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November 28, 2009

In honor of BLACK FRIDAY, let’s go shopping in Florence with my friend-of-exquisite-taste, Rosanne Cofoid. Rosanne is one of those Italian-American women who has a flair for style–in that simple, elegant, eye-catching way. We met on a group trip to Abruzzo years ago, and I immediately got a girl crush,  just from her ensemble.

Rosanne has poured her passion for Italy into creating a tour company, La Dolce Via Travel, that customzies tours to Italy–meticulously creating itineraries where hotels, restaurants, and sights are chosen, so you feel as if a fairy godmother designed the whole vacation to fulfill your dream-of-a-vacation.

Since Rosanne’s such an expert, I asked her to clue us in on some favorite shopping experiences in Florence, and she said:

Allora, let’s get in the shopping mood…Florence is home to many famous design houses, such as Pucci and Gucci.

The place to go to pay homage to another of these geniuses is the Museo Ferragamo, which showcases the works of Salvatore Ferragamo, one of the greatest Italian shoe designers ever.  The museum was opened in 1995 and the collection spans the  the history of his career from 1927 onward.  If you can’t splurge for a new pair from this classic house. go to the downstairs museum, where you can ogle hundreds of his unique and truly revolutionary creations for only 5 EURO! Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Piazza Santa Trinita 5r.  Tel.  055.3360.456.  10:00 to 6:00 (closed Tuesday).

Now that you’ve been inspired and you’re in the Florentine state of mind, it’s time to shop for real.

One of the most unique jewelry shops I know in Florence is Penko, situated near the Duomo.  A true goldsmith who uses only authentic tools—no machines here–Paolo Penco’s work is done in the Florentine style, often emulating the stylistic elements of the Renaissance.  One way he shows his artistry is in the recreation of jewelry worn by subjects in works of art, such as a necklace worn by one of the Graces”  in  Botticelli’s “Spring”.   He also does a variety of works in silver and gold without precious stones, and the pricing overall is quite reasonable.  His workshop is right behind the front counter, and he’ll be happy to show you how he creates these authentic pieces.   The shop has the increasingly rare distinction of “bottega”, namely, a workshop that is mainly aimed at keeping alive the traditions of Florentine artisans. Penko, Via F. Zannetti, 14-16r,  Tel.

If you’re looking for something for your home, Lungarno Details has something for every home décor, style guaranteed.  The store is  part of the Ferragamo empire. In addition to the fashion house, the family owns several hotels and restaurants in Florence (and one in Rome and the Tuscan countryside), all with the unmistakable style they’ve come to be known for.

Good news for those of us who need a shopping fix before we can get to Florence:  there will be an online Lungarno Details store soon!  Lungarno Details, Lungarno Acciaioli 4/R.

Grazie, Rosanne—I lived through you vicariously today…

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