First let me tell you, in all honesty, I had plenty to wear while it Italy – even though I only brought my carry-on suitcase. I know that you never would travel with only a carry-on, but you could…
Now, I did come home with a much larger, fully stuffed suitcase filled with some of the beautiful things I found over there. But, that was always the plan.
Here are a few of my favorite Italian things (many of which came home with me!):
I was very focused on buying one particular item while on the Amalfi Coast. When I traveled to this area almost 20 years ago, I had a pair of braided, gold leather thongs hand-made for me in a little house, high atop the island of Capri.
At some point in the past decade, those shoes disappeared from my closet and I’ve missed them – not only because they were a timeless style, that made me feel oh-so-jet-set-chic, but because they reminded me of that magical trip that I took with my mother and sister.
I knew I wasn’t going to make it back to the mountaintop in Capri, so my first stop when arriving in Positano was another well-known, custom shoe store, Safari Club – a teeny, tiny storefront on Villa Della Tartana, crammed with over 300 styles of sandals.
You choose the sandal style you like, including strap design and heel height, then pick the color and type of leather. Your foot is measured so that the correct leather sole is used, then it’s all handed over to a gentlemen who sits on stool at the entrance. He rapidly ties the leather, punches some holes and hammers it into the sole, you try on the sandal again, to ensure proper fit, and, ecco la, within five minutes you have a beautiful, custom-made shoe.
My nostalgia led me to choose a design similar to the one that I had all those years ago.
I did the rest of my shopping in Florence. I could have stayed in that city for another week – just admiring all the elegant clothing and accessories. The Italians truly have an amazing sense of style. I have to say it – I prefer Italian fashion to French. Mon Dieu.
I don’t know how, but somehow I had forgotten that Italian fashion is intricately tied into leather goods. Duh. Leather was everywhere.
And, of course, shoes.
Don’t let the masses of product fool you into thinking the above goods are cheap. Every thing was so exquisitely produced and styled, it was hard to choose what to buy (that’s why I came home with a second, completely full suitcase). In fact, at the shoe store, shown above, not only do they design and produce their footwear and handbags at their small workshop around the corner from the store, they also hand-pick and tan their own leather (which feels like butter, by the way).
But, my favorite shopping destination was Pucci
As you can see, I did not leave empty-handed.