I have been in Florence for a while recently, and that's why I know that the inauguration of the first Italian shop of the Swedish brand and factory Maria Maruschka took place yesterday.
While the city is undertaking an effort to transform itself into a more plausible Capital of Renaissance's Arts, as well as a cosiest place to live for its numerous international citizens, it was a happy surprise to see that also the magnificent San Frediano neighborhood, traditionally inhabited by artists and crafters, is slowly coming back to life, after years of roadworks and all kinds of endless repairs.
I can't say if as a cause or as a consequence, but a lot of interesting realities are popping up in there.
They are all worth to be discovered of course, while the one I liked the most is the Swedish boutique, probably because it has been established in a well known, traditional “fondo”: at the 13/red of via Santa Monaca, just off via d'Ardiglione.
If you don't know yet this small, lively group of tiny streets connecting the two southern quarters of the old city, I highly recommend at least a visit. Anyway, via Santa Monaca is the last section of the street which connects Piazza Santo Spirito to Piazza del Carmine, and the main entrance of the new shop faces exactly the church of Santa Monica- whose name's wrong transliteration is the reason of the weird appellation of the street (“S. Monaca” means literally “Saint Nun”).
The old space has been completely renewed, but without unacceptable compromises with respect to the original structure. Starting from the pre-existing layout, typical of the traditional “bottega” (shop, work-lab and stock room), the “fondo” has been collapsed into a single spacious showroom.
In order to do that, the architect had to partially remove a wall, but has also gently used its remaining parts to arrange the fitting cabins.
Details are even more gracious, such as the ancient river stones, which have been restored and, where possible, left exposed. So, basically, the place is now finally luminous and consequently the exposition of the goods more enjoyable.
The owner is a wonderful Swedish woman in her thirties, who, being partner of an italian guy and now mother of a super-blonde, little mediterranean viking, decided to move to Florence. She is one of the many foreign entrepreneurs who have chosen our town to start a new life, and there's nothing that makes me more proud as florentine.
She's going to offer you a mysterious Swedish candy “to break the ice” and I'm sure you'll love to chat with her while browsing the Maruschka autumn/winter collection.
The fancy clothes she sells are the output of a very contemporary and winning philosophy: organic row matters, hand made quality, unique design. You'll be enchanted by the sophisticated, versatile cuts and by the way they wear perfectly any size and build.
The shop offers also some refined pieces of costume jewelry and a small selection of accessories I personally found quite classy.