As soon as our ferry docked at Sorrento, we set out to find Stinga Tarsia. We had a bit of trouble locating the shop, but finally found the storefront and spent some time inside marveling at the incredible craftsmanship. Sorrento is well known for its inlaid wood art and furniture; the technique is called intarsia. Stinga has been run by three generations of family artisans.
The artwork wasn't limited to two-tone wood designs on boxes or tables. Stinga and other intarsia shops also had unbelievably intricate artwork that looked like a painting, but was in fact wood inlay:
This one is from another shop in town:
The enormous wooden doors of Sorrento's cathedral are covered in intarsia panels done by Vicenzo Stinga (the father of the brothers who are currently in business at Stinga Tarsia) and another artisan, Giuseppe Rocco. We were unable to take photos, and I cannot find any to post here without copyright violation, but you can see them on the cathedral's official website here and here.
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In Florence, we heard about Alberto Cozzi's shop in the "Heart of the City" walk that the Lonely Planet guidebook recommended. Florence is famous for its handmade marbled paper, and Cozzi is a fourth-generation papermaker/bookbinder. Given my general obsession with stationery, I definitely wanted to take a look.
The shop was fascinating and full of so many beautiful things--paper in traditional prints, the handmade marbled paper, leatherbound books and journals, albums, pens, pencils, and other gift items.
I wish I'd gotten a shot of Mr. Cozzi at work. We got to watch him stamp the cover of a leather journal for another customer. If the journals had been lined, I'd have splurged on one myself! As it was, I deliberated forever (while Steve patiently waited) before buying a small pack of marbled papers and a journal with a traditional Florentine print on the cover.