The Florentine tradition of producing artisanal goods has been in existence for centuries and remains one of the cornerstones of Florence's visual and social history, as much as it did in the times of the guilds. Florentine leather workers, silversmiths, shoe manufacturers and hat makers have produced handmade goods for countless generations of kings and queens, princes and noblewomen and continue to this day, mostly in the area known as the Oltrarno ("on the other side of the Arno"). This three-hour walk will explore the private workshops of this characteristic neighborhood, providing a behind the scenes look at the current state of artisan production.
In the workshops: We will begin in the lovely Piazza Santo Spirito and enjoy a stroll through the Oltrarno neighborhood, which has been home to artisans for the last five-hundred years. The neighborhood is virtually carpeted with a maze of these small workshops on tiny side streets, representing some of the most historic enterprises in the city. The group will have the opportunity seeing some of these craftsmen at work; observing their meticulous practices and the tools of their trades.
Tuscan artistry: In the company of our docent, we'll talk about Tuscan artisan traditions and the value and role of work and manufacturing in Italian culture. This walk is very much for the traveler looking to scratch a little more beneath the surface of the city, and is often led by a docent who lives here or grew up here, providing an informed local's point of view. It should not be thought of as a shopping tour, instead, it is an in depth look into the workings of this precious industry and should provide a better understanding of the importance of preserving and promoting this dying art.