Whenever I’m in a bad mood or the weather is gloomy, I am pretty certain that entering this place just down Piazza Santo Stefano will mitigate my blues. By showering me in pink, yellow and aquamarine. Everything, like, everything they have is at least pretty, but mostly cool, slightly addictive and definitely uplifting. And this with a shop selling stuff that is less than necessary and despite coming from me, a lover of beauty but also a selective shopper: I’m not a shopaholic and lately I am feeling increasingly disturbed by the overwhelming amount of stuff that fills far too many shop windows.
Despite that, there’s such a taste, a research, a sense of joy and, like I said, an explosion of colors here that it’s hard to resist this candy-like place, and sometimes I just pay it a little visit, exiting empty-handed but with a smile on my face (a smile that I usually share with fellow customers, with that silent exchange of looks that says «How cool is that?»).
What does La gallina smilza (what a great name, kind of «The skinny hen») sell? Like I said, lots and lots of deliciously useless stuff. But so much of it (and yet it has nothing to to with Tiger et similia) and all so beautiful. Most of the main room is filled with plates, cups, glasses and other tablewear from Danish brand Rice, along with all the items a children party could need (or just be very much embellished by), from garlands to balloons, from “popcorn holders” to napkins in all shapes and sizes. Behind the counter lies a lovely assemblement of pastel-coloured (pale pink, sky blue), rétro looking pots, saucepans, skimmers, ladles and other kitchen utensils by porcelain-enamel Austrian king Riess.
The very counter hosts in turn a pletora of little treats for children (actual and in spirit), such as tiny lovely rubber stamps… you got the idea. This takes you to the back room, that is officially devoted to kids and children. Again, the colors: rafia storage boxes in the shape of northerns houses are a triumph of red, green, lilac and blue, while toddlers’ lunch box sets and water bottles for babies have round shapes and lovingly display yellows and lilacs. I would actually like to be a kid so that I could get myself one of the kits to build your own dragon/doll/superhero mask and so on. Instead, I got a little white bedside lamp in the shape of a cloud for a friend’s baby daughter. I’d love to keep it to myself if I must be honest.
Back to the main room, when you think you’re finished with touring the shop you realize you’re just halfway. It’s mama (or sister) time! Clothing items are just a few but, again, lovely. I keep looking at this super soft white t-shirt with a unicorn (of course, this is Unicorns season, but there also hippos, zebras and giraffes) by local designer Sara Pandolfi that I really would like to use as a pajama (Christmas approaching: take note). But what I actually am fascinated by are the tutu skirt in all shades of fluffy tulle. Again, as charmed as I don’t think they’re a sustainable choice for me, so I opted fro a cheap anche lovely temporary tattoo shaped as a fresh green leaf, just one of the many (needless to say, one nicer than the other) that are on display.
And if you really, really can’t find anything for you, there’s still the teas’ section, the array of notebooks and diaries, the little school bags, the fake stuffed animals… And all in quite a small space, which is a bonus for me: big labyrinth-like stores make my head spin, while little shops like this one allow me to just have a little casual dip into their colorful waters whenever I want. I will probably have a longer swim before Christmas, should I decide to be a nice Santa and buy some presents. In the meantime, I’ll go try my temporary tattoo on the left shoulder…