What can one bring back that doesn’t reek of mass production or tackiness?
Souvenir shopping can be daunting, even if you are only looking for a gift for yourself. You need to bring back something truly unique that also can sum up a memory of your trip.
Some of the best souvenirs however are best found when you stumble upon them rather than looking, as they come in non-traditional forms. So put down that mini statue of Michelangelo’s David, and check out this list of unforgettable memories and what you can bring back to never forget your travels.
3. Hand-Painted Paper Goods
The paper tradition of Tuscany involves hand-painting techniques that create a marbled, swirling blending of color. One store, Papiro, has many locations in Italy, but in Florence you can see them hand paint the notebooks, pads, cards, and many other gifts appropriate for anyone.
When I went, I even was allowed to hand paint my own paper. The shop owner showed me the technique, which involves swirling paint in a tray of water with a delicate hand, and combing the paint through to create different patterns. Not only is it a beautiful result, but one that you helped create!
2. A Historic Photograph
A postcard, no matter how beautiful, just doesn’t show that much effort. Printing your own photograph can be sentimental, but an even cooler idea is getting a print of the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Alinari photography museum in Piazza Santa Maria Novella has the original negatives of photographs that the Alinari brothers and other Italian photographers took of Florence in their heyday. The photographs show the familiar Duomo, Uffizi, and other landmarks of the city, but differ in that you can see the activity of people during that time in different dress and even wagons instead of cars.
1. A Cooking Class
Some of the best gifts are experiences, not objects. Italy of course is known for the amazing food, so why not take a cooking class when you are there? Not only is it a fun experience, but you can also come back and cook a meal for friends and relatives that is authentic, and share your travel stories around the table at the same time.
Be warned though—once you have made true Italian food, you will spoil yourself!
Article written by AJ Kiyoizumi.