Shopping in Florence: A unique experience à la Florentine – by Ségolène Guitton

If you are from abroad and have never been shopping in a typical European city, be prepared for a different kind of shopping experience right here in Florence.

Shopping is a different adventure for everybody, but whether you are looking for high street clothing stores, high end brands, vintage, antiques or home furniture, Florence is the place to be.

If you are on a quest for the latest trends from the world of high fashion such as Gucci, Prada, or Ferragamo, you should head to the streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calvaiuoli. These streets are filled with the latest fashions and haute couture collections from the biggest italian and international designers.

Yes, Florence does hold some of the everyday clothing stores we see all over the world such as H&M, Zara and all these other high street brands but as you walk through the city from famous monuments to little secluded streets you will find that Florence holds many little boutiques unknown to the world outside of the city. And as a total Fashion addict as myself, I think that is amazing, what better place than Florence to find this unique top or accessory that no one else will have when you get back home? If you are an individual with a distinguished sense of style, Florence is the place to be to find that one more unique touch to add to your look.

As you spend more and more time walking around Florence, you will come to realise that people were not lying, Italy is the birthplace of leather. I cannot describe how many shops I see every day filled with only leather goods, excellent quality leather goods for that matter. And while you may see many of these shops, make sure you take time to pop into some of them as you may be surprised with what you might find. Although leather goods can be found all over the city, make sure you check out the Santa Croche Leather Workshop: located in the cloister of the church of Santa Croche, this workshop is the most famous place to find leather items, ranging from bags to belts through bracelets all made in creatively natural shapes and textures.

Another thing that can make your shopping experience in the city that much more unique is the possibility to see craftsmen at work: the other day while I was wondering around Palazzo Pitti enjoying a nice walk in the sun, I came across this little hat boutique and while you walk around the shop admiring those beautiful handcrafted hats you cannot help but be distracted by that man in the back making those same hats surrounded by fabrics and drawings, something you rarely see in those big department stores back home.

While walking around Florence you might start to fill overwhelmed by the number of tourists and shops so here is a list of some of my must go places while out shopping:

Leather Goods

– Monaco Metropolitano (most commonly known as MM, this shop is home to a fantastic range of accessories all handcrafted and produced far from “the world of industrial mechanization”)                                                                                               – Santa Croche Leather Workshop

Jewellery

– Ponte Vecchio (if you love jewellery and are looking to purchase some high quality accessories, make sure to visit the gold sellers on the Ponte Vecchio – the place is filled with jewellery shops where you can find unique necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, rings and much more.)

Antiques

– If you are a lover of antiques, you should head towards Via Maggio (located close to the Palazzo Pitti) and Via de Fossi (located close to Sante Maria Novella).
I actually live on Via Maggio, and every day on my way back and forth from work I cannot help but stare at the amazing artworks and collectables they have on displays.

Haute Couture Fashion & High Street Fashion

– A large number of internationally high end designer stores can be found on the streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calvaiuoli                                                                                                                                                                  – If you head towards Piazza della Repubblica, Via Calimala, and Via Por Santa Maria, you will find big international chain stores such as H&M and Zara as well as large Italian department stores such as Rinascente

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