American in Italy, christmas, expat, italy, tuscany, Uncategorized

5 ideas for a unique Christmas gift from Tuscany

florence italy christmas Picture this scenario – you booked a ticket home to visit family and you want to bring a gift for someone special – parents, ¬†friends, grandparents, your friend Steve, favorite childhood cat ūüėČ but have run out of ideas of what to bring as a ‘typical’ unique item from Tuscany. Yes everyone loves the wine, or the truffle oil, or the colored pasta or the multi-covered scarves from the San Lorenzo markets {big hit in my family}. But you’ve been there, already done that. Welcome to my world –¬†the world of “what to bring” after living in the same city year after year.

The double annoyance for those from the USA is that you can literally get everything in America – I mean everything! You want a snuggie for your shih tzu, well never fear the tv network has you covered! Someone even made a blog about ridiculous christmas presents¬†–¬†¬†really, who the heck needs a “sushi panic game?”

That being said, here is my top 5 list of cool unique gifts from Tuscany to bring home. Please let me know by commenting on the post what  you would recommend, I am sure this is something many are thinking about before making that mad shopping rush before flying home. grazie!

  • A Print from Clet. You probably have seen Clet’s work from around town anytime you slow down at a local stoplight. He’s the guy who cleverly messes with street signs and makes them into contemporary street art. Maybe you happened to see the artificial nose placed on Torre San Niccolo awhile back, that was him! He is well-liked and has a cozy store in the San Niccolo area of Florence –¬†via dell’olmo,8, 50125 Florence, Italy. I recently got a good friend a print from the store that he adored and I think this is a really unique present so he gets my number one vote! The price of the print was under 20 euros and you can get it framed elsewhere. His official FB page is here.

cletprint

 

  • Rose water tonic from the¬†Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella -Via Delle Scala 16, Florence, Italy.¬†My friend Amanda actually got me into this awesome product when she asked me to bring her a bottle from Florence a few years ago. I ended up getting two, one for myself and fell in love with this heavenly scent and classy bottle. I use it as a makeup remover & toner and I love it. It’s the perfect gift for your mother, grandmother, favorite aunt or anyone who appreciates a rose scented item. The price recently increased, from around 9 euros a bottle to I think 11. The Santa Maria Novella pharmacy has a variety of other great gifts such as perfume and special honey gift sets. I definitely recommend checking it out and if you want to learn more about this awesome pharmacy, check out this great article about it¬†here.¬†{I take everyone who visits me to this place}. Munstermann is another historical pharmacy with unique gifts located in nearby Piazza Goldoni.

  • ¬†Giglio Cufflinks.¬†Gigli is the Italian word for “lily flowers” and it also happens to be the symbol for Florence as well. You can ¬†and will see it everyone – from the wall-paper in many palazzi to the Christmas tree in piazza Duomo¬†pictured above, you can’t escape it! I actually think cufflinks are pretty classy {even if I am unsure that t-man even has a shirt that requires them} and this could be an awesome gift for a guy. There are several really nice jewelry stores around Florence, I would avoid the Ponte Vecchio unless you happen to have a lot of money. You are probably going to spend from 60-300 euros on a pair of special cufflinks like these. I found this pair on via angolo and I am sure you can find something similar nearby. Side note – A really amazing jeweler worth noting is Alessandro Dari, whose shop is like a museum, check out his beautiful collections here.

  • Profumo del Chianti –¬†a beautiful Tuscan sea salt infused with herbs and aromas including lavender. This summer {yes if you can believe it spring once existed} we went to Panzano to visit the famous Tuscany butcher Dario Cecchini with our friends. We left fat and happy with this awesome sea salt in tow that we put on everything! On top of steak, salad or even mix it with olive-oil and dip fresh veggies inside. YUM. Everyone will love you, I promise.¬†You can email him directly here.¬†Price depends on the size but shouldn’t be more than around 12 euros.

prfofumodichianti

 

  • An awesome metalwork object from Florentine Giuliano Ricchi¬†whose workshop is located in the heart of the Oltrarno {handicraft mecca in the city}Piazza Santo Spirito, 12¬†. Ring the bell and take a look inside at his amazing work – including pictures frames, boxes, bracelets and other items in silver or brass for very reasonable prices, no more than 30 euros.

picture from Cross Pollinate blog https://www.cross-pollinate.com/blog/571/made-in-italy-handmade-gifts-by-florentine-artisans/

Some other great “made in italy” shops worth mentioning are Paolo Carandini’s beautiful modern-meets-leather items on borgo allegri, Abacus¬†(stationary made in the traditional Florentine way) & Francesco da Firenze shoe-maker on via santo spirito. I bought a pair of leather sandals earlier this year that I love, love, love. Also there is a temporary christmas shop of handmade goods by young designers and artists located on via de macci 81/r {Piazza sant’ambrogio area} called ‘Bazart’. It will be open until December 23rd and they are offering hot tea to customers :-). A very cool way to support locals! The facebook link is here.

*The Florentine last year wrote an article that included the rose-water I mentioned above and some other cool ideas for presents, so you can check this as an additional ‘gift’ reference.

Happy shopping and don’t forget to treat yourself to a little something – Babbo Natale would approve ūüôā

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0 Comment

  1. Kirsteen
    08.12.2012 at 12:08

    Oooh handy post! Here’s my tip: on Via del Parione there’s this tiny little workshop where the woman makes handmade wooden Pinocchios (amongst other things), painted in various colours, with a spring for hanging in a child’s bedroom. They’re not expensive (maybe around Euro 10-12? I can’t remember), but most of the children in my life have been given one for their Christmas at some point – I think they make a great Florentine gift ūüôā

    1. ggnitaly84
      08.12.2012 at 12:11

      that’s an absolutely great tip, grazie! I always give kids Pinocchios as well, who doesn’t love him ūüėČ

  2. Tiana Kai (@TianaKaiMiami)
    08.12.2012 at 14:47

    Great job on these… I usually hate ‘gift lists’ because they are all the same, so thank you for NOT including Chianti or dried cinghiale.

    The Florentine’s list is pretty cool too. I find it funny that they included Marvins toothpaste. I can’t get enough of it myself. It’s all over La Nonna’s house, I guess she’s a hipster too.

    Besides stationary, I love the fake Florentine ceralacca stickers they sell at Papiro or wherever else. I used them for Thank You cards for my wedding. I used real ceralacca for the post-wedding Announcements for all our friends and family friends, but the stickers are pretty too.

    1. ggnitaly84
      08.12.2012 at 16:44

      Thanks Tiana! I hate ‘tuscany’ gift lists that include stuff that anyone would know ;-). Thanks so much for your tips! I love stationary stores..

  3. rachel
    08.12.2012 at 18:23

    great post!!!

    1. ggnitaly84
      09.12.2012 at 1:05

      thank you Rachel ūüôā

  4. Gil
    09.12.2012 at 0:47

    We really enjoyed doing business with Baroni Alimentari is a great place to shop inside San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale. We purchased plenty of things that we wanted to take back to the USA after our vacation. We explained that we didn’t really want to carry all the extra weight around Italy. They shipped our goods to our home via Mail Boxes Etc as our son was home to accept the package. The only downside was that he did a good job on the cinghiali sausage before we got home. At least one of the nice ladies spoke English.

    1. ggnitaly84
      09.12.2012 at 1:04

      thanks! that’s a great tip!

  5. Gillian
    05.12.2013 at 10:24

    Fantastic post! I want one of everything. For myself ūüôā

    1. ggnitaly84
      05.12.2013 at 17:55

      same here gillian!