One of the aims of the trip to Florence we made last week was seeing personally what Made in Italy truly is and why it is strictly connected to luxury. After four days spent in Florence I confirmed my personal idea of luxury: it lies in little special details. I had this thought while I was enjoying a beautiful Florentine sunset with some friends, sipping from a glass of wine.
Apart from wine, we were surrounded by a lot of people from all over the world enjoying this breathtaking moment, while a guy played romantic songs with his guitar, spreading happiness all around. In a few words it was nothing that expensive nor difficult nor pretentious, it was just Florence that welcomed us with this gift of nature, and it arose very good feelings. In the end what I realized in that moment is that no matter what, no matter where, it’s all up to one’s sensitivity and capacity to see beauty and feel deep emotions. In this case everything could be luxury.
This was the romantic point of view that my soul can’t ignore, but now let’s move to a more concrete way of approaching luxury, since we had the possibility to see some Italian excellences that should make us feel proud of our country and our unique skills. Heritage is obviously the predominant part of the city, starting from the beautiful sights and going through shops, museums and people, without forgetting to mention the restaurants we tried and the superb food they offer.
We also had the chance to see the other side of the medal, that are the outlets just outside Florence, which have nothing to do with heritage, but that are full of customers coming from all over the world, spending a lot tempted by discounts. In particular, we visited the one called The Mall, that can count on 30 luxury fashion brands selling their items at 30%-50% less than in the stores, offering many bargains to shopaholic tourists.
The Ferragamo Museum is an extraordinary example of the heritage of Florence, where all the genius of Salvatore Ferragamo is shown through an exhibition about movement and equilibrium, fundamental elements in his long tradition that is incredibly mixed with modernity, since without a doubt he was a pioneer in this world and many of his models were later copied or were the inspiration for other designers.
It was a trip extremely characterized by beauty, that you can breath in every single corner of the city. For example, we went to the Uffizi, where I’ve spent 20 minutes sitting in front of the stunning “La nascita di Venere” by Botticelli, admiring it stunned by its delicate beauty.
Then, another extremely beautiful place that left me speechless was the “Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella”, a 400 years fragrances maker positioned in a part of the Santa Maria Novella monastery.
Each of their products has a peculiar story, like the Cologne and Pot pourri, two of the company’s distinguishing products. We had a guided tour through the magic atmosphere of the beautiful rooms like the Ancient Pharmacy, the Sacristy and the Sales Room, magnificent and rich of history.
Moreover, we had the opportunity to testimony the love for the details and craftmanship that characterize made in Italy in other two places: the first was Liverano & Liverano, one of the last remaining Florentine tailoring houses, widely recognized as one of the finest bespoke tailors in the world. Mr. Liverano welcomed us, guiding us through the little shop and the laboratory, telling the story of the company, how it grew worldwide and showed us some parts of the creation of their entirely handmade products
The second place we had the chance to visit was “Scuola del Cuoio”, the largest genuine laboratory in the city where clients can witness the artisans creating the leather goods in the midst of centuries-old history. It was created after World War II through the collaborative efforts of the Franciscan friars of the Monastery of Santa Croce and the Gori and Casini families, Florentine leather artisans since the 1930’s. Nowadays the school lives on through Marcello Gori’s family, of which we have seen his daughter Francesca working on her customized bags, decorated with one of a kind embroidery, jewels and beads. We have also seen students from all over the world, mainly chinese, coming to Italy to learn the art of working leather.
My last sentence sums everything up: our beautiful country has so much to teach and people from all over the world are willing to come here and learn those skills that characterize our craftsmanship and understand our natural attitude towards beauty. This obviously has two sides: the positive is the one I mentioned before that make us so proud of our heritage, known and admired all over the world. The negative one is the threat for italian craftsmen to lose their primary importance when foreign people export what they have learnt.
However, that’s another story that we all know very well but this isn’t the right post to discuss this. So, for the moment let’s just go back to the first picture and enjoy that beautiful sunset even if it’s just in a photo… until the day I’ll go back to Florence again.
Florence, see you soon.
All pictures were taken by me.