As life slowly returns to normal, the Artisan Quarter Association founders and its members are breathing a sigh of relief to have met our primary goal of ensuring all our members’ bottegas survived the pandemic. It has been a group effort and everyone in the association has contributed to its success. We are excited to enter the next phase of our development plan.
The reopening of Florence is an opportunity to educate and enlighten guests in our city. The last 16 months have had a profound effect on how we view aspects of our lives. Forced introspection and the reassessment of values and priorities have led to new curiosity and a search for meaning and substance. These in turn lead to higher ideals and an appreciation of uniqueness and quality.
Offering a genuine artisanal experience and access to one-of-a-kind products are what we are passionate about at the Artisan Quarter Association. We recognize an increased number of discerning clients wanting quality original pieces and a move away from mass-produced merchandise. A great number of visitors to Florence do not realize that many beautiful handcrafted works are surprisingly affordable, especially in light of their exceptional quality, and can be had for a little more than an overpriced trinket.
Affordable treasures: all of the pieces shown are priced under 200 euro
In the coming months we will be focused on educating visitors on the benefits of seeking out the work artisans in the Oltrarno undertake in their bottegas, and the rich reward of finding a treasured souvenir that will last a lifetime. To this end, we have created the first map (to our knowledge) of where to find individual bottegas in the Oltrarno.
We’ll also be focused on connecting our artisans with those who want to learn craftsmanship from a master of their trade. Whether it be leatherworking, restoration, metalsmithing or jewelry design, a one-on-one class is the best way to learn skills that can be honed for years. As a leatherworking student myself, the time I’ve spent in the Oltrarno learning under my patient instructor Alicia Roca has been a most rewarding and creative endeavor in furthering a much-loved pursuit.
We hope readers of The Florentine will help us bring momentum to the changing tide of travel consumerism. It benefits our community, culture and way of life. Preserving traditions and supporting local business will help maintain and protect the essence of Florence. There will be no better time or opportunity than in the months that lie ahead.
The artisan bottega map and information on all of our members can be found at artisanquarter.com. For information on courses and classwork, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Artisan Quarter Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving art and culture in the Oltrarno district of Florence. Donations can be made via our GoFundMe page.