Shopping in Florence with Chia

Chia accompanies me everywhere in Florence, giving excellent shopping advice to the clients. She thought these boots were gorgeous, but too big in the calf to wear unless jeans are tucked in!







We had the day off yesterday, so after teaching ballet class, we had a nice lunch with our friend, Chippie, at All’Antico Vinaio. This is such a fun spot! You order what you want to eat from the selection of pannini and appetizers, and then pour yourself a glass of vino from the selection in the big tub in front of the shop. There are no tables, just benches on the sidewalk, and a few stools in the building. Strictly the honor system for payment here!

After lunch, Chia and I went shopping for a few winter sweaters I had seen in previous days. A cream cable knit, a taupe cashmere turtleneck, black stretchy pants with leather trim and a black cowl neck sweater came home with us. Along with a small black dog, who followed us all the way from Piazza Santa Croce! He was crazy about Chia, and I was ready to take him in, when the boxer who lives here appeared and wanted to eat him….the boxer’s owner ushered the little black dog, who I had already named Nero, back towards Santa Croce. 🙁

One of the shoppers this week was a really nice man from San Francisco- bright, entertaining and we hit it off right away. He bought a couple of beautiful leather jackets, handmade shoes, a couple of bags, a belt for his husband, and a gorgeous Italian suit.






Is there anything classier and better looking than an Italian suit? We had so much fun that we ended up doing another short shopping tour for him the following day.

This is a photo of a leather shop salesman embossing initials onto the beautiful new belt he bought for his husband.

Today was a group of five lovely ladies from Hawaii who were here just for the day. It was a shopping tour all about handbags! We went to several shops, and they found just what they wanted, including bags for daughters and wallets for sons. They left, and Chia and I made it home just before the thunderstorm started!

Many more shopping tours next week, so I am going to soak my feet, and think about that handbag I fell in love with today…

5 thoughts on “Shopping in Florence with Chia”

  1. Maren is right! Chia is definitely one of the bonuses of the tours. That and the absolutely drop dead gorgeous suede gray boots that now live in my closet after a shopping expedition last September. I can hardly wait to get back to Florence for some more wardrobe additions. Maren finds items that are way beyond anything available in the states.

    1. Shopping with Maren is fun and fabulous. She knows just where to find the perfect pair of boots or shoes, belts, sweaters, you name it . . . she knows her way around Florence. And Chia will charm your heart.

  2. Although I live in Florence my days are very full with school leaving me little time to scout out the stores for new and interesting wardrobe updates. Furthermore, I do not speak Italian and although most of the shop owners speak English, it is always so nice when at least one in the party can speak Italian. The solution to my fashion dilemma was an afternoon of shopping with Maren and her adorable little Chia, who entertained me with her Ballet prowess when our shopping was over. In our 2.5 hours together Maren was able to satisfy all of my fall fashion needs as we wove our way through the city streets into shops that I would never have thought to go into (or find) if left to my own devices. I picked up a few easy items suitable for my days spent at school……and then…..on to the really fun stuff ~ Leather!! I bought a fabulous new handbag, a beautiful jacket and a pair of boots. Overall, a really great shopping experience!

    Thanks for the fun afternoon Maren. Let’s do this again in the Spring.

  3. I am the guy from San Francisco Maren was mentioning. I am back in SF now, and sad to have left Italy, and sad to say goodbye to Maren and Chia! I am a busy professional gay man, I know what I like, I love clothes and shoes and have a good eye for fashion, especially what looks good on men. So I couldn’t imagine hiring a shopping guide before. But for this trip to Italy, I was only in Florence a few days before heading to a dear friend’s wedding in Trieste, and knew I was short on time. My last time in Florence was 10 years ago, and so I knew I wanted to look at leather coats. I also packed lightly, and knew I wanted an Italian suit for the wedding, and didn’t want to schlepp one of my own suits from the States. I contacted Maren knowing I would be short on time, and wanted someone to hone in on a few quality shops with reasonable prices. Maren was a dream! We hit it off right away, and with her guidance and in depth knowledge of the Florence shopping scene, I was able to walk away with some gorgeous pieces: two leather coats, two leather bags, belts, a gorgeous Italian suit and a pair of the most beautiful, comfortable, high quality hand made shoes I have ever owned. Thanks Maren for the easy breezy shopping, your advice and eye, and your great personality. A word to the gay men who love quality clothing: if you have the time and money to spend, want incredibly good quality at reasonable prices, contact Maren! Do yourself the favor, and skip trying to do it on your own. Maren knows the best places and deals, plus she is a blast to spend time with. Happy shopping, and thanks again Maren!!

  4. Aloha Kakahiaka (Good Morning) Maren,

    I am one of the five ladies from Hawaii that had the pleasure of shopping with you. It has been 12 days since we left Europe and have slowly stepped back into our daily routine on Maui. The time just flew by while we were on our Mediterranean cruise. We had a marvelous time and met the most wonderful people in Europe. You were absolutely the best!!! Finding you online and contacting you by email was a blessing. From the moment of our first email I was impressed with your professionalism, your warmth and your genuine concern to meet our every need. Communicating through email was effortless as you responded immeditely and answered every question and concern that I had expressed. When we were ready to leave for our trip I was not worried or stressed about our arrangements with you because of your constant communication and confirmation of all the details.
    I am very grateful that you were able to adjust and rearrange your schedule on the morning of our shopping day due to our unexpected change in our time of arrival and departure in Florence. With your expertise and relationship that you had with the shop owners our time was not wasted and we were able to find the perfect leather items. The leather handbags, wallets and belts were gorgeous. Those were the best quality and best prices! We appreciated the discounts that you were able to get for us.

    I would also like to thank you for your recommending Barbara as a tour guide. It was very nice to have a private tour of Florence unlike most of our large tour groups of 50 people.

    We are forever grateful for the short time we had with you. Shopping with you and Cia was wonderful. You did not make us feel like we were just another client that hired you. You developed a personal realtionship with us immediately and made us feel that we were important to you.

    Please keep in touch!

    Mahalo nui loa (Thank you very much!)

    How can I attach a photo?

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