Full immersion Tour: Italy in 4 days !

I know this may seem crazy but if you are going to visit Europe and only have 4 days to stay in Italy, this may help you focus on the main attractions of 4 important and really different cities.

1st DAY: ROME

Let’s start our short-trip from Rome, I decided to start from here because most of the international flights arrive here and also because Rome is the Capital of Italy.
Rome is really really hard to visit in only one day but we assure you that also lots of Italian people have never visited the whole city or went more than just once to see it better.
The first thing to see is, without any doubt, the COLOSSEUM that doesn’t even have to be described, followed by the FORUM and after that taking the “Caesar Shuffle” to visit the PANTHEON.


(Colosseo – pic credit: www.esnroma3.com)

After all this you have 2 choices: to visit the VATICAN MUSEUMS or continue your trip visiting the city centre. If you only have one day we assure you that it is quite impossible to see both the Vatican and other sights because there are loads of people visiting everything during all the year.
The FONTANA DI TREVI is also a breath-taking monument to see and from here you can walk through the streets and see the Spanish Steps and at the end of your walk you can take a break and have dinner in the atmospheric CAMPO DE’ FIORI Square.


(Fontana di Trevi – pic credit: http://www.bestwallsite.com)

2nd DAY: FLORENCE

You can never go to Italy without stopping in Florence: the cradle of the Reinassance.
The nice thing about the historical centre of Florence is that you can see it all on foot. You will find out that all the main sights are all situated in a restricted area because of the dimensions of the old walls of the city.
The first thing to see is the PIAZZA DUOMO. Starting from here you will see an explosion of architectural masterpieces: the Brunelleschi’s CUPOLONE of the Dome and the Giotto’s CAMPANILE (bell tower), from the tower you can admire a wonderful view of the city.


(The Dome – pic credits: www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/diari-di-viaggio/2013/01/18/splendidi-scorci-di-toscana-le-foto-di-guido-andreoni/duomo)

From here you can walk to the PALAZZO VECCHIO and visit the UFFIZI GALLERY (it is recommended to book the tickets before going, otherwise it will be really hard to get in).
Another place to see in Florence is PONTE VECCHIO, characteristic and full of world famous gold shops.


(Ponte Vecchio – pic credits: http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/site/en/highlights/Ponte-Vecchio)

You cannot go to Florence without admiring the work of leather artisans: take a bus or a taxi to South Florence (it takes only 10-15 mins from Florence to arrive) and visit Piero Tucci’s Leather Factory.
The Factory was founded in 1972 and here you can visit the factory and see the artisans creating wonderful leather goods and touch with your hands real leather! After the visit you can browse in the showroom and shop choosing from luxurious international and Italian brands or a hand crafted item created in the factory.
If you don’t have enough space in your suitcase or don’t want to travel with too many bags, Piero Tucci offers a great alternative: the possibility to order online the goods you like (you can also decide to customize a leather good with a Monogram!)


(Artisan Galli – pic credits: https://www.discovertuscany.com/typical-products-of-tuscany/leather-making.html)

After shopping you can have dinner in the restaurant next to the Shop, where you can taste typical Italian dishes or Asian cuisine.

3rd DAY: MILAN

Milan is really different from the two cities above, it is a busy and elegant metropolis, but in a beautiful Italian way.
One of the main attractions is the magnificent Gothic style DUOMO DI MILANO, beside the Dome you can have a walk in the GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE II, one of the worlds oldest shopping malls.


(Duomo di Milano – pic credits: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/728519506778914817)

Walking through the gallery you will arrive in the PIAZZA DELLA SCALA, here you can visit the opera house TEATRO ALLA SCALA where the best opera singers and ballet dancers have performed their shows.
If you are interested in art & museums you can continue your tour visiting the POLDI PEZZOLI MUSEUM with Michelangelo, Botticelli and many other Masters of arts.
Just in front of the Dome you can find VIA TORINO: here you can see two of the oldest churches of Milan SAN LORENZO and SANT’AMBROGIO.
From the Dome Square you can decide whether to take the underground’s “Red Line” to go to the SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE and see the LAST SUPPER by Leonardo Da Vinci (also for this attraction, make sure to book your visit well in advance.


(Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper – pic credits: http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/export/MiBAC/sito-MiBAC/Contenuti/MibacUnif/Eventi/visualizza_asset.html_626310122.html)

4th DAY: VENICE

The best way to reach Venice, in our opinion, is by train (because the train station is already in the heart of the city centre) but also going with the car or bus has its good points: you can take a characteristic TRAGHETTO or VAPORETTO (water bus) to reach the centre via water.
The most breath-taking place is without any doubt is the PIAZZA SAN MARCO with its beautiful view and the magnificent BASILICA DI SAN MARCO and its Romanesque & Byzantine architecture.


(Basilica di San Marco – pic credits: http://www.artesanalli.com.br/noticias.php?Tema=Cultura%20Italiana)

From the square you can walk to the DOGE’S PALACE (also known as the “wedding cake”) a really stunning building covered in pink Verona’s marble and Istrian limestone.
Another place to visit is the PONTE DEI SOSPIRI a bridge where the prisoners had to walk on to go from the interrogation room to the prisons.
What we really love about Venice is to walk through the small streets and bridges to reach different points of the city, and from one of the bridges you can hop on a typical GONDOLA and let the GONDOLIERE carry you through the canals. (Recently we discovered a really innovative and great service, where you can book a Gondola trip for persons with disabilities / wheelchair users by ONLUS, called project “Gondolas4all“)
An unmissable place is the PONTE DI RIALTO along the CANAL GRANDE, the most important Bridge in Venice.


(Rialto’s Bridge with Gondole – pic credits: http://www.regioni-italiane.com/ponte-di-rialto-venezia.htm)

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Monograms

What is a Monogram?

A Monogram is a design that incorporates letters in the same place; these letters can be classic or with specific design as artworks or surrounded with borders.
A Monogram can be a single letter, usually the initial of a name, two or more letters.
Usually is used to decorate an object to transform it in a stylish and personal one.

History: When is Monogram born?

First Monograms appeared in the early 350 B.C. in Greece.
Monograms were mostly used on coins and every Greek city used to monogram the first two letters of the city name to recognize the money.

This kind of personalisation is also used by artists and craftsmen to sign paintings, sculptures since centuries as a sort of copyright and quality brand.

When and how can I use a Monogram?

Monograms are mostly used to personalize gifts or personal objects, but also by artist to sign their works.

Usually for personalization the mosty used letters are:

-Single letter of the First Name
-Two letters: 1st letter of the surname, 1st letter of the First Name
-Three letters: 1st letter of the First name, 1st letter of the surname, 1st letter of the middle name

Monogram for couples:

-Two Letters: 1st letter of the name of the woman, 1st letter of the name of the man
– Three letters: (Married couples may also create three-letter monograms incorporating the initial of their shared surname) 1st letter of the first name of the woman, 1st letter of their shared surname, 1st letter of the first name of the man
-Four letters: in some cases couple may decide to use both 1st letters of their name and surname.

Some people like also to write a short phrase or slogan on a gift or a personal object.

Leather and Monograms

As wrote before, artisans usually use monograms to sign their works or to put a brand/logo on a produced good.
The most interesting part of all this is that some factories let the customers choose to monogram with initials or some phrases they like a product.
Piero Tucci Leather Factory has the monogram machine for leather and you can customise your goods (bags, wallets, jackets) with your initials or a maximum 12 letters phrase.

a Monogram Machine:

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New Designer Handbags

Pierotucci leather factory launched a new limited edition for Summer 2015 in woven leather which is among one of the top Italian trends. You can choose more classic design in unicolore or more trendy look with bi colore combination. Click the image to check!

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What do you know about Florentine craftsmanship?

stone-craftwork

The modern image of Florence is characterized by the presence of so-called handicraft “Bottega”? Originally the word “bottega” meant a place where professional craftsmen and women sewed clothes to order using traditional techniques. The widespread popularity of “bottegi” increased in the 19th century, when Florence became one of the main tourist destinations in Europe perpetrated by members of aristocratic families. Craft workshops, in contrast to industrial companies, remained committed to traditional techniques and tools used for working on metal, wood, glass or other materials. In “bottegah” every individual product that is created, embodies the ideals of the Renaissance, which has remained one of the most important influences in Florentine history. After Florence experienced a deep economic crisis after the 18th century and the Napoleonic conquests, it began to actively use its historical relationship with a great past, creating magnificent works of art in the Renaissance style in marble, bronze, wood, ceramics, iron, leather and fabrics. In Santa Croce and the area of Oltrano, the first craft shops and antique shops were established that implemented the objects that embody the high and refined style of the Florentine aristocracy. However, by the end of the 20th century, tourism has evolved from the privileged classes and the mass production of inexpensive souvenirs replaced the workshops of handmade goods. Consequently, the business of these small workshops suffered badly. The catastrophic flood in 1966 also caused considerable damage to many “bottegi” and were forced to close. But on a happier note, one can still find the small craft shops specialising in traditional art.

Texture manufactures:

Antico Sete Fiorentino, via Bartolini 4. Opened in 1796, produces thin cloth on ancient designs from historical archives.

Tessitura di Rovezzano, via Aretina 507. Est. since 1948, producing flax and cotton fabrics for residences from his own sketches of liberty and deco style.

pierotucci-leather-factoryLeather artisans:

Pierotucci, via Lungo L’Ema 17. Established since 1972, produces classic leather bags and accessories using traditional techniques.

Scuola del cuoio, piazza di S.Croce 16. Effective from 1950. Full production cycle of skin and leather products.

Theatrical Costumes and Accessories:

Flistrucchi, Via Verdi 9. Produce wigs, hairpieces and makeup for the theater.

Sartoria teatrale fiorentina, piazza del Duomo 2. Produces historical costumes.

traversari-stone-mosaics

Masters of Stone:

Fratelli Traversari. Creates pictures from Florentine stone mosaic.

Fratelli Berti, via Turri 48. Produce countertops, panels for cabinets, vases and boxes of soft and hard stones.

Pharmaceutical shops:

Officina farmaceutica di S. Maria Novella, via della Scala 16. Valid from the 16th century, it sells spices, liqueurs, soaps, balms, made according to old recipes.

Alessandro Bizzari, via della Condotta 32 rosso. Established since 1842, creating herbs, spices and medicines.

craftwork

Pottery and porcelain:

Manifattura di porcellane Richard Ginori, viale Giulio Cesare 50. Historical manufacturer for the production of forforovyh products. This historical collection is exhibited in the museum, via Pratese 31.

Manetti e Masini, via Bronzino 125. Established since 1925, is engaged in the restoration and reproduction of decorative ceramics and majolica of different types and styles.

wood-restauro

Masters of wood:

Fratelli Vini, piazza S.Spirito 5 rosso. Established since 1887, carvings in soft wood using traditional techniques.

Bartolozzi e Maioli, via Maggio 13 rosso. Established since 1937, wood carving with ancient models.

glass craftwork

Masters of Glass:

Locchi moleria vetro, via Burchiello 10. Estblished since the end of the 19th century, restoration and reproduced bottles, vials, glasses, carafes of glass and crystal, engraved and faceted.

Guido Polloni, via Fra Giovanni Angelico 71. Restoration and reproduction of stained glass.

Masters of bronze:

Ubaldo Baldinini, via Palazzuolo 105 rosso. Effective from 1920, producing handles, valves, keys, friezes and other decorative items made of bronze.

Luciano Ugolini, via del Presto di S. Martino 23 rosso. Established since 1950, producing amphorae, vases, bowls of copper and bronze on models of different artistic styles.

gold-craftwork

Masters of gold and silver:

Giovanni Manetti, Borgo San Jacopo 41 rosso. Traditional family of jewelers, manufacturing classic Florentine jewelry.

Paolo Pagliai, Borgo S.Jacopo 41 rosso. Reproduction of typical cutlery silver from the 18th century.

papiro-shop

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The tradition of leather craft in Florence

12670723_10154169043828086_103929636544308249_nThe art of leather has been practiced in Florence since the Middle Ages and The Leather Guild was one of the main Guilds playing an important role in governing the Florentine Republic. From raw skins that were mostly imported from northern Europe and the Orient, the craftsmen produced fine clothing through special tanning and other subsequent processes. This craft has acquired international importance, when Catherine de Medici with her dowry brought to France leather accessories made by Florentine artisans, which immediately gained wide popularity. Pierotucci continues to respect the traditions of leather production: http://www.pierotucci.com/en

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The Leather art coat of arms

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5 tips on recognizing genuine from fake leather

Many tourists visiting Florence are constantly asking “Where can we buy leather goods in Florence?” For centuries, Florence has been the most important region in Italy for leather goods, and depending on your personal preferences, you can choose so many different types of leather goods using different qualities, textures and finishes of leather.

4617a01debcc540060e09cfa8114c467If price is not an issue and you want something special and of good quality, you could go in the city center on Via Tornabuoni, Via Strozzi or Via Roma, where you will find famous brand shops where you can buy original designer leather goods. Obviously, we like to think the high end designer brands will be using genuine leather of very high quality.

6e4b5ed8ac746ccd6e80fc730b83dae8If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you could go to the leather markets, most famous of which is the San Lorenzo or Mercato dell Porcellino near Piazza della Signoria. The leather goods are not as expensive but not always of good quality.

If you want to find the middle solution between price and quality you can find some local leather shops around the city.

toscanella-leather-wallet-production - CopiaPurchasing leather merchandise where the quality is guaranteed and the production is 100% Italian, you could visit a leather factory, where you can observe how leather bags and leather accessories are made by experienced craftsmen and women.

But another important factor when you purchase a leather bag, leather jacket or leather shoes is to understand if the product is made from real or artificial leather. Here we will give you some tips on how you can recognize genuine leather from fake leather:

1. Smell: Genuine leather has a light natural smell. Fake leather usually has a strong smell of plastic or chemicals.

2. Warmth: Genuine leather transforms human warmth, while fake leather does not. So, if you hold a piece of genuine leather in your hand it gets warm.

3. The look: If you look carefully at genuine leather, it has an unique pattern. Fake leather has a repeated pattern. But be careful, because here you can confuse a fake leather with a genuine printed leather which has an homogeneous pattern.

4. By touch: If you touch genuine leather, it should be soft and elastic. If you stretch or bend it, it should easily return to its natural form. With fake leather the folds could remain or it could lose its color in the place where it is bent. The reverse side of genuine leather is velvety, whereas on fake leather it is smooth.

5. Fire resistance: If you hold a lighter near genuine leather it will gradually shrink and emit a smell similar to the smell of smoked chicken. When a lighter is held next to fake leather, it will usually react like a burned plastic bottle emitting an acrid smell and releasing black smoke. But some of the genuine leather products are covered with special coating that could react in the same way. So be careful doing this experiment in order not to spoil your leather bag or jacket.

6. Water: Genuine leather absorbs water and some spots of a darker tone usually remain. Fake leather does not absorb water, so it would just roll off.

So, following this simple guide lines you can easily recognize genuine leather from fake leather.

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Fighting some Winter Grays

Fight winter grays with a bit of color from some special Italian designers….nothing is an easier “pick-me-up” than going shopping and mixing lots of bright colors in the bag … like whimsical purple, sweet oranges, hot red, icy blue  and bright green and warm it all up with saffron yellow!
I love color

 

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