What do we know about Florence?
First of all, it is the capital city of the picturesque Tuscany region famous worldwide for being the treasure house of art, for the region’s rolling green landscapes and old vineyards rife with wine tasting tours for tourists. Secondly, Florence (or Firenze in Italian) is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. As UNESCO says, 60% of the most prominent works of art in the world are situated in Italy and almost half of them are in Florence. Works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Filippo Brunelleschi and many other geniuses of Renaissance are at every turn of this two-thousand-years-old Italian city.
Thirdly, as early as in the 14th – 16th centuries Florence was politically, economically and culturally one of the most important European cities. Finally, it is the heaven for fashion-lovers and shopaholics. Let’s stop on the fourth fact and look deeper.
Major shopping streets in Florence
First and foremost, go to Via de’ Tornabuoni. It is here that you can fully renew your wardrobe with a flavour of Italian style, highest quality and latest fashion trends. Since the 14th century, magnificent and stately palaces housed such noble Florentine families as Antinori and Strozzi on Via de’ Tornabuoni. Today this is the heart of Florence and Florentine shopping and it is the most evident and best place to shop for Valentino, Prada, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Dior or many other boutiques and designer brands. Even if you are not planning to spend a fortune, visit this street for window shopping and inspiration.
Via de’ Tornabuoni houses Salvatore Ferragamo shop and his luxurious museum opened in 1995 by the Ferragamo family. Besides photographs, patents, sketches, books, magazines and wooden lasts of various famous feet, the museum boasts a collection of draws 10,000 models designed by Ferragamo.
After Via de’ Tornabuoni head for Via del Corso which is perpendicular to it. Beside Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Patrizia Pepe and Guess to name a few, it is the place where you can buy Italian leather accessories. Italians do love artisan goods (and who doesn’t, yeah?). You will find many small shops with artisan food (mainly ice cream – gelato in Italian), clothes and accessories across Italy and Florence, obviously. Via del Corso is home to an artisan boutique of Piero Puliti. His boutique which is called after him is highly ranked by Italians for high-quality men’s shirts and ties. This is definitely one-of-a-kind store due to the finest materials and exclusive designs.
Shopping in Italy is not only for big wallets. You will find many mass market stores like a three-floor Zara store which you will find if you turn to Via Calimala.
Third major shopping street in Florence is Via de’ Calzaiuoli. The street trails from Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Signoria offers all types of accessories and clothes for every taste and budget. Vintage shops, cosmetics, perfume and skincare, lingerie stores, shoes, and the Disney store – this shopping street is mainly for females. Or for gallant men who want to make a present to their dearest one.
Generally, the whole historical center of Florence is great for shopping so feel free to mix shopping on major streets with walking through ancient meandering alleys to get a double pleasure.
The famous bridge Ponte Vecchio is an unusual and at the same time touristy place to shop for jewellery. One hundred years ago there were jewellers’ workshops located on this stone bridge and until now it is a great place to shop for nice jewellery made by local goldsmiths. Due to location in Florence center, shopping here is very expensive: a simple ring would cost some €200.
Markets in Florence
To shop for authentic souvenirs you don’t necessarily have to look for them in shops. Such goods can be found on local markets. Here is a list of Florence markets where you can both shop for souvenirs and get authentic experiences.
Welcome to the bargain hunter’s paradise! The San Lorenzo market is the major market in Florence and it is located right in the heart of the city next to Basilica di San Lorenzo. Head for San Lorenzo to buy leather goods (a leather jacket costs about €100, a fine leather wallet is for €15), clothes and accessories and, obviously, souvenirs. Anything from leather bags to hats, the varieties and variants are countless.
The market is open from 9 am to 7 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
Mercato delle Pulci is a very popular market open from 9 am to 7:30 pm the whole week without days-off. On Sunday it offers a wide range of antique and vintage goods with their story – coins, jewels, works of art, etc.
Mercato delle Cascine is located in the biggest greenery of Florence – Parco delle Cascine. It is open only on Tuesday, but you can buy everything you need in one place – they sell food, clothes, shoes and much more.
In Florence there are two main food markets. The first one is called Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio located near Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti and Mercato delle Pulci. The second and at the same time main food market is Mercato Centrale Firenze. Both markets are open from Monday to Saturday with one day-off on Sunday.
Shopping malls and designer outlets in Florence
The Mall is a big outlet outside of Florence. It is the place where you can buy new and old collections of famous designers with an up to 70% discount. The Mall houses Emanuel Ungaro, Emilio Puci, Yohji Yamamoto, Ermenedgildo Zegna, Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Sergio Rossi and Valentino. This is a big outlet popular with locals is located in Leccio – a town just one hour from Florence. Reach it by car, taxi or a regular bus from the Florence bus station.
Location: Via Europa 8, Leccio Reggello 50060
Barberino Designer Outlet is the Florentine paradise for a savvy shopper. It has gathered dozens of such worldwide famous brands like Prada, Calvin Klein Jeans, Missoni, Caractere, Add BOSE, Pinko, Pal Zileri, Fornarina and Adidas to name a few. With discounts of up to 70% on clothes and equipment, it is full of tourists and locals on weekend, so we suggest you to visit this outlet on working days.
Barberino Designer Outlet is located 30 km outside Florence in Barberino di Mugello. There’s a special bus going to the outlet from Fortezza da Basso and Santa Maria Novella station stops.
Location: Via Antonio Meucci, 50031 Barberino del Mugello
I Gigli is a big modern shopping mall with more than a hundred of shops including Panorama, MediaWorld and Leroy Merlin hypermarkets along with Zara, C&A, H&M, Coin, Calvin Klein, Guess, Max&Co, Motivi, Sisley, Stradivarius, Benetton, Tezenis, NewYork shops.
There’s a bus going to I Gigli from Santa Maria Novella station.
Location: Via San Quirico 165, Campi Bisenzio
And a small piece of advice: you will find sales in Italy in January – end of February and July – end of August. During these periods shops offer 30-50% discounts. Outlets sell goods with 30-70% discount regardless of month and season.
Shopping for food in Florence
Shopping can be exhausting, we know it. So we suggest a few places to shop for food or just recharge yourself all’Italiana. On Via Tornabuoni there’s a place famous for its mouth-watering truffle sandwiches – it is called Procacci. In the city center you’ll find many wine shops – the majority of them offers delivery around the world. To buy confectionery, bread and wine go in Cantinetta da Verrazzano. The best eclairs in Florence are in Stefania bakery on via Marconi, 26 R. To be wrapped up in the atmosphere of Italy, go to local markets. Italians buy most of products on markets. This is more of a tradition and way of life – to communicate, discuss and bargain. Also, they prefer small specialised stores to supermarkets. You will see numerous butcher shops (macelleria), bakery (panetteria), dairy (latteria), etc.
To request a gastronomic or a shopping tour in Florence, feel free to contact MeetnGreetMe locals we’ve personally vetted by clicking on the orange button below.
MeetnGreeters will help you with planning your trip, transportation, prepare a special shopping tour in line with your personal interests and goals and much more. Meanwhile, have a look at our article on local hotels and decide where to stay in Florence.
Experience Florence to the full with MeetnGreetMe concierge service!