January 16 2011
I love the hands-on approach to glove-selling that Italians have preserved – every time I’m in Florence, I duck into Madova’s closet-sized shop a few yards from the Ponte Vecchio. Despite the offputting touristy location, I’ve learned that it’s a must-stop selling nothing but gloves for men and women. Though the windows tease a Smartie-coloured assortment in punched or patterned leather, the men’s selection is usually somewhat more sober. It’s still a glorious indulgence to browse there (though it’s also possible to buy online from the website).
I always ask a seasoned staffer to size up my hands, then watch as she rifles through the tightly-packed pairs of gloves stored in cubby holes on the wall. Carefully peeling the tissue paper away, I can try on a pristine, snug-fitting pair that cost barely more than the shoddily made, oversized ones I’ve bought back home in New York – expect to pay around €50, a bargain compared to the designer labels for which the firm also manufactures. Best of all, if I buy any gifts on spec and the sizing isn’t right, I can mail them back with a note and the Madova HQ will swap them, no questions asked.