Laura Morelli has two new books out today in her Authentic Arts series. The reasons I love these books are many fold:
- She excels at sharing with her readers the beauty of Italy.
- She knows how to share the history of the region in an engaging manner.
- Her books’ photos of the topics are stunning.
- She knows how to bring Italy to life, both past and present.
The two new books out today are Florence: A Travel Guide to Fabric, Frames, Jewelry, Leather Goods, Maiolica, Paper, Silk, Fabrics, Woodcrafts, and More and the accompanying shopper’s guide, Artisans of Florence.
In the first book, the reader learns about the living traditions of the artisans. Some work out of their shops where they sell their crafts, and you can watch them work as you peruse their wares. Others work in a private shop and sell their wares at traditional and yearly festivals. Reading about the artisans gives you a glimpse into the history and process of their work, and a new respect for the high quality craftsmanship.
This book is all about learning how to find authentic souvenirs to bring or ship home. “Authentic doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will be the most valuable souvenir of your trip,” says the author.
Of course, if you’re going to visit and shop in Florence, you need to know how to get around town. Ms. Morelli explains that the neighborhoods are identified by the main church anchoring it. For example, Duomo and San Lorenzo are named for the churches in those neighborhoods. Also, if you’re looking for a house number, you’ll get lost immediately unless you know the secret of the door colors. Red, or rosso, after the street number tells you the place is a business. Black, or nero, after the street number tells you it’s a residence.
Now that you know those two important things, you’re ready for the shopper’s companion, Artisans of Florence. In it, the author lists artisans and museums by neighborhood. She also listed the artisans and museums by their traditional arts. You’ll find the contact information and addresses for each one.
Shoppers will be happy to learn how to tell if something is authentic, made in the traditional way. Also, determining price can be a confusing matter, but not once you’ve read Ms. Morelli’s book. Before you begin your shopping adventures, she suggests you visit several museums to help train your eye in the traditional arts of the area and see for yourself what is truly authentic.
I’ve reviewed two other books by Laura Morelli, Venice: A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More and her novel, The Gondola Maker. If you love history, travel, and shopping, I highly recommend the Authentic Arts series. You can click on the covers below to read my reviews.
About Laura Morelli
Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.
Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.
Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, andMade in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.
Disclaimer: I received e-ARCs of the two books reviewed today from the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can see more of Laura Morelli’s books on her author page at Amazon.
You might also like to read my review of Laura Morelli’s Venice and her novel, The Gondola Maker.