Italy is a shopper’s paradise and as you might expect, Florence offers everything from high end fashion to quality leather products, artwork and collectibles, gold jewellery, food and of course, wine. Whatever you’re looking for, here are some of the best places to find it:
1. Luxury brands
Italy is home of high fashion and if you’re seeking designer labels like Armani, Gucci, Prada and the like, you’ll find them all lined up on along Via Tornabuoni. Since the 14th century, this street homes the wealthier families of Florence and prices reflect that.
For those seeking international fashion brands such as Zara, H&M and the like visit Via Calimala and the area near Piazza della Repubblica. Italian department stores Coin and Rinascente also have a few locations around the city centre and offer popular fashion brands.
Jewellers are everywhere in Florence and Ponte Vecchio is known for its goldsmiths and jewellery craftsmen lined up across the bridge. If you’re seeking something custom designed or a little bit extra-special visit the jewellers in the less touristy area of Oltrarno.
Since 1876, the Mercato Centrale has been one of the best places to taste and discover a huge range of local produce as well as shop for handmade gifts. True foodies should set aside several hours as there’s plenty to see and more importantly, eat.
The other half of Mercato Cenrale or San Lorenzo Market is an outdoor market packed with everything from trinkets to leather goods. A ‘cheap and cheerful’ tourist market open Tuesday to Saturday where you’re certain to find the usual take-home souvenirs or quirky items.
Treasure hunters should visit Piazza Ciompi where they’ll find small shops full of flea market-style vintage items from antique books to artwork and furniture. On the last Sunday of the month the market area expands into the streets, attracting bargain hunters far and wide.
From handbags to jackets and shoes, Florence is known for its quality leather. You’ll find handmade leather items everywhere, especially near Piazza Santa Croce. However, quality and pricing will vary from shop to shop, so pay close attention to both.
8. Handmade toys
You’ll find Bartolucci in a few Italian cities but stepping inside one (off via Condotta) is like entering Geppetto’s workshop. Handmade wooden toys, ornaments and of course wooden Pinocchio puppets fill the shop. Many items can be personalised for free as an adorable gift.
9. Artisan goods
Venture across the river to the Piazza di Santo Spirito where you’ll find artisanal workshops selling hand-bound leather journals, mosaics from Murano glass, jewellery and if you love stationary, plenty of paper goods, calligraphy items, sealing stamps and notecards that can be customised.
One of the world’s oldest pharmacies, and once operated by Dominican monks, Officina Profuma Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is located on Via della Scala and sells perfumes and essences dating back hundreds of years. More than fragrances, it also sells teas and luxury toiletries.