Artisans in Florence

Where to find Florence's talented craftsmen.

Florence has always been the hub of innovation and the birthplace of dazzling minds.
Though the city’s crafts have transformed since its glory days, many of these age-old techniques are still alive today.
Wandering through Florence’s narrow streets, from the Oltrarno to the main cathedral, you’ll find a blend of traditional artisans and innovators reinventing old crafts with a modern twist

If you’re looking for unique and high-quality products to peruse while here, the city’s craftsmen are the place to start. From shoemakers to handcrafted jewelry, here are the best areas for winding through the world of Florence’s talented craftsmen:

Above the river 

From museums to modern workshops, many of the artisanal crafts above the river are the same you’ll find in Florence’s famed museums.

If you’re looking for a fusion of history and sound, head to Jamie Lazzara’s violinmaking shop (via dei Leoni 4r). This master violinmaker and stringed instrument restorer is known for her spectacular handmade violins, instruments not so unlike the Accademia’s timeless wonders. To this end, in 1993 Itzhak Perlman ordered a violin built using the Stradivari “Soli” as a model (1714); the Lazzara copy was played during former President Obama’s inaugural concert in 2009.

For book lovers wandering above the river, don’t miss a visit to Abacus (via de’ Macci 50), a bookbinding laboratory that uses all-natural products to make its paper goodies. Vegetable glue, old-fashioned dyed leather and hand-folded sheets make this shop a true Florentine gem, a workshop that captures the authentic charm that its products exude. Here, you might even be inspired to take home a hand-bound diary as a keepsake of Florence’s artisanal side.  

Another particularly special workshop belongs to master goldsmith Paolo Penko, a true artist of a jeweler who creates one-of-a-kind works produced according to centuries-old traditions of Florentine goldsmithing. Penko is also known for his ormolu reproductions of the fiorino, the former coin of Florence, which make wonderful gifts and signs of good things to come when celebrating a Baptism or other important moments. The workshop is located just a few steps from the Duomo (via F. Zannetti 14/16r).

In the Oltrarno

San Niccolò and other Oltrarno neighborhoods are surely Florence’s most hip and bustling zones.
On your way there, cross Ponte Vecchio for some sparkling eye candy: Cassetti’s jewelry and watch displayFounded in 1926 by Renzo Cassetti, this master silversmith shop has serviced clients as prestigious as the Vatican. After joining her father’s shop, Maria Grazia transformed the family business into an international silver enterprise. Now in its third generation, Cassetti offers handmade products ranging from jewelry to table art and home décor, all embossed, chased and decorated using age-old techniques.

Meander further across the bridge to see Mannina (via de Guidcciardini, 16), one of Florence’s most beautiful shoe shopsFounded in 1953 by Master Calogero Mannina, this gem features handmade shoes of an unmistakable, traditional style, as originality and quality are the shop’s top priorities.
The warm mahogany interior and lavish display beckon you to explore the shop’s exquisite selection of shoes.

Also not to miss is the beautiful Argentiere Pagliai (Borgo S. Jacopo, 41/R), where Paolo Pagliai (now third generation) carries on his family-owned silversmith business. In this silver-engraving workshop, the silversmith and restorer creates one-of-a-kind pieces in a space that mirrors his old-world charm.
The shop is a reference point for antiquarians and collectors all over Italy, as the craftsman’s undeniable talent in metalworking and restoration makes him one of the best of his kind. 

Our tours to discover Oltrarno Artisans:

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Inside the Officina Creativa  

In its glory-filled Medici days, the Oltrarno area was the bustling hub of Florence’s craftsmen – and this swanky part of town is no different today. Across the river, in an area close to the Medici’s old residence, you’ll find the Officina Creativa (via Giano della Bella, 20) housing 20 artisans and their ateliers. Here, don’t miss Lorenzo Galgani’s workshop specialized in glass and crystal working. The father-son pair is renowned for its glass and crystal sanding and engraving techniques; Lorenzo uses ancient traditions as a point of inspiration, making glass-based works of art touched with modern flair

Along these lines, be sure to check out Beatrice Ceramiche Artistiche, a ceramic atelier that welcomes visitors with open arms. After years of professional training around Florence and its surroundings, Beatrice Ceroni learned everything there is to know about the Tuscan ceramic tradition. With this classical base, Beatrice now adds her own style to the craft, creating more modern and contemporary pieces inspired by the whimsical world of Tuscany: airy creations with vibrant and beautiful colors. 

Last but not least, don’t miss Roberta Giannoccaro’s workshop, where Roberta creates timeless micromosaic creations. Roberta developed her love for mosaics through her father, a disciple of the great artist Vincenzo Renzi. Highly influenced by classical art, her dreamlike pieces are unlike anything else, achieving levels of perfection in every detail and color. Stop by her shop for a small taste of Florence’s colorful ceramic world.