If I had to recommend a single traditional craft to bring home from Florence, Italy, it would be one of the ornate, gilded woodcrafts that fills the dusty workshops of the Oltrarno district. You won’t find anything more authentic and unique in this city full of souvenirs.
Everyone knows that Florence is famous for painting, and it’s no wonder that frame-making has been a big business for Florence for centuries. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Florentine woodworkers lavished gold leaf on everything from altarpieces to jewelry and frames. Today, the art of gilding wood remains highly prized.
Some wood masters specialize in details, hand-crafted wooden adornments for furniture and decor: scrolls, sconces, finials, animal feet, drawer pulls, and doodads of every shape and size. Some are gilded, some painted, some raw wood. In any form, the displays tucked into these Old-World workshops are a feast for the eyes.