There was once a time when a gentleman wouldn't dream of leaving the house without gloves on. Beau Brummell ordered dozens of them every year, as he wore lighter colored gloves which were easily dirtied. It was in fact so important to him that it was among the last expenses that he eliminated as his access to funds dwindled. Today gloves are thought of more as protection from the natural elements than guarantors of manual cleanliness or symbols of social status. But as with many trades, there are still makers who manage to survive while continuing many of the old traditions, the Swede Levovs of the world who try to maintain pride in their craft even as consumers fight for bargains and skilled workers become harder to find. Madova gloves in Florence stands as the Newark Maid of the Arno, in business since before the Swede drew first breath. The store sits right at the southern end o fthe Ponte Vecchio, in the shadows of the Pitti palace. Madova has provided gloves for brands and stores all over the world, but also sells at the store as well as online. Virtually any style and material you could dream of is available, both for ladies and gents, including wool, kid, and peccary, lined in cashmere, lined in silk, unlined. Long gloves with button closures, with elastic, shorter gloves with no wrist closure, dress gloves, and sportier gloves. Unfortunately Madova no longer does MTM gloves, having discontinued the practice two years ago. Gloves are available by the half-size. This is a novelty as well - many years ago gloves were offered by the quarter-size, back when the phrase, "to fit like a glove" really meant something. But with increased interest in gloves for warmth, especially with thicker cashmere linings, a tight fit has lost priority. Most of the gloves are stitched together using one of three machines - each does a different kind of stitch. Only the more casual gloves with the thicker stitching are done by hand. The machine made stitching is the more durable type. I bought two pairs of unlined peccary gloves while at the store, one in brown and one in navy. Before trying them on, I was worried wearing an unlined glove might feel like wearing an un-socked shoe (for those of you who engage in this practice, I am glad you enjoy it, but feeling my sweaty foot swaddled by sticky shoe leather all day makes me want to go barefoot forever). In actuality if feels wonderful. The inside feels like a thick, supple suede (fittingly, as suede is usually made from the flesh side of the hide). It breathes fairly well for something so warm. In the three months I've been wearing them, my fears that they would dry up crustily like an ancient work glove you find at the back of the shed have proven unfounded. The navy ones in particular have had their durability severely tested. I wore them out one night and decided to stop in at the bar across the street from my apartment before turning in. As the employees of this particular establishment could assure you, my sojourns there, even if they begin late in the evening, are not notable for their brevity. Some unknowable length of time after my arrival, I realized in gathering my things for the stumble home that I had lost my gloves. I was disappointed, but after all it's inevitable with a pair of gloves that they'll be lost to the #menswear gods some day. But then what do I see in the middle of the street in front of the bar but my gloves! I must have had them in my lap when I left the cab that brought me there, and let them fall to the pavement as I exited. They must have been run over and stepped on dozens of times as a result of my carelessness, but after I picked them up and gave them a couple of good shakes - good as new! Not a stitch out of place. I continue to wear them frequently, enjoying every bit of our borrowed time together. My gloves, night of purchase. My gloves, three months later.