Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shops in Florence

Long ago and far away I wandered the streets of Florence looking in vain for a needlework shop that someone had told me about. Never mind that I didn't have a map, the directions were... go to the Duomo, face the Baptistry, in the left corner of the piazza take the road called Borgo San Lorenzo, it turns into Via de' Ginori... walk until you get to number 23. Well, frustratingly I couldn't find no. 23. The addresses completely skipped over the 20s on the odd numbered side of the street. I never found the shop, though I wandered up and down the street, peering into all the shops that were open. More frustrating was the fact that I had seen some painted canvases with Florentine scenes on them in a window while I was wandering around and thought "oh, I'll come back here on my way back and take a look", but I didn't take note of the address or even the street name so of course I never found my way back. Note to self: don't do that again. If you see something you like, go in right away and look at it because even if you do miraculously find your way back, the shop will inevitably be closed for lunch. Most shops are closed from 1 - 3 pm.

Last year in May, I took one of Vima diMarchi Micheli's fantastic needlework tours of Italy. If you ever get the chance, you should do at least one of these in your lifetime. Vima knows all kinds of interesting shops in Florence... and other cities too! She took us to lots of places but my favourites in Florence were: Casa dei Tessuti in Via dei Pecori, no. 20. What a fabulous fabric shop! Passamaneria Valmar in Via Porta Rossa no. 53. An amazing passamaneria shop with tassels and buttons, and trims and braids and cushions and more! Right next door at no. 51 is Bruno Falugi a store where you can buy needlework fabric and threads and household linens. I went back every day we were there and bought more.

On our own, my roommate and I stumbled across Ricamo e Cucito in Piazza dell'Olio, no. 8. Lots of cross stitch and needlepoint but mostly American and English stuff you've already seen on the internet or in stores at home. They did have some Italian and French patterns which were interesting and some lovely work on display.

With Vima we also visited the Scuola del Cuoio, in the Monastery of Santa Croce, Via S. Giuseppe, no. 5. Breathtaking leatherwork - purses, wallets, home decor stuff like frames and desk accessories, cosmetic accessories holders... just an incredible display. If you go, do not miss the handbag display - each one is an individual creation hand-decorated by a very talented lady.

There are some special places to look at needlework in Florence but I'll save that for another post!

This is one of the hexagonal carvings from the face of the Duomo... now kept inside the museum.


  1. Thank you for the tips! I hope to get more addresses and tips soon.

  2. Hi Vincet,
    I wish you the best time in Florence!
    I will be watching your blog for your story about it upon your return!
    Let me ask a friend for her favourite places in Florence and I'll get back to you...

  3. Hi Vincet,
    I heard from my friend in Italy - she says keep in mind that she hasn't been to Florence in 4 years so some of the shops might not be there anymore (please tell me when you return if they are or aren't).
    Passamaneria Toscana in Piazza di San Lorenzo.
    Skandinavia in Via de' Ginori which sells Scandinavian furnishings and lots of Danish Cross Stitch kits.
    Agomano in Via Arnolfo 3r, which sells patchwork and creative sewing fabrics - it's far from the city centre!
    Busatti, in Lungarno Torrigiani 11, which sells beautiful household linens, high prices but worth the visit as the production is typically Tuscan.

    Please let me know what you find and...
    Buon Viaggio!

  4. Hi Jeanine, thank you for the addresses.
    The Scuola at the MOnastery Santa Croce is at via Giuseppi Verdi, I almost did not find it, because you missed the Verdi (the composer). ^_^
    I am so nervous. I hope everything will be fine. I am leaving on wednesday. will keep you posted.

  5. Hi Vincent,

    I'm glad you found it - I copied the address from their website. Make sure to go through Santa Croce on your way out of the Scuola, it's beautiful!

    Buon viaggio!

  6. hi Jeanine.
    I am writing from Florence. I found all the shops written in your post. thank you so much.
    I find the agomago shop in Via Arnolfo the most inspiring, because of the rare japanese books and japanese textiles.The owner and the shoplady who can speak english was so helpful and patient with me.haha.
    some you mentioned does not offer needlework products anymore. I will not mention them in my blog entry later. But the shops are all still there.
    I did not discover any new shop. But I also went to the yarn shops which Nicky Eppstein mentioned in her book Knitting in Tuscany. I will include them in my blog because I am also interested in yarns, though I do not knit or crochet that much anymore.
    I will also mentione in my blog the Museums that has textiles. Thank you for that list as well. I saw the or nué series. Very inspiring! They are so fine, I spent a long time there analyzing the techniques they used. It was worth all the euros I paid. But on the opposite side are no more embroideries, more like miniature mosaics and the bone relics in gold containers.
    I will still have to go to the Costume Gallery and the Davanzati Palace in the next days.

  7. Hi Vincent,
    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time!
    I hope you enjoy the other museums as much as I did.
    I look forward to reading about what you've discovered.
    Jeanine in Canada

  8. Hi Jeanine! Got back from Florence. My flight was cancelled for 3 more days because of the ashes. and my luggage was left in Paris and is on the way to Berlin today. haha.
    I already wrote my blog about the stores. I still have to write about the museums.
    I did not go to the Casa dei Tessuti, I got intimidated because the owner seems to cater only to rich clients.
    Passamaneria Valmar is also too glittery for my taste and too expensive too.
    There are still very few old cross stitch products at the Skandinavia store, but not enough to blog about.
    I skipped the bags at the Scuola.
    I found a couple of stores I found. And I will also add an info about the largest embroidery (larger than 1meter x 4meter silk, gold and silver embroidery )that is in the 2nd floor of the Accademia, where David is.
    Here´s the link to my blog:
    I linked back to your blog towards the end of my blog.
    Thanks for the information,

  9. Hi Vincent!
    I'm glad you found lots of stuff in Florence, it sounds like you had a great trip!
    I left you a comment on your blog too.