I just got back from a month-long trip to Europe, and Florence was the 6th city on our itinerary. Each member of the family chose a city to visit, and this was my sister’s pick. To be honest, all that I planned to do here was shop at the outlet stores. I don’t know if it was because of the fact that I had very little expectation of this city that it surprised me the most.
Of course, there is the famous Duomo, that stands out among the city’s skyline. The photo above was actually taken at the top of Fiesole, a town right outside Florence.
Marble inlay, marble carvings, built in the 1200’s. Commanding both from far away and up close.
Walked by the Arno River near our hotel on our first day, and of course, had to try the gelato! This was one of the best I had, from Gelateria Lungarno.
In Florence, they put the arch in architecture ;P
There’s a dude that plays with Florence’s street signs: Clet Abraham. He adds stickers and makes stories out of the street signs. Here are a bunch of his vandalised No Entry signs that I came across.
Dotted doors and horse head door handles. Never a lack of texture in this city. I fell in love with all the detail!
While researching for notable craft shops to visit in the city, I first went to a couple of their most popular paper stores: Il Papiro and Johnsons & Relatives. Bought some souvenirs — I just couldn’t resist the metal leaf details on the notecards and wrapping paper!
Initially, I didn’t think I would be able to relate to this city. But how could I have not put two and two together?! Of course this would be a country in love with typography–it isn’t named a ROMAN typeface for nothing! On our second day, I made it a point to take notice of the city’s typography.
I read from some travel guide that the best place to check out the typography in a city is to visit their cemeteries. (Yikes!) But there in Santa Croce, an old church where Michaelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei (to name a few) are buried, I spotted some amazing roman & gothic calligraphy, not just written, but carved & laid in marble!!
There’s a leather school right next to the church, and you can purchase some of the students’ works there. Their products are really well-made and reasonably priced.
We stumbled upon a type-splashed gelateria. I had another scoop of my fave pistachio-flavored gelato.
At Mercato Centrale, chalkboards are filled up with handwritten letters.
By the way, the truffle veggie burger in this kiosk is a must-try.
Now, if you pay attention to all the details, you’ll spot beautiful letters everywhere. A building directory displays its tenants’ names in elegant scripts and serifs.
More arches on doorways, with cut glass and flourished letters for the local drugstores.
We went up the natural farmacia of Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte (right across Michaelangelo’s point) to buy some oils. The abbey’s exterior was covered with white flowers!
You can find more of my #LABtraveldiary on Instagram @lifeafterbreakfastph 🙂
We spent many hours exploring the city center, and I went inside all the stationery stores that I saw. Paper is what they use to attract the tourists, but sift deeper into the stores, and it’s CALLIGRAPHY HEAVEN.
Among all the shops I visited, here are the best ones for me — a.k.a. where I went shopping 😛
Cartiglio sells handmade leather journals and unique wooden fountain pens.
Cartiglio – Via del Proconsolo, 63/R, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Signum carries a wide range of wax seals, calligraphy ink, glass pens, and nib sets.
Signum – Lungarno Archibusieri, 14r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
My favorite shop was Lo Scrittoio. Got a bunch of vintage nibs from here. Very nice and helpful owner, as well!
Lo Scrittoio – Via Nazionale, 126, 50123 Firenze, Italy
Here’s part of my calligraphy loot: Fabriano lettering pad, vintage nibs, glass ink well, wooden calligraphy pen, pen stand, and a practice book.
Can’t wait to play with these nibs!