Florence is the one city that all our guests will make a bee-line for whenever they’re staying in one of villas in Tuscany. And it’s not hard to see why. A quick read of our 60 things to do in Florence will show you the sheer wealth of things to see and do in the city. Whilst most will visit to cast their eyes on the beautiful Duomo, to admire the artworks in the Uffizi or to stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, number 8 on that list is our suggestion to ‘hit the shops’!
Florence is home to a wide range of shops, from those where locals sell handmade gifts to high end luxury stores. It is the perfect place to shop for all the family and highlights Italy’s unique design. The shops are not only high end but also in the most beautiful of settings.
Best for Jewellery
The Ponte Vecchio is arguably one of the most beautiful shopping streets in the world, specialising in jewellery. It is home to some of the most famous jewellery businesses in Florence including Fratelli Piccini and Fratelli Peruzzi. This bridge over the Arno river was the only bridge in World War II to survive destruction at the hands of Germany. There have been shops on the bridge since the 13th century. This spot also has beautiful views down the river especially at night when the city is lit up. However, it’s not the only place to purchase jewellery in Florence. In the Oltrarno neighbourhood of Florence, for example, there is Officine Nora where you will find some lovely contemporary jewellery designers, goldsmiths and silversmiths.
Best for Designer Clothes
Via de’ Tornabuoni is another high end shopping attraction. With shops including Gucci, Prada and Alexander McQueen as well as high end jewellery stores like Bulgari and Tiffany, this street attracts those with some serious money to spend! It is a beautiful, pedestrianised street which is perfect for a day at the shops and for fashion lovers.
Best for Perfume
Florence is home to the world’s oldest pharmacy which is a must see in the city with its beautiful architecture and floral displays. The pharmacy is next to the basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence’s first great basilica. The pharmacy dates back to 1221 when Dominican monks began experimenting with alchemy. It is now a high end pharmacy selling perfumes, aftershaves and many more cosmetic goods.
Best for Bargains
The Mall Firenze is another shopping hotspot which is around a 40 minute journey out of the city centre and is the perfect place for some retail therapy. Here you’ll find high end brands such as Burberry, Dolce and Gabana, Valentino and many more with some amazing discounts.
Best for Souvenirs
If you are looking to indulge in the local culture or buy some souvenirs on holiday then Via de’ Bardi or Via di San Niccolò is the place to go. Here you’ll find stunning handmade leather notebooks and marbled paper along with intricate paper cards, perfect to send a postcard back home to friends and family.
Best for Food
If you’re looking to buy some food to take home with you, then we’ll always recommend Florence’s markets. There are 2 permanent covered food markets in the heart of the city. The Mercato Centrale is the oldest of these. This has 2 levels to explore. On the ground floor, you’ll find stall after stall selling everything from meat to cheese and from fish to fruit and vegetables. Items will be extremely fresh and superb quality. Upstairs, the space is much more contemporary and home to a great restaurant and cookery school, the perfect place to grab a lunchtime bite to eat. The Mercato Sant’ Ambrogio is Florence’s second permanent covered market. Again, it sells delicious fresh produce but around about the building you will also find stalls selling other items such as clothing and household goods.
Best for leather goods
There is an overwhelming array of stores in Florence selling leather goods. This breadth of choice brings with it an enormous breadth in price point. Make note that the tag ‘Made in Italy‘ doesn’t necessarily mean that the leather has come from Italy and this key difference can often explain the widely differing price points of products. This is an industry that has flourished in Florence since ancient times with the River Arno key in providing the water supply needed for the tanning process. Some shops you may want to try include Bemporad, Casini, Pierotucci, Giorgio 1966, Scuola del Cuoio and Dimitri Villoresi. The Oltrarno district of Florence is also a great place to look for leather items. Or you can also try the 2 main leather markets – the Mercato di San Lorenzo and the Mercato Nuovo – however, by and large, you won’t find the same quality here as in the shops.
If you need any more advice on where to go shopping in Florence during your stay in one of our villas in Tuscany, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Bookings For You.