There are so many unique stores hidden away in Florence. The good ones sell pieces of art made from the hands of the shopkeepers, the people who have a story behind each piece.
Welcome to &CO, a concept store in Florence
To shop in Florence, you have to wander a bit and hunt down the artisan hands. Last night I had the pleasure of meeting one, Betty Soldi, owner and designer at &CO (and Company) on Via Maggio 60R a block off of Piazza Santo Spirito.
Betty’s an Italian with a proper English upbringing who’s giving the city a jolt of her calligraphy talents. At the age of six, her life changed when her family moved from Valdarno, Tuscany to London. Luckily, she’s back—read this interview she did with The Florentine that shares her story and reasons as to why she returned to Firenze.
Betty calls &CO more of a collaborative think tank as anything can happen. It’s her calligraphy studio with a gorgeous peek into her portfolio of the top brands she’s designed for. &CO is also calligraphy heaven where you can buy the most precious tea cups, tea towels, plates, lamps, candles, chairs, pillows and such with Betty’s calligraphic midas touch.
The items have an antique feel as she’s been know to collect the best vintage finds. It’s the perfect shop for anyone and amazing for gifts—items starting at 5€ and 10€ for a teacup, which I can’t wait to stock up on.
Calligraphy workshops too!
With a massive scarf around my neck, as Autumn is hitting us hard, I stepped into &CO. A bunch of other expats were chatting their way around the store with a glass of wine in hand. Twelve of us lucky ladies soon swapped our wine for an ink pen, dipped the tip in ink and prayed for pretty curves to appear once we began. My “pretty curves” were more like lines suited for a truck driver, but I persisted in my practice.
After tracing over a few of Betty’s own calligraphy masterpieces we were ready to design our own tote bag with massive fabric pens. My tote now speaks the words that are etched in my wedding band while others went for poetry riffs, stars or mottos. It was a fun night with the girls and now a place that I hope to frequent for the perfect gift and girly things for my own home.
*This was a Lost in Florence event, but Betty also offers calligraphy and other design workshops. Find more info about &CO’s store and workshops at bettysoldi.com.
It was a fun night out with old and new friends, what do you think of this shop in Florence?
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