By Guia Rossi. Cover Image: Atelier Enrico Coveri, Florence.
Silk factories, ateliers, workshops, archives and tailor shops. How many are there in a city like Florence and its surroundings? They’re countless. But most of the time, they are not accessible to the public. The great news is that, for a limited time, you will be able to visit them and learn about their history. Once secluded and kept secret, they will open their doors to the public thanks to the ApritiModa project, even in Florence, on the weekend of 21 and 22 October 2023.
Now in its seventh edition, the project was conceived by journalist Cinzia Sasso and offers free admission. Over the years, it has grown to include over 100 craft and business enterprises scattered throughout Italy. The latest edition is themed around sports, which is particularly relevant given the upcoming Winter Olympics in Milan Cortina 2026. Alongside well-known brands such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Loro Piana, Moncler, Zegna and Fratelli Rossetti, other companies have joined the list, such as Moon Boot by Tecnica Group, with their iconic after-ski boots exhibited at the Moma in New York. Other companies include Fila from Biella and Uyn from Mantua, a modern company that makes lightweight and highly advanced biotech underwear worn by sports champions during competitions.
What to see with ApritiModa in Florence over the weekend of 21 and 22 October
Being able to access vast knowledge resources like fashion workshops and companies has a significant advantage, as it allows the discovery of unique and precious crafts that should not be lost. These crafts are what makes Italian manufacturing excellence known and appreciated worldwide. You can book experiences with free admission and enjoy rare beauty on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 within your fellows thanks to ApritiModa Florence.
In one of the Medici palaces on Lungarno Guicciardini, for example, you will find the deconsecrated church that Enrico Coveri transformed into an art gallery. The Coveri palace houses everything, including a tailor’s shop where sewists still sew sequins using knitting needles; the process involves right and wrong sides and a coloured plastic rod. Coveri held its first fashion show in Paris in 1977; today, as then, the statement written on Le Figarò still holds true: “Sequins are to Coveri as chains are to Chanel.”
In the heart of Borgo Santa Croce, behind the gate of the Palazzo Rosselli Cecconi and its cobbled courtyard, a steep staircase leads to the ancient underground cellars, now serving as the workshops of artisanal perfume company Aquaflor. It includes a ‘flower room’, full of dried flowers of all kinds, and a ‘nose room’, where different scents are mixed to create unique perfumes. Number 2 Via San Niccolò houses a church dating back to 1439, where you will find the workshop for Stefano Bemer shoes, enveloped in the scent of leather and wood from the master shoemakers’ work tables.
Also, make sure to visit Loretta Caponi’s workshop, a vast space of 850 square metres on Via delle Belle Donne in the old city centre of Florence. Here you can find haute couture lingerie worn by famous people such as the Duchess of Kent, Paola of Belgium, Jane Fonda, emirs and rock stars, all attracted by the brand’s 19th-century-inspired art of embroidery. You will also find gorgeous household linens and silks used by royal and wealthy families around the world, including the Windsors, Orange-Nassau, Bourbons, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Kennedys and Getty. Lastly, you can also see Loretta’s private collection of thousands of pieces from different eras, ranging from 1500 to 1960.
If you’re looking for interesting places to visit outside Florence, you can check out the Archivio Ferragamo in Sesto Fiorentino or the Antico Setificio Fiorentino in San Frediano. In Impruneta, in the hills of Florence, Giorgio Linea is also opening its leather goods workshop and incubator of innovative projects to the public. The Museo Civico della Paglia in Signa and the Nuova Fratelli Boretti in the heart of the textile district in Prato are also worth a visit. The latter, a sustainable business operating ahead of its time since 1960, will present the colourful Rifò Lab project, a journey through the recovery of materials and their sustainable regeneration.
We’ve already booked our visit, so hurry up and book yours, too!