Festive Finds: The Best Artisan Shopping in Europe

Rocco Forte Hotels

Shop for a meaningful festive gift with these recommendations from our local teams at Rocco Forte Hotels. Purchase something locally-made and browse among the boutiques of Florence, Brussels, Munich and Edinburgh.

A pre-Christmas getaway means glittering lights, frost-laced mornings, and searching out festive gifts for the special people in our lives. Shopping locally means you’re not only investing in something that promises to be a lasting memento, but also engaging with centuries of history by uncovering the crafts that shaped your chosen destination’s communities and culture.

Florence: handcrafted leather

You’ve wandered around the Uffizi, gazed up at the Duomo, and indulged in the freshest panettone. Now, it’s time to shop. During your stay at the Hotel Savoy, walk the five minutes to Benheart, a stylish leather boutique that employs talented local tanners. There are plenty of places to buy leather in the city but Benheart’s intricately-made shoes, jackets, belts and bags make the ultimate Florentine souvenirs. 

The store has quite the backstory: it was opened by owner Hicham Ben'Mbarek after a heart transplant when he was just 29 made him determined to follow his dream into the leather trade. It’s now an enviable place to shop, with traditional products reworked, colourfully, for the modern world.

Brussels: antiques markets

Is there anything more satisfying than a friend asking about a piece of furniture? Only this – the ability to reply that it was hand-picked from one of the best markets in Europe. Brussels is known among the most discerning interior designers for its Saturday market in Sablon. An afternoon spent perusing the stalls might unearth a mid-century lamp or a rare first edition. 

If you have an item in mind for a friend or a period you like to collect from, the concierge team at the Hotel Amigo can point you towards the exact spot to find it. Although they cannot be blamed if you end up requiring an extra suitcase for all your finds.


Munich: sparkling jewels

The Charles Hotel in Munich is the perfect base from which to explore the city’s jewellery boutiques. For something classic, take a trip to Juwelier Fridrich on Sendlinger Strasse, a quick taxi ride from the hotel. This family business has been vending fine jewellery for more than 150 years and has an in-house goldsmith who creates exquisite unique designs.

Whether you want a pink, yellow or champagne-coloured diamond, a modern piece recrafted from an old family heirloom or a classic engagement ring, you’ll find it here. Ask the hotel’s concierge to arrange a private consultation for the ultimate surprise for someone special in your life.


Edinburgh: comforting textiles

No city matches Edinburgh for frosty festivity. Its cobbled streets and star-studded nights make it the most joyous place to end the year, but it’s also rather chilly. No matter: the city is one of the world’s best places to pick up soft, supple cashmere. From The Balmoral, it’s a 15-minute walk through evocative streets to Hawico, a warm, family-business offering the best antidotes to the cold. 

The garments have been made in the same factory since 1874. From essential knitwear to stylish, seasonal collections, these seamless – and sustainable – items will become regulars all year round. You’ll be investing in scarves and sweatshirts for everyone you know. 

Looking for the perfect festive getaway? Stay in a Rocco Forte hotel for a personalised, stylish night in one of Europe’s most lively cities. Our tailored concierge experiences can help you discover the very best of culture, gastronomy and shopping – discover more festive gift ideas in our Rocco Forte Gift Shop.

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