When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires Will come to youuuuu….
If you wish to see an entire shop dedicated to wooden toys and in particular Pinocchio, you must visit Bartolucci Florence in via della Condotta 12.
You can find the famous Pinocchio shop a stone’s throw from Piazza della Signoria. You will immediately recognize the huge writhing Bartolucci and of course the Pinocchio shape to take pictures.
I asked a passer-by to take a picture of me, and I didn’t realized I was wearing sunglasses. What a surprise! If you don’t get this, you can read my post about my relationship with sunglasses. So in my pic, there’s a sunglasses Pinocchio.
I went in and the cheerfulness of the store captured me. Cuckoo clocks, marionettes, figurines, coat hooks, carillons, children toys of many kinds. The salesgirl was very welcoming and let me take photos and record a video.
A chat that revealed some secrets
I also had the chance to meet the owner’s wife Mariagrazia, a blonde and beautiful lady, who explained a little back story to me about this peculiar place.
You have to know that the space occupied by the present store, was once the refectory of the most ancient church in Florence, the Badia Fiorentina. You will find its entrance along the adjacent Proconsolo Street.
Did you know that… In this very church, Dante met Beatrice, his beloved muse, for the first time.
You can find hints of this glorious past just looking at the wooden drawers on the left wall at the entrance or at the shelves of the second room. They are all original. She also explained to me that Florentines were very preoccupied and sceptical, when she and her husband bought the shop in 1996. They were worried that the ancient atmosphere could go lost. But they were pretty satisfied in the end.
A long family tradition
The Bartolucci family history with wood was long. Their ancestors were wood artisans since 1506 in the Marche region. The current owner, Francesco, decided to rediscover his family tradition and to start carving his first Pinocchio in 1981. Gladly, his father and his two sisters joined him along this new activity. In the Florence shop you can find trace of this family history in the second room: a photo the grandparents and a corner recreating an ancient workshop, in order to remember their origins.
I read on the official website that Francesco still has a special bond with his pinocchios. He still remembers the one that came out a little squint-eyed or the one that didn’t wanted to bend its knees. How cute, right?
I think Bartolucci Florence is a special place to visit when in town. But, you’ll be happy to know you can find these products in other shops throughout Italy. And also in other countries (Germany and Netherlands for example). Moreover, there’s the e-commerce. More at www.bartolucci.com