Everyone knows that, even today, Florence is still dedicated to the artisan tradition.
Along Borgo San Jacopo, stands the showroom of Atelier Bianco Bianchi. Here you’ll find the ancient splendour of an art that’s almost been lost, “scagliola”.
A technique that perfectly imitates marble and semi-precious stones to create extraordinary pieces that adorn the most beautiful houses in the world, including that famous table with the Medusa head, the logo of the Versace fashion house.
In via San Giuseppe, in the Santa Croce neighbourhood that has been renowned for its leather processing since the Middle Ages, you find the headquarters of the Scuola del Cuoio, founded in Florence after the Second World War.
You will discover Bettina Schindler, who thanks to a refined experience in artistic techniques such as openwork, turning, wood-carving, marquetry and engraving, restores antique works of art in her workshop in Via San Niccolò, collaborating with museums throughout Italy.
Claudio Arezio, who in his workshop in Via del Leone makes violins, violas and cellos, starting from an inner mould as in the classical tradition of Italian violin making.
Ceramics but also sculptures, objects, paintings in the studio of Bruno Gambone, a Florentine craftsman who has collaborated with artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol (Via Benedetto Marcello 9).
The Laboratorio di Moleria Locchi in Via Burchiello 10 is a meeting place for fans and collectors alike where Paola and Giovanna Locchi restore and engrave objects of all periods and styles, as well as creating a fine line of crystal objects.
For jewellery lovers, a definite must is a visit to Alessandro Dari, Via San Niccolò 115R: his studio is home to fifteen different collections, for a total of over six hundred pieces.
Original and colourful costume jewellery is created by Angela Caputi, made with lightweight, high-fashion plastic materials (Via Santo Spirito 58r), while a veritable Florentine institution for sterling silver is Pampaloni in Via Porta Rossa 99r.
Another point of reference, this time for fabrics, is the Antico Setificio Fiorentino, originally established in the mid-seventeenth century and purchased in 2010 by the Stefano Ricci house of fashion: here fabric is woven on 18th-century handlooms and 19th-century power looms; all dyeing is done by hand without the use of any chemical treatments.
For custom-tailored suits, Liverano & Liverano counts many of the most prominent politicians and businessmen among its clients (Via dei Fossi 43r) while Lucio Antonucci creates wedding gowns and special occasion dresses in his atelier: evanescent tulles, washed silks, fine embroidery and a great attention to accessories.
For custom-made leather shoes, three indispensable addresses: Il Micio di Hidetaka Fukaya in Via de’ Federighi, Saskia Wittmer in Via Santa Lucia, Stefano Bemer in San Niccolò.
Be sure to visit the magical ambiance of the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Via della Scala 16, dating back to 1612: among the ancient preparations still made today are the Rose Water and the Almond Paste.