Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 27, 2021

Artisans in Florence

Italy has around 784,000 family businesses, more than 85% of the total number of businesses in Italy. They provide 70% of employment in the country. Most of the businesses are totally managed by family members.

I am particularly interested in the small artisan shops tucked away in corners all over Italy, probably because I ran my own tiny business for many years. I designed and made most of the clothes in my shop and I was there every day to sell them. I can appreciate the work involved in hand made pieces and the effort required to be a sole trader. My fashion past

I was therefore delighted to be invited to visit some of the artisan shops in the Oltrano area in Florence that are part of a new venture called  In Bottega.

In Bottega is an organisation to help artisans reach clients. Most artisans are passionately involved in creating their pieces and don’t always have the time or the skills to market their products. By joining forces under one umbrella, connecting with clients all over the world will be possible.

With a group of friends I met Giovanna Bruno, a driving force behind In Bottega. She and her husband have MonnaLuna, a stunning jewellery shop in Strucciolo de’ Pitti, close to the Pitti Palace.


As well as showing us her beautiful jewellery and workshop where the jewellery is made, she introduced us to the concept of In Bottega and kindly took us to meet some of the artisans at work.

The first one we met was Alessio Petrachi, who has a soft furnishing shop opposite Giovanna. He does exquisite upholstery work, makes curtains and using the same furnishing fabrics, makes appliqué cushions. The Florentine lily, iconic buildings and things Italian feature in the appliqué work.


In the same street is the workshop of Pitti Mosaici. Here the brilliant artists create Pietra Dura, smooth mosaics that resemble paintings, an almost lost Florentine Renaissance craft. We saw the raw materials used to make the art pieces and the skilled men at work.


We watched as an artist cut the stone by hand using a wire cutter.

Another man was working on a portrait of a beloved pet cat, a special commission.

While another worked on a floral mosaic.

Later we went to visit their shop directly opposite Palazzo Pitti.


Our next stop was a jewellery shop in Via Maggio 71/r, called Extremida, run by a delightful couple, Debora and Flavio. They work together to create each hand crafted piece in their shop.



In Via Parione 35/r is the wonderful paper shop of Alberto Cozzi and family. We went to a smaller shop nearby to see the process of paper marbling.  Instagram…albertocozzifirenze


A family member showed us the amazing technique of paper marbling. We watched as paint was flicked onto a shallow pool and gradually blended. The paper is then carefully laid on top and just as carefully lifted off to reveal the pattern.

is a tiny hole in the wall in Via del Campuccio 46/r where Walter Morgante hand makes exquisite handbags, wallets and backpacks in leather. No sewing machines are used, everything is made completely by hand. His co-worker was there to show us this amazing work. Instagram…mortegan2015

We were not able to meet two other artisans perhaps another time.

Be Giuls…Luxury Handmade Clothing…

La Confetteria Firenze

In Bottega is an excellent idea. Artisans need to be supported. These skills need to be treasured. The best way to keep these skilled people in business is to support them by buying their wonderful products. I have spotted several things that need to come home with me. Many of these pieces can be made to order so you get exactly what you want. Thank you Giovanna and Andrina for introducing us to these delightful artisans. We were made to feel welcome wherever we went.

Here are links to In Bottega. There are short videos of some of the shops we visited, with more to come.


Simone Catelani and Andrea Brill…Instagram…firenzeprimaedopo


  1. How fascinating and fabulous Deb – would have been difficult to keep your wallet closed !!!

    • It was wonderful! I will be going back soon to make my purchases. We didn’t have a lot of time on the day.

  2. A fabulous collection of artisans…..wonderful .

    • There are so many wonderful artisans in Florence. It was fun to meet some of them.

  3. What an amazing group of artisans creating their art and craft. Some fabulous pieces I would imagine might be coming home with you. Great post Deb.

    • On my next visit to Florence there will definitely be some purchases!

  4. A marvelous collection of artisan work. I love the jewelry!

    • Me too! I look forward to a return visit.

  5. What a fabulous day you must have had visiting these and seeing artisans at work. Everything looked wonderful & would be hard to resist making purchases.

    • It was a fun day. I will be back in Florence soon.

  6. Wow that’s such a high percentage of family owned businesses. I wonder how other countries compare. All of that artisan skill passed onto other generations is wonderful.

    • 66% of family businesses in Italy are totally managed by family. 26% in France and 10% in UK.

  7. The Cozzi store is amazing! I framed the paper I bought there and it makes my heart smile every time I look at it! Thank you for showcasing his art!

    • The paper printing process is incredible. I can understand why your beautiful paper would make you happy.

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