This holiday gift guide for Italy in 2022 is a labor of love, folks. I originally wrote this post for 2021, but since there are so many awesome Italy gift ideas on this list, I thought I would update the post.
I love making this list because it not only gives me ideas of what to get close friends and family, but it’s also a chance to focus on smaller, more sustainable artisans that deserve our support. The Florence I love is the one that embraces both tradition and contemporary in a homogenous, holistic way so that everyone can appreciate items like the one below for years to come.
Instead of focusing purely on things from Florence (but let’s get real, most things I pick are probably from there by proxy of my knowledge), this is a more concise selection of items that I know anyone who appreciates Italy will appreciate.
Please enjoy this curated roundup, “Best in Italy Gift Guide 2022,” and share if you care; I appreciate it!
For the Person That Appreciates Gifts for the Home
Cecilia Falciai is a young and passionate artisan specializing in scagliola processing on slate or reverse, and commesso fiorentino, both traditional Florentine artistic techniques. After learning the trade from her father, she decided to start her own business, thus carrying forward her family’s tradition and making room for her vision. Her mosaics and art pieces are spectacular and would make the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys this type of craftsmanship. If you get the chance in Florence, visit her studio on Via De’ Macci 25/r Firenze to get a real insider’s look at this intricate way of making art.
You might have seen Jen’s interview on this blog but this Canadian artist has really made a name for herself in the local Florence art scene for her colorful abstract paintings. You can find Florentine themes and not only, and this would make for an excellent gift for someone who needs an iconic piece to brighten up their living room or office with splashes of color.
I am kind of obsessed with anything that depicts Florence in an authentic and non-mass-produced way. So when I first saw Florentine artists Nicole’s work, I was blown away as this is something I would buy for myself or any friend who appreciates illustrations and Italy! Her work features local streets, churches, monuments of Florence, while her husband Giuseppe transforms Nicole’s sketches into interior design objects, prints, postcards.
Emily Cucalon is an Italian-American artist whose works are created through varied printmaking processes. Her work explores the relationships between people, places, and memory and is simply exquisite. I was thrilled to discover her work through the Creative People in Florence community. Her collages often feature Florentine themes, and she has several limited-edition pieces in her online shop.
My friend Lisa of This Tuscan Life is a talented artist (as well as local guide) and her Italian-coffee prints are as delightful as they sound. This espresso themed print would brighten up any coffee-lover’s room and is printed on 25cm x 25cm high-quality paper. Also have a look at her holiday-themed greeting cards, many of which focus on Italy themes.
Alanah is a talented English artist whose work focuses on personalized embroidery featuring all sorts of scenes from Florence. In our own house, we have the street corner by Via dello Sprone where we used to live embodied in one of her beautiful pieces. She loves to create these works of art for people all over the world who experienced that same feeling of ‘home’ when they came to Florence, as well as for people who just love this city, and those who have been lucky enough to get engaged or married here! I especially love this piece featuring a Giambologna masterpiece.
For the Person with Kids
This beautiful toy will help your kids (or yourselves) remember some of Tuscany’s most famous places in one attractive, handmade set by artist Beatrice. The pieces feature the cities of Florence, Siena, Prato, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa, Livorno, Massa, Arezzo, San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, and Grosseto.
Jane Harmen is a talented woodworker based in Tuscany’s countryside who you’ve seen on several gift guides on this blog because, quite frankly, I love her work. I’ve probably bought or gifted most of her Florence churches and wooden puzzles but what I like this year are her animals made from repurposed wood that would make for a great décor item in a kid’s room (and they are affordable!). For those interested in the Florentine monuments made out of wood (cover photo) – please contact Jane here for more info. Or DM her via instagram.
Was Pippo the Fool really Pippo the Genius? The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence was a marvel of art, architecture, and engineering. But it lacked a finishing ornament, a crown–a dome! This book tells the story of the construction of an architectural masterpiece–Brunelleschi’s Dome. Tracey E. Fern depicts Pippo’s prickly personality with humor and warmth, and Pau Estrada’s richly detailed illustrations bring Renaissance Florence to life. You better believe I read this to Annabelle at least once a week and we both share the laughs. A perfect way to bring Firenze into the hearts of your children. You can order it several ways (I linked to the Paperback Exchange in Florence because they are a fab, local bookstore). If you can get away with not ordering from Amazon and supporting your local independent bookshop that would be awesome!
For the Person Who Loves Italian Food & Wine
I can’t imagine a better person than Emiko to come up with curated food and wine based experiences (she’s married to a master sommelier) and especially anything truffle-related since she has an extensive knowledge of San Miniato and calls this lovely village home for a number of years. Her and her husband Marco have really delved into creating one-of-a-kind experiences that invite people to truly learn about Italian food and wine in picturesque settings.
My tip is to book a truffle hunt with her in San Miniato (you can read about the experience here via The Financial Times) or look into their 2023 workshops of which any gourmet guru would heartily appreciate.
As poignantly stated by The New York Times “Come for the Focaccia, Stay for the History.” Liguria the Cookbook, from Laurel Evans, shows the breadth of the Italian region’s cuisine. From local twists on Italian favorites like fritto misto, risotto, and ravioli to lesser-known Ligurian specialties such as corzetti, this cookbook offers readers a personal journey into the heart of the foods of this timeless, yet ever-evolving region. I am in love with this chestnut gnocchi recipe currently.
You guys know how much I love everything from the Tuscan Brand dedicated to sustainability, hiring artisans to create items from durable paper that resembles leather and can be washed. This Chianti-wine-colored cooler is the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates keeping their wine/champagne chilled on the go (I bring this on picnics – make sure to get this too!). This ice cube version is also super cool (pun intended) and easy to pack!
Not all holiday gift boxes that feature food are that exciting, which is why I usually only purchase from places that I know go out of their way to source quality Italian-made products that are hard for me to find myself. Curious Appetite is one of those people you certainly can trust, and this holiday culinary box is a must have for those who appreciate high quality Tuscan extra virgin olive oil and seasonal goodies with an emphasis on Tuscany peppered with specialties like Sicilian pistachios. The box includes a pistachio panettone from artisanal bakers, organic extra virgin olive oil grown and pressed in Fiesole, aged specialty Pienza Pecorino cheese hard to find in the states and more! These boxes come with printed recipes and written fact sheets to explain every bit- like a food tour in a box!
For the Person Who Appreciates Experiences
This is the perfect tour for both the Florence-first-timer to the experienced lifer which is why I had to upgrade this gift list for 2022 in the first place. This unique food and wine tour in Florence with the Curious Appetite Team explores ancient “wine doors” called “buchette”, which are small windows, big enough for wine bottles, carved out on noble palazzi during the Renaissance to sell wine. This tour lasts around three hours and together with a local expert (who boasts an art history and sommelier background) you and your guests will learn about Florentine wine culture, architectural gems, quality Italian wines along with a varied selection of local gourmet foods.
I might be biased but I truly believe Naples to be one of those most interesting places on earth. It’s a bit like an onion that needs the outer layers to be peeled off to truly find out the magic inside. So what better way to do so than by discovering its street art, Baroque architecture, Roman ruins, artists’ studios, culinary delights and more during this three-day odyssey with a true tag team of experts at All Street Napoli. A few of my friends and I plan to organize a Naples trip with them early next year and I implore you to consider the same if you are looking to really discover what makes this city tick.
There are windows, and there is the window to the Duomo. A friend of mine is the genius renter of this space, and one great gift idea is a photo or video shoot at any (or all of) her iconic locations. Book a shoot, and you will have the space for yourself. You can either come with your camera, rent our photography and lighting equipment, or hire one of Danella’s professional photographers and even a hair & makeup team. You can also request props (hats, vintage books/newspapers, etc) and unique setups such as a beautiful breakfast/aperitivo table spread, floral setups, “wake up to the duomo” bed scene, and more. Bonus: Apple, the studio kitty may or may not crash your shots!
For the Person Who Loves Accessories
I love gifts that could be for anyone and while this artisanal leather backpack isn’t cheap, it’s something that would literally last a lifetime. Essentially the real deal when it comes to true, Made in Italy, leather products. I’ve featured the Benheart brand on the blog before and I have a number of items from the shop that have lasted five plus years and counting, something I cherish since Nico and I are trying to buy less, but better quality, items. This bag comes in brown, camel or orange and has the following dimensions: 50cm x 40cm x 20cm.
Sara Amrhein is not only a friend but a very talented artisan based in Florence who specializes in jewelry made out of polymer clay. I love all of her statement pieces, but I’m particular to these floral earrings in hot pink because quite simply, the world, and each of us, could use more color in our life. Stylish and classy, these are the perfect gift for anyone who loves accessories made by hand!
I essentially live for a lightweight cross-body bag, small enough to take everywhere as I am constantly a bag lady due to our toddler. Uashmama bags are always a super win for everyone in my friend group as they are easy to clean, are lightweight, and feature attractive, neutral colors. You can get metallic versions or their woven classic styles, but pick one up for yourself because they last the test of time and this phone bag is a winner for those on the go who don’t want to be weighed down with anything heavier.
Since discovering Stephanie (or Frau Leman) in the backstreets of Florence’s Santo Spirito neighborhood, I have become obsessed with her lovely line of handmade leather keychains, all featuring icons from Italy and Florence (think the Duomo’s Cupola, a Moka espresso pot, the Santo Spirito Church. Anyone who loves Florence would appreciate one of these, especially if they knew this purchase was helping out a local artisan.
Joy Franklin is a fantastic human being whose requisite jewelry is a timeless investment for anyone looking for something precious, but still affordable. These stud earrings are made in 18k gold & emeralds and are available as tiny gold studs, tiny emerald studs, celestial, starburst studs. Joy’s work is inspired by historical ornament and cultural adornment and each piece of jewelry is handcrafted in her studio in the heart of Renaissance Florence using traditional metalsmith techniques with a focus on craftsmanship and sustainability.
For the Person Who is Dedicated to Sustainability
Giving new life to bottles that might otherwise end up in landfills, these (based in Tuscany) recycled drinking glasses are the perfect complement for the conscious, eco-minded consumer. Each glass is hand-made from repurposed wine bottles and is fire-polished and then annealed for a silky-smooth finish. A note on the seller – Casa Ceccatelli is a family affair providing gourmet products since 1890. Serving quality food items using free-range and organic produce and best quality ingredients throughout Italy, creating handmade products using authentic family recipes and artisan traditions.
Ever since moving to Switzerland, I have been very impressed at how recycling is just a way of life in this country. These recycling bags are made from washable paper AGGO® and are portable, reusable, and robust. Perfect for separating plastic, glass, and paper. Each bag has a velcro closure and automatic bottom to clip them so they can stand neatly together.
KRNACH is a brand from Florence (Italy) founded by Amanda Beth Krnach, who takes so-called textile “scraps” and turns them into one-of-a-kind bags in the most sustainable way possible, by hand, and not in mass production. They come in a variety of fun styles and can be personalized too. I especially love this bag in a Burnt orange faux fur mixed with two shades of blue nylon creating a uniquely elegant color combination.
For the Person Who Misses a Taste of Home
Ever since the pandemic began, we have become obsessed with wasting as little food as we can. I also have an obsession with delicious bagels and honestly, whether it is Florence or Switzerland, they are pretty hard to find (the way I like them – NY style). Luckily, The Beehive in Rome has opened an artisanal bagel business that ships everywhere in Italy, and my god, it is ever worth it. Versions include plain, sesame, onion, everything, cinnamon raisin, pumpernickel, and cacio e pepe. If you have a friend who is a little homesick for bagels, get them a dozen or so (or a gift certificate) and they can freeze them to make them last. If you are more local to Rome, don’t miss out on their dill pickles too. Seriously addictive!
For the Person Who Appreciates Self Care
As someone who firmly believes in the concept of self-care (especially now as a new mom), a massage or facial (or any treatment really) is the perfect gift for someone in your life who really could use a break and a little time being pampered. In Florence, I always head to the lovely ladies of Relax Firenze near Piazza della Repubblica. Besides all of the classic favorites, also try a Japanese traditional face massage or Holistic Draining Massage!
There are many reasons to appreciate Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in the center of Florence but I especially love their new day spa with a Roman Bath style theme to escape from the world for a few hours and truly soak in one of the most relaxing places in the center of town. Day Spa access for the Roman Baths is around 50€ per person and we’ve already gifted this experience to several friends who have really needed a little rest and relaxation. Highly recommend and let me know how long you last in the ice room.
For the Person who Loves Italy but Doesn’t Know Where to Start
I recently discovered the artisan subscription box service by Italy in Season and wow, just wow. They really gone out of their way to create a collective box of artisan-made goods that is truly curated and well thought out — think a hand-painted espresso mug or embroidered Tuscany-themed tea towels. Many of the items included are products that I can personally vouch for, yet they have taken the time to make it a really beautiful gift box that can be shipped to your home (or that of a friend) as a one off or as a quarterly subscription option. She has also generously offered to give my readers a 10% discount if you enter GirlinFlorence at the checkout.
For the Person Who Has Everything
What does it mean to be Italian? Is it pausing to enjoy an aperitivo or gelato? A passeggiata down a laneway steeped in history? An August spent tanning at the beach? This book is a celebration of the Italian lifestyle – and education in drinking to savor the moment, traveling indulgently, and cherishing food and culture. A lesson in the dolce far niente: the sweetness of doing nothing. We may not all live in the bel paese, but anyone can learn from the rich tapestry of life on the boot. This is the subject of Maria Pasquale’s second book. She is an Italian-Australian food & travel journalist, author, and Italophile.
I know I’m not the only one who has seen Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, and while I couldn’t last more than a few episodes, I do see the light in the sense that having a more organized home leads to less stress overall. Something I would enjoy is someone to do that for me or at least show me the way (that isn’t simply a Pinterest board, tv show or blog post). I need someone to physically look at my house and show me how to make it easier with the right tools and methods. I know these kinds of services exist worldwide, but you can enlist the help of a professional in Florence for a pretty affordable price.
Speaking of Other Ways to Follow Italy Online – Here are Some Worthy Newsletters/Subscriptions Any Italophile Would Appreciate
When it comes to subscriptions worthy of gifting, here are a few (other than Italy Magazine’s premium subscription) you should know about.
- When it comes to what’s going on in Italy news laid out in a thoughtful, concise manner – Jamie Mackay’s “The Week in Italy” is something I look forward to reading (essentially he asks for 5€ donation a month or the cost of a catch up over espresso).
- For my foodie friends, Jul’s Kitchen is a famous Tuscan blog that I adore. Julia’s recipes and stories are magic in the making, and she also has a subscription-based newsletter sent every Monday when each subscriber receives a new, exclusive recipe (and story). You can opt for a monthly subscription (5$) or for an annual subscription (40$).
- The Florentine is THE English-language news magazine in Florence and they put their literal heart and soul into every issue – they offer both paper and digital subscription options.
Other gift lists
- My friend Alexandra Korey aka ARTTRAV has made this super helpful sustainable gift guide with lovely options to consider, check it out!
- Have a look at my 2020 gift guide as well as my 2019 guide for further tips.
- This gift list by Forbes with an Italy focus doesn’t really support too many smaller brands but I am tempted by the Acqua di Parma Panettone scented candle.