Bygone craftsmanship and modern-day charm come together at these storied spots in Milan, Florence, and Rome.


Wrought-iron lamps and checkerboard tiled floors have set the scene at Cappelleria Mutinelli (5 Corso Buenos Aires) since the late 1800’s. Men about town still visit for sporty leather caps and narrow-brimmed fedoras, while women love the 1930’s-style cloches.

The 83-year-old cutlery shop G. Lorenzi (9 Via Montenapoleone) overflows with mother-of-pearl caviar spoons, bone-and-carbon-steel knives, and ladles made of deer antlers.


Style mavens (including Sophia Loren) frequent Casa dei Tessuti (20-24R Via dei Pecori), whose shelves are piled high with rolls of Italian velvet, printed Como silk, and beaded Chantilly lace.

A stronghold in the Kindle era, the bookshop Libreria Antiquaria Gonnelli (6, 14R, 16R Via Ricasoli) is fully stocked with vintage leather-bound volumes. In town November 8–10? Antique prints and manuscripts will be for sale at their latest auction.


Open since 1870, Passamanerie Crocianelli (37-40 Via dei Prefetti) is the Vatican’s go-to furniture trimmings store. Take a cue from the young female patrons, who snap up curtain tiebacks and wear them as funky necklaces.

Originally established in the 1600’s, G. Poggi (74 Via del Gesù) has supplied rare varnishes, fresco plaster, and bristle brushes to artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly.