Pushing the customs limit

We went to Italia for lots of reasons. One was to see sights, of course. Another was to eat great food. But one more was definitely to do a bit of shopping.

Florentines make shoes. They make leather handbags and other leather goods. They make all kind of things. This makes me feel very ashamed of the fact that almost no one in Canada makes shoes. At least some people do make handbags, leather and otherwise, as well as clothes and jewellery and other items. In Italia, however, it seems pretty normal to have goods made there. There are artisan shops everywhere. Here, artisans often struggle to compete with cheap goods imported from low-wage countries. Maybe Italians appreciate quality more than a low price tag? Maybe they buy fewer, better things and keep them longer? I really hope we can get there.

In the meantime, I was happy to take advantage of Italian workmanship. I bought this super cute pair of spring booties, leather with zippers and a stacked leather heel. They were made right in the city. Sweetie and I bought soft leather Italian-made handbags at the Mercato Nuovo, for a good price. She also bought a flowy top and skirt as well as some sandals, locally designed and made.

We also gave a lot of business to a shop that sold tops and hosiery by Philippe Matignon. I thought it was a French company, judging by the name, but apparently it's based in Italia. I don't know where the items are made (failed to check!), but man, the tights I bought are excellent. I love Hue tights, which I get at Hudson's Bay, but these were better, and seem to be more durable. Time will tell. I would love to find more.

It was easy to get inspired to find nice things. We saw a lot of great street style in Firenze, both women and men. And a lot of menswear shops to help the men look better. We saw good style in Roma as well, a bit more businesslike, less edgy. In my mind, Firenze is like Montreal, Roma like New York. I have always loved how Montréalaises create their own style, and we saw a similar thing in Firenze.

One thing was odd, though. We had read that Italians dress for the season, not the weather, and we definitely saw that in Firenze. It wasn't yet all that warm, but even on nice days, a lot of people were still wearing puffy coats and scarves and things that looked quite wintery. It's true that mornings were chilly, but they must have been rather uncomfortable by the time they went home from work. Almost always when we saw people dressed more for the weather, they were tourists. Like us.

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