Recently I had been feeling a bit envious of friends who set sail on a three-week adventure through Italy. Then lo and behold! I wandered into a slice of Italy right here in downtown Sarasota on Pineapple Avenue — Malbi Italian Artisan Decor. A group of us were window shopping and wandering the historic district in search of sushi. We found the sushi, but we also felt we had crossed continents to Florence or Tuscany.
Malbi offers a plethora of imported, one-of-a-kind products, ranging from hand blown glassware to linens, flatware, dishes, vases, and unusual gifts. We were greeted by the owners, Frederico and Maria, who gave us some background on their business. To begin with, they opened their doors barely a year ago, but business has been brisk. Maria explained that while Italy is known to have a thriving design industry, many products are not exported across the Atlantic.
In order to offer rare Italian designs, the two travel to Italy several times a year and hand-select all of their home decor pieces. In addition, “the boutique functions as an art gallery and event space” and also offers interior decorating workshops.
Never one to pass up European booty, I purchased a regal pelican, a ceramic piece from from Ceramica del Ferlaro, one of Italy’s more acclaimed manufacturers in the Collecchio region. I can’t wait to impress my friends who will undoubtedly return with their own stellar objects of Italian art.
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”