Today we visited a leather school in Florence call Scuola del Cuoio that is a third-generation family run business. Scuola del Cuoio is both a workshop that produces leather goods that they sell themselves both in Italy and in New York City as well as a school that teaches people how to handmake and design leather goods. We toured their facilities and learned about leather gilding (stamping gold into leather) and the various types of skins they use in the workshop. We also got to shop in their store, where I got a black leather passport holder stamped with my initials in white gold.
After the leather school, I had a solo lunch at local favorite Trattoria Mario. There was a 30-minute wait to be seated as there were already about 20 people there waiting outside when I got there and the line continued to grow as I was there. The restaurant is only open for lunch and is known for its frills-free, traditional Tuscan dining experience. You are seated at communal tables and the only English spoken by the staff is to tell you how long the wait for a seat is. I sat with a Parisian couple and an Italian man, neither of whom spoke any English. It was an interesting experience to navigate a restaurant without the crutch of English and I really enjoyed sharing a meal with people whom I couldn’t verbally communicate with in any meaningful way. We were still able to share the joy of the meal through expressions.
After lunch, we toured the Gucci Garden. The Gucci Garden is a multifaceted concept space created by Gucci’s current creative director, Alessandro Michele. The space is partially an art gallery with full room paintings and film exhibits, partially a museum of the dialogue between Gucci’s past and present, and partially a retail space with both gifts and a location-exclusive ready-to-wear collection. The tour through this space truly expanded my depth of understanding into what the world of Gucci encompasses. I started to understand why the pieces that I saw go down the runway or in stores held so much weight in pop-culture and had such incredible presence to them. The story, passion, and motivation behind these pieces is very comprehensive and genuine. You can begin to see the love that Alessandro Michele puts into each piece when you understand his interpretation and appreciation of the house’s story through this space. I strongly recommend touring it.
After the Gucci Garden, we toured the Galileo Museum. This museum was dedicated to not only Galileo Galilei, but also the history of Florentine science as a whole. There were collections of alchemist’s instruments, artifacts of astronomy, and other collections of prominent Florentine families, such as the Medici.
I also went out to dinner with some of the other students on the trip to Trattoria Garibaldi, a small pizza, and pasta restaurant not far from Trattoria Mario. I order a full three-course meal of bruschetta, pici cinghiale (pasta with wild boar’s meat), and trippa. Trippa is a traditional Tuscan dish made of the lining of a cow’s stomach. It has an interesting texture and taste, unlike anything I’ve eaten before. Although I don’t know if I’d try it again, it was certainly worth the experience.