A. Ugolini and Sons
A historic shop in the heart of Florence

Florence is a city that always excites emotions. Whether this is the effect of its artistic treasures, the old city centre with its countless reminders of history on every corner, or a reflection of the character of its inhabitants, who consider it, and quite rightly too, to be incomparable and utterly unique. A stroll along Via Calzaiuoli, one of the few traffic-free streets in Florence, is always an unforgettable experience. It is therefore no coincidence that the old firm of drapers, "A. Ugolini and Sons", a part and parcel of the city's history, is situated right in this road.

The shop was opened in 1896 by Arturo Ugolini, great grandfather of the present owner, in partnership with Ugo Tonissi. In 1911, the firm was awarded a very special prize in London as being the firm that best represented the traditional English taste on the Continent of Europe. The partnership continued until 1921, when Tonissi retired, to be replaced by the owner's son, Ugolino Ugolini, who had a glorious past behind him as an officer in the 1915-18 war. Ugolino gave his imaginative father his full support by making sure that the reliability, quality, perfect service and English characteristics so typical of the firm continued in the future.

A new shop was opened in 1932 for Arturo's other son, Luciano. The first and oldest shop sold men's underwear, knitwear, ties, shirts and gloves while the other specialized in a more casual and sporting style of men's wear. This second shop already existed some time before it was taken over by the Ugolini family and, for many years, the Florentines continued to call it Giurlani's, the name of the former proprietor, who was none other than the father of Aldo Palazzeschi, who wrote under his mother's name. However Arturo Ugolini remained the real charismic head of the firm; a man with an inventive and witty mind and an inborn instinct for public relations, whose inspired wisdom transformed him at times into a protagonist, whatever the circumstances. When one of his clients complained that he couldn't find the pullover in just the right shade of blue he wanted, Arturo replied that the only real blue he knew of was "Celeste (Celestial=Blue) Aida".

Later, during the Fascist period, he helped a barber, who had been sacked by the regime because he did not have a party card, by buying him a shop. In 1938, when Hitler was due to visit Florence, he was ordered to get rid of the "English style" furnishings and contents of the shops. Arturo refused and the firemen, armed with axes, smashed both places to bits. His grandson Franco, who had only recently joined the firm, comforted the old man's desperate tears by promising to restore the shops to their former glory as soon as he could. This promise was finally kept - though after Arturo's death - after the terrible flood of 1966, when cultured and witty Franco, now the owner, had the original classical furnishings and interiors of the shops restored. The older shop at n. 65r now specialized in men's wear only, with ladies' wear at n. 68r. For ten whole days, clients coming to the newly opened shops were welcomed by a huge celebratory buffet.

Niccolò Ugolini, the present proprietor and Franco's son, has brought plenty of new ideas to the firm with him though without forgetting its historic past. The firm is still well known for its efficiency and research into the best in men's and ladies' fashions. People entering Ugolini's shops find themselves in an environment that blends sobriety, elegance, severity and style with the warm colours of their wood furnishings and refined English atmosphere combined with Italian good taste; the atmosphere is seasoned with that special touch of irony that appears to be one of the Ugolini family's indispensable characteristics.

Florence is a city that excites emotions, Via dei Calzaiuoli a street that is part of its history; Ugolini is a name that seems to epitomise emotion and history, for both the client as well as the most inattentive visitor.

Via Calzaioli, 65r - 50122 - FIRENZE
Tel+39 (55) 214439 - Fax+39 (55) 212391

email ugolinif@tin.it

©MEGAVia Lombroso 6/5 a
50134 Firenze
fax +39 55 412931
Email mega@mega.it