Treasure Hunting in Florence
There is an over abundance of treasures to be found in Florence. Breathtaking masterpieces by Michelangelo, such as the iconic statue of David, which is housed at the Academia di Belle Arti di Firenze, the Medici’s Renaissance art collection at the Uffizi Gallery and of course the hand made gold jewelry on display along the Ponte Vecchio, to name just a few.
For me, uncovering treasures in Florence means going beyond the standard masterpieces and finding something magical and unique, that makes your heart sing! In this case the special something was 1920’s porcelain elephant clock. I was passing by a shop window on Via della Scala and stopped dead in my tracks to marvel over the way the elephant in the window seemed to prance, with it’s gilded tusk and ear tips held high and it’s parade worthy blue and white blanket.
So despite the fact we were dead tired from touring Florence for the last 8 hours in 105-degree heat, I rallied and stepped into Antichi Orologi. There we were presented with the timepiece. It was love at first sight. I always did have a thing for elephants!
Running my fingers down it’s finely sculpted body; I just knew I had to have it. My daughter Mallory, who has been known to dissuade me from many an impulse purchase, backed me up on this one. “You’ll just to design a blue and white room around it.” She remarked. Now, that’s my girl for you!
So after a little bit of haggling over the price, the elephant was mine! Every time, I come across it at home it makes me smile! Treasures after all are in the eye of the beholder.
Other treasures to be found in Florence, well more of the cost saving variety, are the Prada outlet outside of the city and the Bottega Giotti store, selling butter soft iconic woven leather bags at a fraction of the cost of the current Bottega Veneta leather ware.
The “Space”outlet, which is often referred to as “Prada heaven”, has a large collection of Prada clothes. Unlike most outlets, the clothes here are artfully presented and it has plenty of staff to help you. The prices are half the price of what they are in the store. Since they only allow 100 people in at a time, it’s probably best to arrive before the 9:30 am opening. (Via Levanella Becorpi/Localita Levenanella, SS. 69, Montevarchi. Tel. 011-39-55-978-94-81. Monday-Saturday 2pm to 7pm and Sunday 2pm to 7pm)
Marie Biagiotti, owner of the Bottega Giotti store, had the Bottega Venata franchise in Florence for several decades. He still owns the leather workshop that continues to produce signature pieces. It’s a great place to go to find well priced world-class leather bags, coats and accessories that look and feel just like those at Bottega Veneta.