Italy is a country filled with love. You can feel it everywhere — from the detailed stitches in fashion forward Milan all the way to the the sun kissed hazelnuts you’ll discover on menus across Turin. One of the Italian cities where we uncovered the most romance was in Florence at Sikuliana Art Atelier.
It’s no secret we enjoy perusing fantastic shops. Whether we’re testing out the super comfy kitten testicle grey kicks at Atheist Shoes in Berlin or snagging a pair of rad shark high heels at Irregular Choice in London, we have a blast finding unique local boutiques. Sikuliana Art Atelier combines a passion for fashion with a captivating Italian Romeo and Juliet story (in more ways than one).
We were strolling past the antique shops that pepper Via del Moro and Via dei Fossi (Il Cancello is one of our favorite places to stalk vintage pieces), when Sikuliana Art Atelier caught our eye. It was closed, but the brightly colored earrings were beckoning our name, so we swung by the next day.
Marisa Lanzafame and her husband Delfo Torrisi cheerfully greeted us at the door. They’ve been running their shop in Tuscany, which feels a bit more like a home, for five years.
Lanzafame is the talented jeweler who makes the vibrant Sicilian Bijoux line carried in the store. Each piece of jewelry is handmade by a member of the family. It’s Lanzafame’s crochet work (which she learned at a young age from her grandmother in Sicily) that takes center stage in each tiny basket you see. Meanwhile, Lanzafame’s brother who lives back in Catania, painstakingly paints on each image by hand. It takes the siblings about fours days to craft each pair of earrings. Sikuliana Art Atelier also carries a lovely array of bright colored bolsas (bags) which Lanzafame blings out with everything from pompoms to tapestries and door knocker style accessories.
Torrisi helps run the store and the wide array of Sicilian ceramics they have on display. He gleefully filled us in on the story behind the male and female vase heads (known as Teste di Moro) you’ll spy on the shelves.
Legend has it that a young Moor once fell head over heels for a Sicilian girl with one unfortunate caveat. He was already married with kids. When the young woman got wind of his betrayal, and that he was planning on heading home to his family, she took action. In the middle of the night she killed him and turned his head into a vase, so he would be with her forever. Apparently the trend caught on (head shaped vases, not beheadings) and Teste di Moro ceramics became a thing.
Curious about some of the other unique boutiques we’ve discovered around the globe? Here are a few of our favorite fashion finds we’ve found across the planet.
All this talk of young love and beheadings got my little amore (that’s love in Italian) hamster wheel turning. So we asked about Lanzafame and Torrisi’s own love story. The two have been married for 37 years. When we asked them what the secret to a long marriage is, Torrisi responded by saying, “Love.” Lanzafame chimed in and said, “A lot of tolerance… and resistance.” Sounds like a perfect recipe. They went on to tell us that Lanzafame is a recent cancer survivor. Strong, beautiful and talented. We told Torrisi he’s a lucky man and, with tears in his eyes, he said, “I know.”
One of the things we love the most about FoodWaterShoes is that it gives us an excuse to talk to people, so we can hear stories and connect with people who live in the places we visit. Often times those conversations and memories end up being more valuable than anything money can buy. With that being said, if you’re in the market for a head turning souvenir, it’s hard to beat a noggin vase or a pair of crazy cool earrings.
Sikuliana Art Atelier
Address: Via Del Moro 14
50123 Florence, Italy
Hours: Monday Through Saturday 10:00am to 8:30pm (Summer Hours for June, July and August) and Monday Through Sunday 10:00am to 7:30pm (Winter Hours)
Phone: +39 055 213659 (WhatsApp +39 331 3809643)
Pricing (All in Euros): Teste di Moro Head Vases €35.00 to €700.00 and Jewelry €30.00 to €175.00, Purses €65.00 to €450.00
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