By: Kyrie Sismaet By: Kyrie Sismaet | December 19, 2022 | People Style & Beauty Feature Story City Life Culture Neighborhoods Shopping Celebrity Art Trends Television Movies Entertainment Local Community List - Shopping
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HBO's hit bingeworthy show, "The White Lotus," is a vivid visual feast stunningly replete with idyllic landscapes, impeccable performances, and symbolic imagery. With the second season recently wrapping up, this iteration was set in Sicily and, from the artwork to the historical sightseeing, extensively highlighted several authentic cultural aspects.
One particularly prominent traditional artwork seen in the show was the mystifyingly beautiful, but eerily foreboding "Teste di Moro" busts, which are sculptures of a man's head filled with flowers that displays a classic story about infidelity and "eternal love," both central themes to the show.
These intriguing sculptures have since garnered an adoring interest, and Biordi Art Imports in North Beach has also gained popularity due to their expansive inventory of the same heads. Here is a look into the longstanding elegant boutique, as well as other Bay Area shops for exquisite Italian ceramics.
See also: Idyllic SF Bay Area Locations Perfect As Settings For A Season Of "The White Lotus"
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412 Columbus Ave / (415) 392-8096 / Website
For over 76 years, Biordi Art Imports has been a trusted landmark in North Beach, providing their adoring community with only the highest quality of classic ceramics from all over Italy since 1946. Deborah Baldini is now the third owner of Biordi, and according to her from a recent interview with SF Gate, her gorgeously artisanal shop has been seeing a consistent rise in foot traffic from "The White Lotus" fanatics inquiring about the expansive collection of various "Teste di Moro" heads. "Probably 20, 30, 40 people a day are stopping, taking pictures at the window, coming in and asking about them," Baldini elucidated before continuing with how she is even expecting two pallets of the statues for her newly-found enthusiasts.
Her current inventory ranges from $60 with new mini heads, and others from $650 to $2,200, with her brilliant store also carrying chic dinnerware, vases, serveware, wall decor, and so much more. This is a fabulous and familial must-visit Legacy Business in North Beach that will make you feel right at home in Italy!
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225 Shaw Rd, South San Francisco / (650) 873-4493 / Website
Also authentic and a household name for carefully curated Italian ceramics in the Bay Area is Giannini, which has been impressively adorning homes with genuine handmade fountains, planters, statues, and more since 1993. Founded by Marino and Piera Giannini, their 2.5 acre factory and showroom in South San Francisco is absolutely brimming with the most incredibly breathtaking cast-stone creations, precisely executed with durable finesse by their sons Pier Luigi and Alessandro. This is a kind, professional, and trusted place to find your new longlasting Italian decor.
3982 Piedmont Ave / (510) 601-7938 / Website
Downtown Piedmont is a bustling hotspot for all of your shopping extravaganza needs, especially with Bella Ceramica superbly brimming cornerstone! Walking into this vibrantly packed boutique will immediately impress you not only with their kind and helpful service, but also with their sheer vastness of beautifully ornate Italian vases and plates of all sizes with intricately complex designs, and all in breathtakingly affordable prices.
16395 Roseleaf Ct, Los Gatos,/ (408) 640-6628 / Website
Down in Los Gatos, Gioia by Kathy Winkelman and Lee Marie Michals has been charming patrons and fulfilling their European wanderlust since 2006 with their grand showroom that exudes an ambience of an Old World Italian festival. Everything in this magnificently upscale boutique is hand-crafted with delicate precision, offering Italian treasures of ornately bespoke ceramics, flatware, and even glass stemware both classical and contemporary ideal for any wedding, birthday, or momentous celebration, all carefully and personally wrapped. The highlights here are also their Murano Glass Pendants, and iconic Venetian masks by their incredibly talented sorella artist Carla.
27735 Industrial Blvd, Hayward / (510) 785-9674 / Website
The timeless story of this Hayward business truly originates in Northern Tuscany- the birthplace of handcast statuary. Such meticulous artistry can be traced back as far as 1676, with the narrative of this own Bay Area institution starting in 1916 by a premier coalition of committed Tuscan immigrants. Today, the Fontana family runs this popular East Bay shop, upholding the same industrious finesse and regal excellence that has historically brought them success, now integrating modern technology with the same traditional European techniques. Their fountains, statuaries, bird baths, stepping stones, benches, and more are all thoughtfully available in a wide variety of sizes and elaborate folklore, cultural, and religious themes, guaranteeing that you'll find something that fulfills your aesthetic in this magical garden.
Whether you want a playful "Teste di Moro" head displayed just like in "The White Lotus," or any other form of handmade Italian ceramics, these exquisitely authentic shops will effortlessly have your home feeling like a luxurious resort!
See also: Our Ultimate Day Guide For SF's Eclectic North Beach Neighborhood
Photography by: Courtesy of Ulrike Leone/Pixabay