View breaks >>
When it comes to shopping you will spoilt for choice, many incomes are high and the sense of style is all-pervading. In this popular tourist centre, shops cater for the discerning souvenir-hunter, and artisan and traditional products are a particular strength. You’ll find the usual specialities such as high end fashion, jewellery, leather and lingerie, along with wines and oils, ceramic and pottery.
Florence, capital of Tuscany, is the main centre in the region with the main shopping areas lying to the north of the River Arno, with the high-class designer stores lining the Via de’Tornabuoni and department stores such as Coin and La Rinascentre, and mid-range shops in and around Piazza della Repubblica and along Via dei Calzauoli.
The city has two permanent street markets; the rambling San Lorenzo, selling everything from leather goods to football shirts, around the church of the same name; and the souvenir-packed Mercato Centrale, the daily food market that is also near San Lorenzo.
The city is justly renowned for its jewellers shops, many of them based since 1593 on the Ponte Vecchio; gold here is sold by weight and there are affordable trinkets on sale, along with serious rocks. Across the river are dozens of tiny artisan shops and workshops in the Oltrarno district, where you’ll find everything from furniture and antiques to quirky fashion, accessories, marbled paper stores and print shops.
Read more on this destination in the AA Essential Guide to Florence & Tuscany.
Top shops in Florence
Alice’s Masks, Via Faenza 72r - Masks in exquisite details and infinite numbers fill every corner of this shop/studio. Not only can you buy masks here, you can join in a workshop to learn the art of papier mache mask-making.
Alinari, Largo Alinari 15 - Alinari is Italy’s oldest photographic archive, with a mouth-watering selection of beautiful photos and books, which you can buy in the shop or order online. This is the best place in Florence for photographic books, postcards, prints and photos.
Argenteria Brandimarte, Viale L Ariosto 11/C6 - The late Brandimarte Guscelli’s dedicated apprentices continue his unusual designs in silver. Plates and goblets are decorated in relief with fruits, vines and leaves.
Emilio Pucci, Via dei Tornabuoni 20-22r - Florence’s own designer is famous for his 1960’s style clothing.
Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16 - Old-world apothecary in Florence selling its own herbal elixirs, soaps and other concoctions, made from monks’ recipes.
Fratelli Piccini, Ponte Vecchio 23r - If you want to go jewellery shopping on the Ponte Vecchio, make sure you take in Piccini’s. The lovely gold charms make a nice gift.
Pineider, Piazza della Signoria - Pineider remains Italy’s original and most prestigious stationer – the letters of Napoleon, Byron and Dietrich were scribed using Pineiders beautifully crafted tinted papers and inks. It also stocks exquisite leather-bound notebooks and accessories including seals.
Salvatore Ferragamo, Via de’Tornabuoni 16 - Makes some of the most sought after shoes in the world.
Scuola Del Cuoio , Piazza Santa Croce 16 - This workshop, at the back of the famous church, was once run by Franciscan monks. If you intend to shop for leather goods, come here and first learn how to spot quality and craftsmanship. If you make a purchase at the on-site shop, they’ll personalise the goods for you with a stamp.
Zini, Borgo San Lorenzo - Zini stocks Italy’s most up-and-coming designers – and the future is looking bright and captivating. the tailoring and cut of the clothes are impressive, but the originality comes in the interesting and innovative use of prints and fabrics.