Looking for unique gifts that represent Tuscany and all that we love about this region? I am too! Which is why I concocted a somewhat selfish plan of harassing my friends into letting me know their top gift ideas so that my own procrastination doesn’t mean our families won’t get cool presents. Since I was looking for quality not quantity, this year’s lineup of favorites is astonishingly better than ever, quite frankly, these girls have great taste! Don’t forget to have a look at my gift list from last year, which I can still whole-heartedly stand by (especially that wine club membership).

 

Before I forget, I’d like to hear from you in the comments section. What have we missed? I always need tips on what to get family and friends, we have lack of guy-friendly items so thank you in advance!

 

In Tuscany this weekend? Listen up!

In other news, this weekend is going to be fabulous for shoppers who happen to be in Florence. The annual charity Christmas bazaar at Palazzo Corsini “Nataleperfile will kick off on Friday until Sunday (go even to see this beautiful building, it’s stunning!).

 

Next up is the “block party” on via maggio this Saturday December 3rd (afternoon to evening – see flyer below), a street known for its antiquities but which has a more contemporary influence in the past five years. You’ll get to see some of the city’s best shops and the newest opening of my favorite place ever, Betty Soldi’s new location of “& Company Shop” with cool shop Société Anonyme housed in their old location on via maggio 60r.

 

A bit further up is the Christmas pop-up market on December 3-4th at via san gaggio 26 (an easy bus ride from porta romana) hosted by Creative People in Florence together with Zetadistudio featuring some of my favorite local creatives and artisans who will be donating 10% of the proceeds to Norcia’s earthquake victims. Other events and more details can be found in this handy post by La Repubblica Firenze. 

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The “Best Of Tuscany” Gift Roundup!

My own personal shopping list of favorites can be found in this fun bullet list

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shopping_benheart_florence_italy_store

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My lightweight scarf by Elizabeth Orchard. Taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand during our honeymoon. Photo by Flytographer.
My lightweight scarf by Elizabeth Orchard. Taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand during our honeymoon. Photo by Flytographer.
My newest, favorite accessory!
My newest, favorite accessory!

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https://www.instagram.com/p/BNScE9MhSaq/?taken-by=italyalexandra055

From Cookbook Author and Writer Emiko Davies 

 

“Some things that come to mind are food related (of course). Panforte, for example (they’re also great because you can get them in all different sizes, but even a small one is good, and nice ones come all wrapped up in pretty paper).

Otherwise a beautiful handmade knife (Fabio Figus in Piazza Ciompi makes beautiful ones). This is one to give yourself, though — it’s superstitious but they say it’s bad luck to gift sharp/pointy things to loved ones (no brooches either!). The way you get around it is the receiver gives you a coin in return in a symbolic “payment” of the item so it’s not technically a gift 🙂
Or a unique print from the flea market in Piazza Ghiberti. It’s a good one for those on a budget or need to post something overseas as it fits easily in an envelope! — 2 euro for a black and white photo of Florence or one of these prints!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMkK2UVA9O-/

I am also in love with these sought-after, handcrafted wooden boards. They’re made in Montemerano in Maremma by Andrea Brugi and are a bit difficult to get a hold of because of their popularity (and because they’re still handmade there aren’t that many of them around!). But they are distinct, beautiful and practical!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLdWf_lAGih/?taken-by=emikodavies

From Arianna Cini of Km Zero Tours 

“I think that the best item to be chosen as a Christmas gift is a bottle of new extra virgin olive oil. I love it because it is a unique, delicious and special gift that fully embraces and represents our Tuscan culinary tradition and culture. Giving a bottle of new olive oli for Christmas means an invitation to celebrate and to share the unique Tuscan winter ritual of ‘olio nuovo’ with friends and family for the holidays. It is an opportunity to cook together, to relax and to enjoy lots of time, stories and delicious recipes around the table, understanding the real value of simple gestures, recipes and delights.

“Olio Nuovo” when it’s freshly pressed has a unique intense green colour and an amazing fresh, peppery and spicy taste that is usually kept only for a couple of months from the time it is harvested. It is indeeed a special and seasonal treat that should be enjoyed right away, why not at your Christmas table with your loved ones! Our prefered brends are: Pruneti olive oil (mine too!) and Sagittario Impruneta olive oil (we collaborate with both of them also for our tours and activities, this year we had many requests from guests who booked with us an olive oil tour during the harvest time this Fall so I am very glad to see that more and more people are getting interested in the high quality extra virgin olive oil production!

Fresh olive oil during harvest time. Photo credit: Arianna Cini
Fresh olive oil during harvest time. Photo credit: Arianna Cini

Also my friend Valentina Dainelli of TooMuchTuscany blog agrees. “The perfect Tuscan gift is a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Here why for the both of them. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the perfect Tuscan gift because it perfectly represents our food culture; olive oil is a family matter and is a must ingredient in Tuscany cuisine. For me a bottle of extra virgin olive oil means love for tradition.”

Trying new oil at Villa Medicea di Lilliano, photo credit: TooMuchTuscany
Trying new oil at Villa Medicea di Lilliano, photo credit: TooMuchTuscany

From Alice Cheron of French blog AlidiFirenze

The beauty box is my favorite option for christmas as you can mix the awesome florentine beauty brands and receive a sort of best of from every single shop. From 20 to 200 euros, it fits every budget and which woman does not like to receive something that smells good in beautiful packaging?
  • BOX 2 (around 50€) : Erbario Toscano olive oil line, hand & feet creams + Santa Maria Novella Aqua di Rosa + a soap from Aqua Flor (tomato leaf is divine)
  • BOX 3 (around 200€) : Santa Maria Novella Melograno body lotion (favorite perfume of Catherine de Medicis) + Aqua Flor Firenze Belladonna perfume + Shower gel 450 by SS Annunziata Farmacia (special fragrance they did for the 450° birthday of the brand)
For a custom Beauty Box, send an email to Ali atelier@alidifirenze.fr
beauty-box-ali-di-firenze-1

From Creative People in Florence who sent me this badass list of artisan-made gift ideas!!! 

A necklace from Sara:
Anna says: Wearing Sara’s necklaces is so much fun! People stop you on the street to get a closer look–they are true conversation starters!)

Sara says: These long flower necklaces make the perfect gift but if you’re looking to make a statement she’s got that too! Swing by her shop on Via dello Sprone 9/11r and check out the full collection.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ7yBWIApUj/

Shoes from New Kid
Anna says: Who doesn’t need a pair of gold boots? Not only are the styles great, but all their shoes are made in Tuscany with the help of small businesses.

Sara says: The perfect gift for the shoe lover in your life! Their office is located at Via Maggio 15 +39 3314 922 645 – call for an appointment or you can purchase at Bjork on Via dello Sprone.

Photo credit: New Kid "Gold Boots"
Photo credit: New Kid “Gold Boots” 145€


A hat from Super Duper Hats:

Anna says: I’ve never really been into hats until I found these–classic and off-the-wall at the same time. They make their hats here in Tuscany using hats molds that they design themselves as well as ones they find in vintage markets or in old millinery shops. So cool.
Sara says: In 2013 the Brand won “WHO IS ON NEXT?” one of the most important prizes for young designers initiated by Vogue Italia and they have kept up the momentum ever since – featured in top magazines and editorials, they are fun and authentic, hard working, passionate artists who built their brand from the ground up.


A headpiece from Ely B

Anna says: If you want to make a big entrance, this is how to do it. Her work has been featured in major fashion magazines and editorials around the world. She makes everything herself here in Florence. She currently has a collection on sale at Gerard in Via Sassetti 13
Sara says: I’ve been a huge fan of Ely B. since the very beginning, I remember seeing her work years ago in a small market and being incredibly inspired by her designs. It’s so great to see her progression and progress over the years!


A headpiece from Dea Rose Millinery


Anna says: These headbands, bows, and hair pieces are so much fun to wear. Feminine and fun with a little bit vintage thrown in. She’s in Rimini, but she’s a frequent collaborator of Jen’s, who we’re sure you already have on the list!

Sara says: I have one of her turban head pieces and I love it! Not only is it super chic and stylish but it keeps me warm too!

A ceramic serving set or tea cup from Scicc’Art Firenze:

 

Sara says: These gorgeous pieces are handmade in Montelupo and exclusive to Tiziana Salvi’s shop on Via dello Sprone. They are a bright and colorful way to start your day, all handmade and no two exactly alike! There’s no website but you can stop into the shop on Via dello Sprone 11r.

“This may not be quite what you’re looking for, but the new ArtePresente collection is out. It’s a selection of artworks from artists in Italy on sale for very very special prices to encourage art collecting by people who might not otherwise think of buying art.

A somewhat shameless plug (I’m featured on page 13), but I’d jump at the chance to have any of these works on my walls–especially by Pietro Manzo (who we did a studio visit with last year) and RMOGRL8120 (who participated in our event in September at the Giardino dell’Orticultura).”

Photo credit: Forward
Photo credit: Forward
From Denya Pandolfi of Grazieate Blog (in Portuguese) 

 

“Florence is full of places where you can get souvenirs. There are lots of ceramic shops, soap, handmade items. But if I could choose just on I’d picked Pasticceria Migone, such a beautiful candy shop with typical stuff from Tuscany that everyone would love to receive!  They offer tasty and divine gifts. Their packaging is amazing and they reproduce in paper some of the symbols of Florence, like the Duomo and the Giotto’s Campanile. It’s a bit pricey but with very authentic sweets and chocolates.”
I could dive into this window display thank you very much! Photo credit: Denya Pandolfini
I could dive into this window display thank you very much! Photo credit: Denya Pandolfini

 

From Alexandra Korey of ArtTrav 
“I am not a huge fan of traditional artisanship from Tuscany or from anywhere else, but given my latest propensity for wine, I figure you cannot go wrong with a bottle, or better yet a case, of Chianti Classico. In the photo below I’ve got a 2014 annata from Dievole, a winemaker that begun transforming its production process a few years ago in order to best highlight the taste of the Sangiovese grape in this particular terroir. It’s a wine that’s good now but will be even better if you let it rest for a few years. At €14,50 a bottle you can buy a case and spread it out over time.”
The wine that got Alexandra Drinking ;-). Photo credit: Arttrav
The wine that got Alexandra Drinking ;-). Photo credit: Arttrav

From Jen Mascali, Handbag designer in Florence

“My holiday pick is the “ChaCha” bag…For me this style is “bag jewelry”.  The shimmery mix of fringe and chain will add an element of fun and sparkle to your holiday attire. It’s the holiday season and we all need to ChaChaCha!”

Photo credit: Jen Mascali
Photo credit: Jen Mascali

From Coral Sisk of Curious Appetite 

My suggestion is food/booze souvenirs from Enoteca Alessi- they have the most extensive collection in town of spirits, amari, vermouths, wine and also a great selection of coveted culinary gold like gourmet salts, truffle products, balsamic vinegars, artisan chocolates, etc. This would be a perfect shop for those wanting for bring back food souvenirs as well. I have a whole post on food souvenir shopping in Florence.
photo credit: Silvio Palladino
photo credit: Silvio Palladino

From Nardia Plumridge of LostInFlorence 

 

The first thing that comes to my mind is the unique contemporary jewellery at Angela Caputi. I love it; it’s a “signature” buy as a gift which for me reflects the modern artisans of Florence.

Ilaria Costanzo (www.ilariacostanzo.it) /Lost in Florence
Photo credit: Ilaria Costanzo /Lost in Florence
From personal shopper Cristina Ferro 
“One of my favorite traditional Tuscan products is anything in Casentino. I think it’s great because of the many colors, anyway keep in mind that the most iconic ones are orange and the beautiful bright green. A coat could be a gorgeous present, but remember that you can find anything in this amazing historic yarn. Why not searching the perfect gift in the area where it was originally created? Stia is a beautiful area with stunning landscapes and you can find the original Casentino there!”
The perfect green coat. Photo credit: Opifici Casentinesi
The perfect green coat. Photo credit: Opifici Casentinesi

6 Responses

  1. I love this article about Florentine gifts. Where is the fleur de lis ring sold? Thanks!

    1. Haha you picked up on the one thing that isn’t Tuscan! I actually got this gift from my mom back in America (Texas). James Avery I believe 🙂

  2. Omg all of these are so so beautiful – especially those handbags! I wish I had seen them before I left Florence… Ah well it just means that I will have to go back ? Thank you so much for all of your blog posts by the way- I used them so much when I was living there, especially the monthly “what’s on in Florence” ones. They’re amazing! Keep up the good work ??

    http://www.diaryofanexpatgirl.com

  3. Great suggestions. I will surely buy a few of them on my next trip to Italy, Specially those pairs of golden shoes and necklace.

  4. Love your blog. I was in Florence a couple of weeks ago and saw a shop I meant to go into but just didn’t get a chance to get back there. I noted they did international shipping and I took a photo of it but unfortunately cut off the beginning of the name. I am hoping for the slim chance you might know what it is. Sells sumptuous velvet fabrics, cushions, velvet bags, gilt mirrors etc but at very reasonable prices. I don’t suppose it rings any bells with you?
    The name is *aneria *almar (possibly dalmar). Very central if I remember correctly.
    I would hugely appreciate any advice on this.

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