LUCCA is packed from floor to chandelier-filled ceiling with an undeniably reliable assortment of giftables for any and all occasions: Astier de Villatte candles, piles of stationery both vintage-looking and modern, clean beauty favorites from Herbivore Botanicals, and the kind of out-there, one-of-a-kind curios that make perfect presents for tough-to-shop-for friends.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Fashion & Travel
LUCCA great finds has just that (ceramics by Astier de Villatte; embroidered pillows and accessories by Brooklyn's Coral & Tusk; teas from Mariage Frères, as well as custom cards).
* Winner Reader’s Choice Poll *
Best Gift & Card Shop
NEW YORK TIMES
Sunday Travel Section
Designed to resemble Parisian gift salons of the 1920s and 1930s, this little Ballard shop is an absolute joy to explore. You never know what might turn up amid the vintage classics and chic contemporary items. Perhaps you're in need of some mounted insects for your curiosity cabinet, or maybe you just need some French toothpaste. Whichever you seek, you'll find it here.
THREE BEST RATED
This is my favorite store in all of Seattle. I could probably end the review there, but to be a bit more clear I am tempted to keep this review to myself because Lucca is a gem. For those that I most love, I buy all of their gifts here. You can also buy Mariage Freres tea here--in case your well acquainted with the best tea in France and the best tea in the world.
Best Neighborhood Shops
Styled like a chic, slightly gothic Parisian flea market, this place could easily suck away an afternoon. Bowls of Mexican milagros sit next to shadow-boxed insects and turn-of-the-century toys, while the walls are lined with letterpress cards.
Elegant, eclectic gifts for everyone on your list. Ballard Avenue is now heavy with tasteful gift shops, but Lucca may win the prize for cramming in the highest volume of attractive wares. Featuring European jewelry, soaps, candles, housewares, stationary and all manner of decorative pieces and curios, this elegant boutique offers choices to fit most any price range. Better yet, the eclectic stock--framed insect specimens to dainty teas--fits nearly everyone on your shopping list.
LUCCA great finds is the second Lucca store of owners Francine Katz and Peter Riches, whose first venture, Lucca Statuary, brought classic European garden statues to the Northwest in 1991. The newer Ballard establishment keeps the shopping experience distinctly European, this time an homage to the eclectic treasures of the French flea market. Birdcages and cloches, chandeliers and little vignettes provide the backdrop for hours of sheer browsing joy. Fine papers and stationary, candles and soaps are the store staples, accented with one-of-a-kind and vintage pieces. The decor of the store deserves special mention: the owners have used statuary from the original Lucca as bases for the display tables, and the rich, almost creamy, black walls (is it possible for black to be creamy?) set off the carefully chosen greenery. Let's just say Ballard is so worth the trip.
The name is apt: Stroll through this well-edited decor and paper goods store and you'll quickly turn up goods that aren't easily found elsewhere. That includes antique glass medicine bottles, and taper candles poured in the shape of knotty twigs. And do check out the shelves overflowing with spools of gorgeous, unusual ribbons; take home a few yards to tie around your next present.
NORTHWEST HOME AND GARDEN
Word of Ballard's Lucca Great Finds has spread as far as the New York Times with good reason. Statuary, bird cages and baskets fill this Euro-centric store, where a quick once-over will not be enough.
Kimberly Brown Seely
Look at Lucca
European-inspired Lucca Great Finds is a tiny store stocked with well-chosen treasures: beautifully boxed, handcrafted MarieBelle truffles ($9-$25), G. Lalo writing paper in dreamy colors ($8-$12), and, for die-hard Francophiles, Eiffel Tower desk statues ($42).
Shops We Love
Lucca Great Finds (5332 Ballard Ave. NW, 206-782-7337) for spot-on gifts.
NEW YORK TIMES
Sunday Travel Section
I spent the rest of the afternoon on Market and Ballard streets, wandering into...the superb LUCCA, which has wonderful French decorative objects. LUCCA has a buyer with a flair for the stylish and unexpected, such as 19th-century silk banners advertising French fetes at $350, as well as more affordable writing paper, calendars and garden bric-a-brac. Open daily.
Unvieled - News and Notes for the Nearly Wed
Are your groomsmen a little rough around the edges? Spruce 'em up with Italian toiletries from Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, one of the world's oldest pharmacies (c.1612), located in Florence. Alcohol di Menta mint mouthwash, $18 and Sapone di Latte soap, available in five scents, $16, should do the trick. Available at LUCCA great finds in Ballard, 206.782.7337.
In An Italian Lather
Fans of the divine bath and body products from Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella will be happy to learn they no longer have to rely on their broken Italian to call overseas and purchase indulgences. Lucca great finds is the exclusive Seattle-area retail source of these soaps and products made at the famous pharmacy in Florence that was once (during the 17th century) run by Italian monks. Available in fragrances such as rose, violet, lavender, mint, lilac, and verbena, the soaps, colognes, powders and tonics are still made with the original centuries-old chemical-free formulas and techniques used by the monks. The best part is, these authentic luxuries don't come with an expensive trip to Europe. Spend $16 for a bar of soap to $110 for the cologne.
Best of 2001 - Shopping
On Ballard Avenue NW - the new shabby-chic paradise LUCCA great finds - the only place in town we’ve found Officina di Profuma di Santa Maria Novella bath and body products from Italy.
Lucca Great Finds
Modeled after the charming gift shops all across Europe, Lucca Great Finds brings the Old Country to America. Unlike their American counterparts, it seems European gift shops don't specialize in shot glasses and sparkly pens. No, these gifts of a more refined variety include soaps from an Italian apothecary, fine stationery, birdcages, ornate glassware, silk ribbon, antique prints, apothecary jars and leather-bound journals.