Sometimes it’s fun to be part of an undiscovered secret. Located among the antique shops and the boutiques of the Oltrarno of Florence (Oltrarno literally means “beyond Arno”) is a shop called And Company, which is delightful.
Owned by a very friendly husband and wife team, And Company, is filled with vintage furnishings, creative paper goods, antique toys and glassware. The big secret here is the glassware and paper goods, as the wife, Betty Soldi, is a professional calligrapher, having studied at art school in London. For instance, her work has been used for packaging at London retailer Fortnum and Mason, as well as one of the British supermarket chains.
Visitors to the shop will see plates with Firenze (Florence) in calligraphy, creative flower vases, as well as delicate espresso cups with the Duomo and Campanile drawn out in calligraphy. The writing on the cups include hidden secrets like crucial dates in Florentine history, references to Florence’s patron saint, San Giovanni, and even references to the colors of the Campanile. Be sure to have the owners explain the history on the cups. Unfortunately, calligraphy is becoming a lost art as much of this work is now being performed on computers, but I was really happy to hear Betty still does her work by hand.
The shop is a mix of cultures between the United Kingdom and Italy including walls decorated with maps from the London Underground and British school uniforms.
The name “And Company” was chosen as the shop has various designers who provide additional work for the store including china and paper goods. Basically, the shop is part of “a company”. I could spend hours just looking at the various designs and vintage goods available for sale.
Owners Matteo Perduca and Betty Soldi describe their shop as a “graphics and curious shop”. This shop is something special and has yet to be discovered by the guidebooks, as the shop has been open just a year. I have a feeling it’s just a matter of time before the Lonely Planets, Frommers and Fodors of the world discover this store as And Company is unique.
For visitors to Florence, cross south of the Arno River on the Santa Trinita Bridge (Ponte Santa Trinita) and in the shadows of the Pitti Palace, visitors can find And Company.
For me, this shop will always trigger memories of Florence as I will always think of the shop with the stunning calligraphy. Visiting this shop is a must.
Via Maggio 47/R
Florence, Italy 50125