On the other bank of river Arno, between the Ponte Vecchio and Santo Spirito, lays a neighborhood often overlooked by tourists. Its narrow streets and inviting doors keep one of the best secrets in Florence: the Artisan Quarter.
Oltrarno, literally “the other side of the Arno” in Italian, has housed the finest artisan traditions of the city for centuries. In its streets, you will feel the Renaissance leaking through the pores of botteghe and studios. Although many of these workshops are starting to decay due to industrial production and the disinterest of younger generations, the crafters who still work here truly honor art and handmade products—the most beautiful homage to Florence’s legacy.
Our advice for visiting the Artisan Quarter is that you let yourself wander through the streets and breathe this magical atmosphere. Ironworkers, bookbinders, woodworkers, furniture antique shops, jewelries and cafés—everything here is worth taking a look at. However, there are some key checkpoints that you won’t want to miss.
Make sure you pass through Giacomo Giachetti’s workshop, which is stunningly decorated by all of its iron pieces. Also meet the famous Enrico Giannini, whose family has been binding books exquisitely for five generations. The Gianninis were the inventors of the marbled Florentine paper, a true delicacy. Bartolozzi & Maioli still repair wood for celebrities and millionaires, and their work is absolutely gorgeous. Also, if you’re lucky, you’ll have the opportunity to watch Roberto Ugolini and his apprentices working on custom-made leather shoes for men.
After discovering one of the most beautiful spots in the city, we’ll be waiting for you at Il Salviatino, your favorite hotel in Florence!