Every year many come from all over the world to experience the best Florence has to offer, but miss all together one of it’s truest gems: Gaia Poli. Like a rare and precious stone, she possesses characteristics unique only to her. As manager at Florence University of the Arts’ FLY (Fashion Loves You), a vintage store emerging designers showcase operated by FAST, the university’s department pf fashion, here you will find Gaia doing what she does best, engaging with students, staff and customers to ensure their experience is a pleasant one. Daughter of Leopoldo and Lea Poli, who are among Italy’s most famed jewellers and creators of La Nouvelle Bague within seconds of meeting Gaia you will be certain she is their greatest creation of all.

From the very beginning it was evident that there was something special about Gaia. This was a something her father Leopoldo quickly picked up on upon meeting his newborn daughter. “No” he said as he watched her face, “she’s Gaia”. Her name meaning joy, initially, she was to be called Pia, stemming from the word pious.

As a child, she had three very unique experiences that had a great impact on the person that she is today. First, with her parents Leopoldo and Lea Poli. Second, with her Ethiopian caregiver Wahid and Wahid’s family. Third, with her maternal grandparents. “I was surrounded by beauty” Gaia shared. Each of these three experiences not only surrounded Gaia with beauty but also instilled it in her. A beauty far more valuable than that of something just physical, but one that radiates from the inside and illuminates all those around her. From her parents Gaia received the beauty of experience -through fine arts, cuisine, fashion, travel and music. From Wahid, Gaia experienced the beauty of diversity and appreciation for the other, through exposure to a culture different from her own and the love that they deeply embraced her with. From her grandparents, Gaia experienced the beauty of purity and simplicity instilled in her by these two very sweet and descent people. Later, during secondary school, Gaia took a liking Humanistic Studies. She looked back at this experience fondly because it equipped her with an ability to deeply understand the origin of words. “Moda, comes from the root modus meaning the way you make things” she explained. “Elegance is the ability to choose between. Therefore, elegance is a person who can choose”. This love for roots of words Gaia uses to enrichen her lessons with students at FUA, connecting them with the true meanings behind what they are learning to foster seeds of deeper understanding. Later Gaia pursed her post-secondary education. Eventually ending up at Fairfield University, here in Florence. She graduated from Fairfield with a degree in Business and Communications. First, Gaia started out by contributing to her family’s business. However, she ending up leaving as she knew that she was destined to carve her own path in life, one unique to who she is. She left first to work as an event co-ordinator and wedding planner and after 7 or 8 years she left that position to work at FUA. Though Gaia admits she doesn’t perceive herself to be in possession of her parent’s designing abilities, she actually is a designer in her own right, the only thing that varies is the materials she uses to create her masterpieces. Her creations are comprised of people and ideas, not things. She is able to bring people from all different walks of life in a way that it is so skillful it seems effortless, continuously producing wonderful results. “I am a connector” she humbly admits. With a keen eye for talent, she spots characteristics in her students that they themselves are yet to pick up on and develop them polished finished products. Lastly, she creates uniquely crafted experiences for customers at FLY leaving them with many reasons to come back for more.

This is the magic of Gaia Poli. You can experience her brilliance as a social designer at FLY (Borgo Pinti, 20r) and on display during FLY’S monthly aperitivos. Make sure visit FLY’s website www.fly.fashionlovesyou.it and social media pages to regular receive update.