, Florence’s Leather School. The school, located in an old monastery, was established in 1950 to teach the orphans of World War II a trade so they could survive. The school has continued to thrive and even offers workshops for interested individuals. At the market, you will find an array of handbags to choose from along with jackets, belts, bookmarks, basically anything you can think of. You will also get the opportunity to see some of the students in action. By purchasing from the school, you be supporting the local artisans and will walk away with something that’s truly one of a kind.
Gold and Silver Jewelry
Florence has a long history of gold and silver smiths in the city. In 1593, Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici stated that all gold and silversmiths had to move to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence so he could keep an eye on their work. Since that time, smiths have continued to thrive in Florence in the exact location they were called to almost 400 years ago. Many of these artisans still use some of the ancient techniques of their ancestors. It’s an investment for sure, but this souvenir will be one to cherish for years to come.
When Medici proclaimed all gold and silversmiths move to Florence, he also included jewelers in that directive. However, the cameo has had a long history in Italy first appearing throughout the Roman empire before spreading across the globe. You will find the best variety for cameos in along the Ponte Vecchio where the gold and silversmiths ply their trade. You can find anything from the traditional broach to necklaces and earrings.
If you’re looking to splurge, visit La Mie Ceramiche. Inside, you find an array of hand-painted ceramics for you to choose from. First opened in 1999, the story was a passion project for owner, Ambria. Everything in the shop is handcrafted by Ambria with the help of her father. On her website, she says, “I love my work very much because it allows me to discover and rediscover the artistic tradition of Florence.” Former visitors have given the shop 5-star ratings on trip advisor and phrase Ambria’s customer service and quality of work.