You probably know the feeling: you visit a city for a few days and when you leave, you feel the irrepressible desire to buy something that will remind you of the wonderful moments of that trip every time you look at it. But where can you find something authentic? These days, the things that you see in the shops are all the same and mass produced, usually in faraway countries, and they are lacking in soul and true connections to the city you are visiting. Even in a place like Florence with such a rich history, true local craftsmanship is increasingly difficult to find. Without getting suggestions from people who live in the city and have always cultivated a passion for fine furnishings, you may well never find it.

Fortunately, as Giovanna and Beatrice of the Principe Hotel & Apartment tell us, Florence still has authentic artisans, who are still creating traditional Florentine pieces with the techniques of yore; they know them personally. A stand-out among these is Il Bronzetto, whose showroom is in Via Romana 151r, a short way from the hotel, offering a complete selection of unique furnishing accessories, including lamps, tables, door handles, umbrella stands, and decorative objects. 


Il Bronzetto Florence - Francesca Pagliai Photography


The “Florentineness” of their products is ensured first and foremost by the business’s history: Antonio, the father of Simone Calcinai, and the Florentine founder of Il Bronzetto, went to work in the historic workshop of the bronze artist Baldini in Florence when he was only 11 years old. In 1963, when he had become an expert at the craft, he struck out on his own. Simone and his brother followed his footsteps and gave a modern direction to a business whose roots are firmly in the past. 

Il Bronzetto also has a Florentine essence as over the years it has gathered a vast repertoire of models of the various pieces it makes, including by purchasing the models of other Florentine artisans in the field when they closed up shop, thereby “saving” them from oblivion. This is why today its product range draws on an enormous catalog of pieces (over 5,000) that are part of the local artisan tradition, giving it a fresh interpretation. 

The craft techniques are also the same as they ever were: lost wax castings, investment castings, and earth castings. And, just as was done in the past, you can meet in person with the Bronzetto artisans and consider with them any customizations of the objects that have struck your fancy to bring them even more in keeping with the style of your home.

Then you can be sure that the lamp, the mirror, or the table you bought in Florence is really part of a history and has a Florentine soul because you will have seen it and touched it yourself; you will have talked to the artisans who shaped it, you will have used the models of the local tradition and you will know that the piece was crafted using age-old techniques. And this means having a piece of furnishing that brings the real Florence right into your home.


Il Bronzetto Florence - Francesca Pagliai Photography

Il Bronzetto Florence - Francesca Pagliai Photography


Words: Francesca Cosi and Alessandra Repossi

Photographs: Francesca Pagliai