San Francisco’s Italian Block – Like Being Home for the Holidays!

The Prada store anchors the Italian block at the corner of Post and Grant.  Photo: C. Accardi

The Prada store anchors the Italian block at the corner of Post and Grant. Photo: C. Accardi

Head to toe, you can meet your wardrobe needs on San Francisco’s Italian Block, a vibrant collection of shops on the streets of the City’s Union Square shopping district. Nine gorgeous shops offer the best in quality, luxury Italian made goods including jewelry, shoes, handbags, designer fashion, and made to measure clothing of the highest quality.   Located adjacent to the San Francisco’s iconic Union Square and Maiden lane, the city block is bordered by Grant Avenue and Stockton, Post and Geary Streets.  Treat yourself, family and friends with something special this holiday season from the shops listed below.  
 
Bottega Veneta - 124 Geary Street
Bottega Veneta is a manufacturer of luxury leather goods, famous for its Intrecciato line of woven leather. The company is based in Vicenza, in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. A family firm founded in 1966, Bottega Veneta was purchased by Gucci in 2001.  Bottega is best known for its hand-woven leather goods - bags, belts, and shoes. They are generally only labelled on the inside.  Bottega Veneta’s approach is best summed up by a company slogan that loosely translates as "When your own initials are enough".
 
Bulgari – 200 Stockton Street
Bulgari is known worldwide for fine Italian jewelry and watches.  2015 marks the company’s 131st year.  Bulgari designs are emboldened by 2,700 years of Roman history, honoring the past with modern designs harmonized with Rome’s ancient history. Originating in Rome, Bulgari was founded as a jewelry shop in 1884 by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari. 
 
Salvatore Ferragamo – 236 Post Street
The Ferragamo brand is now in its third generation, spanning ten decades, and offers leather goods including shoes, bags and belts.  Salvatore Ferragamo dedicated his life to the search for a secret: the shoe that fits well.  When he began studying human anatomy in the United States, he studied the distribution of the body’s weight over the joints of the foot.  Salvatore incorporated his first company, based in Florence, in 1927, focusing on the study, creation, manufacture, and sale of ladies’ footwear.
 
Gucci - 240 Stockton Street
In 1921, Guccio Gucci opened a leather goods company and small luggage store in his native Florence. His vision for the brand was inspired by London and the refined aesthetic of English nobility he had witnessed while working in the Savoy Hotel. His goal on returning to Italy was to blend English sensibility with the unique skills of his native Italy, specifically, with the master craftsmanship of local Tuscan artisans.
 C. Accardi

A gentleman looking at the Kiton window display. Photo: C. Accardi

Kiton – 207 Grant Avenue
In the 18th century, British and German gentlemen came to Naples as part of the ‘Grand Tour’. 
While they studied the art and culture of Naples, they had clothes made to measure by Kiton  craftsmen.  You can still get quality made to measure clothing at Casa Kiton.  The philosophy behind Kiton garments is they are made to last a life time.  The company's motto in Italian is "ll meglio del meglio più uno", which translates to "the best of the best plus one".
 
La Perla – 170 Geary
La Perla specializes in lingerie made in Italy. In 1954 Ada Masotti, began creating corsetry in the name of the best Italian tradition. Beginning in a small laboratory in Bologna, the Italian town renowned for its solid tradition of silk factories and textile manufacturers, Ada used her talent as a skilled corset maker to create works of art enhancing feminine beauty.  Presenting her creations in boxes lined with velvet as if they were precious jewels, led to the name La Perla representing the pearl, one of the most feminine of gems. 
 
Loro Piana – 233 Geary 
Loro Piana is an Italian clothing company specializing in high-end, luxury cashmere and wool products. Absolutely exquisite garments are displayed in this shop’s windows along Geary Street.  Loro Piana is the largest cashmere and baby cashmere manufacturer in the western world.  Originally from Trivero, a district in northern Italy famous for textile production, the Loro Piana family started as merchants of wool fabrics at the beginning of the 19th century.  
 
Prada – 201 Post
Prada is an Italian luxury fashion house, specializing in ready-to-wear leather and fashion accessories, shoes, luggage, perfumes, and watches.  The company was started in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother Martino as a leather goods shop called Fratelli Prada. 
 
Valentino – 105 Grant
In 1960, Valentino Garavani opened his fashion house and after two years, he presented his first collection in Florence, specializing in couture designs. Valentino studied fashion design from a young age, completing his formal training in Paris and starting his own line in Rome in 1959. By the mid-1960s, Valentino was a favorite designer of the world's best-dressed women, including Jacqueline Kennedy. Among his signatures is a particular fabric shade, known as "Valentino red.
 
What better way to enjoy the holidays and welcome the new year than by proudly wearing a label that says “Made in Italy.”

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