I don’t want to pretend to be some savvy shopper who knows all the ins and outs of Florence’s consumer culture. But I do frequent the vintage spots and I do keep my eye open for those special stores that break the mold. Admittedly, there are not as many as you might think. Tourism being what it is, often the same store in a different form but selling the same paper, leather bound books, and renaissance inspired quills will do the trick.
Well a few weeks ago, I found one that broke the mold. Many molds. More molds than I knew there actually were.
I was at one of the Sunday markets over by Santo Spirito and I stumbled across a store window that I had not seen before and it caught my eye. Suddenly, I was fogging up the glass with my breath as I tried to ogle every item on display in the window, as well as everything else within view. There was something special about this place. It was early on a Sunday and they weren’t open yet, so a more thorough investigation would have to wait. But I did eventually go in. And there was only one possible response.
This store, called “& Company”, is the closet thing I can imagine to my happy place. Vintage furniture, also for sale, displays endless trinkets and treasures, most of which are hand designed by the husband and wife duo that own the shop. Gorgeous graphic design with antique fonts and a throw back feel decorate mugs, bags, espresso cups, plates, stationary, vases, and trays. Other handmade items by local artists are scattered about adding to the endless eye-pleasing patterns and textures. The display helps; you feel as if you’ve walked into someone’s home, if that someone just happened to have fantastic taste and was perhaps doing some reorganizing. It takes me a moment every time just to adjust to how much there is to see before I can focus on one thing at time.
I finally bit the bullet and bought something this last visit: a little espresso cup with the duomo and bell tower of Florence. The building’s shape is created through a series of words in gorgeous calligraphy, all of which describe the very thing they are forming (campanile di Giotto, 1334, cattedrale, cupola). First of all, the detail and thoughtfulness of the design itself would make a grown nerd cry (guilty). But also, I can’t imagine something better to remind me of this city in a such unique and authentic way.
Fortunately…or unfortunately for me (I can’t decide), the place is full of these kinds of things.
Now…if I could only win the lottery.