The Artisan's Star

Elio Barati’s perfumery shop in Florence marks its entrance with a mosaic star. This shop immerses Elio in the artisanal world he loves, but he harbors a regret. As a young man he created a full-fledged perfume of jasmine, iris, and cypress at the renowned Ecole des Parfumeurs in Grasse—a fragrance his idealism and stubbornness boxed away before ever bringing it to light.


A second star now brightens Elio’s life, his daughter Romina, an artist. She has her father’s unrealized talent, a precise and intuitive sense of smell. She's also inherited more challenging traits of Elio's: unbridled ambition and an insatiable wonder for the world.


But changes ripple through modern-day Florence. Artisan traditions wane; and when Romina tells her father she has no intention of running the family business Elio fights to hold on to the Florence he cherishes. Confronting the lost opportunities of his youth, Elio is thrust into this journey by five spirited women: his Greek mother, Elena; his mentor Palma; his soul mate, Marina; his astronomer wife, Sofia; and finally his beautiful artist daughter, who like the city of her birth, shows him how tradition and modernity can and must co-exist.


Now he must alter his own path by harnessing the transformative powers of the fine and artisanal arts.

About the author

Gabriella Contestabile is an author, educator, and owner of SU MISURA JOURNEYS, a boutique travel company connecting people to the artisans of Florence. She emigrated, with her parents, from Italy to New York City in 1959. In her pre-writer life, she worked as a foreign language teacher, management development specialist, and fragrance/cosmetics executive. Gabriella is a strong advocate of the arts, of multiculturalism, and of social justice—a passion inspired by reading Dickens and Dante at a very young age. She has been an active volunteer with Dress for Success for over eight years and is a member of the Slow Food NYC Food and Farm Policy Task Force. She lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, her daughter, her mom, and a furry Shih–Tzu named Oreo. ‘ The Artisan’s Star’ is her first novel. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, also set in Italy, and a screenplay.

Connect with Gabriella: Website  ~ Twitter  ~ Amazon Author Page  ~  Su Misura  ~  Facebook

Where to buy the book:



Prizes: ​ 5 winners will each receive

one print or ebook copy of The Artisan's Star, a $10 Amazon gift card and a perfume sample. (Open to USA & Canada) Ends May 16


My Review

The sense of smell is said to be the most powerful for evoking memories. In this book we meet Elio, owner of a parfumerie in Florence. As he tells the reader about the different perfumes, we are taken on a journey back to his youth where he trained in Grasse. At first the narrative seems disjointed as the scents cause him to flit from scene to scene but this cleverly replicates the way the human mind works. It is beautifully written in such a sensual way that you can almost inhale the perfumes on the page. The gorgeous descriptions of France and Italy add to the sensory overload. It is also full of pathos in parts, missed chances, broken love affairs, a lost mother. This book made me want to revisit Florence and Grasse is now on my ‘to visit’ list too. A beautiful book, Proustian in parts, but one that will take you on an unforgettable journey.



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Gabriella Contestabile | Reply 03.05.2015 01.12

Thank you for the comprehensive review which precisely captures the major themes of "The Artisan's Star', especially the nature of our life's journey.

Julie Ryan 04.05.2015 21.51

A beautiful book Gabriella x

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Latest comments

Yesterday | 22:25

Wonderful review, for a wonderful lady and Author.

Yesterday | 20:12

Great review for an equally great book by Mary

Yesterday | 18:26

When reading all the reviews I just can not wait to read this for myself. I adore stories of hardship and how they unfold and hopefully have a good ending.

Yesterday | 17:22

Another great review for a brilliant author.

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