The streets are empty here, and everyone is very worried about the future in Florence. A new Covid restriction has all the restaurants closing at 6pm. This is very frustrating for not only the owners, but the Florentines as well since they don’t eat dinner until at least 7pm.
I am leaving Florence earlier than planned because I am concerned there will be another lockdown. Tomorrow there will be an announcement restricting travel from one region to another. I fly to Rome tomorrow in the nick of time! Then on to the States where I need to quarantine for 14 days.
I am happy to announce that Tesori Italiani gift catalogue is finished! The artisans I selected are thrilled to have a little work, and I have had fun putting it all together. Here is the link to the catalogue:
On the little alley, Borgo dei Greci, which connects Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza Signoria, there is a charming paper shop called Signum. This alley is empty now, so unlike previous times when it was always crowded with tourists. I always recommend purchasing the little note pads here to bring home. Light weight and easy to pack, they are something everyone can use. The designs are typical Florentine patterns with the giglio, symbol of Florence predominantly used. I will have these notepads as well as note cards with envelopes available in my Tesori Italiani collection for the holidays.
Fall has brought beautiful, crisp sunny weather here in Florence. My little corner of the courtyard in my apartment complex is alive with color!
Many years ago on my first trip to Florence, I bought a beautiful green scarf. Returning to Florence 10 years later, I went in search of more scarves. When I entered a little shop on Borgo dei Greci, the man behind the counter said, “Welcome back. I see you still wear the scarf you bought from me.” This was Ricardo, whom many of you know from our shopping tours.
The shop name is Massimo Ravinale, and in addition to gorgeous scarves, they carry gloves, ties, pocket squares and even some blouses.
The latest addition to the scarves is masks. They are made of washable cotton. One side has a pattern, and the other side is plain navy blue. I am getting lots of them to include in the Tesori Italiani catalog I’m working on.
How about a silk scarf with matching mask? We can call it the, “Pretty in Pandemic” look!
Usually in early October on a Sunday afternoon the restaurants are packed with both tourists and locals. The piazzas are crowded with families and couples walking and chatting with friends. Today it is sad to see the empty restaurants with the waiters standing at the door, nothing to do. There are lots of restaurants and shops that have simply closed.
No matter how bleak things look, the goldsmith is still working and just designed this gorgeous pearl ring for a client. It is white and yellow gold with an absolutely outstanding pearl.
Fabio, the elderly man who makes bags by hand with leftover leather from his son’s factory, was busy during the lockdown earlier this year and continues to make unique bags.
I am staying busy with my Italian class, and gathering special items for the Tesori Italiani gift box project. I am waiting to receive the leather boxes made by hand, and the silver pieces I am including. Hope to have a little catalog ready soon with pictures and descriptions of everything.
Chia and I have been busy shopping here for special requests: lotion, jewelry, boots and handbags. Everyone wants to know how things are here in Florence. It is a sad scene with very few tourists and all the artisans and shop owners hurting badly. There are desperate people doing desperate things. Italy has been faring well with regard to the Covid-19 virus. Everyone is wearing a mask and taking it very seriously.
We all are trying to stay positive, and my Tesori Italiani project has been well received. I have the wine stoppers in hand and they are great! They are hand painted by an artisan here in Florence with unique patterns. I am waiting now for the leather boxes and the salt and pepper sets to be finished.
I hope to have a catalogue and order form ready by mid October. When I was dancing, I always had to have my holiday shopping finished by Halloween. After that, there were endless rehearsals and no time to shop! This is a habit I have maintained. It makes the holiday season so much more relaxed.
I am back here in Florence and working on my Tesori Italini (Italian Treasures) project. I will be curating gift boxes of my favorite things to bring back to the States and sell. The artisans and shop owners are really struggling to stay in business during this difficult time, and they are very excited to be part of this project. I am working with a silversmith, several ceramics artists, and a leather artisan who are making items for us now. I am planning to do pre-orders of the merchandise soon. Here is a sneak peek at some of the items:
class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-3148″ /> I will include silk scarves, an oval shaped leather box and a few other things also!