Florence, despite its small size, is an incredible place to shop. Apart from all the big brands and local markets, Florence has shops that are treasures, unique to the fabric of the city.
Start on via dell Serragli, in an area called Oltrarno (the “other side” of Arno) at either Paolo Tozzi’s Domus Aurea or Luca Raffanelli’s antique shops for mid century Italian chic furniture or curiosity objects. Few doors down, towards the river, enter vintage and second hand shop selling vintage designer pieces and jewellery. At the bottom of via dell Serragli, turn right, on to Lungarno Guicciardini, for more antique and vintage shops. Walk towards via di Maggio, another street with antiques, and before crossing the bridge across the Arno, dip into Traslucido for more mid century Italian magic. Make sure to ask to show you their storage room – the pieces there are as beautiful as they are in the shop.
Across the bridge, enter more pricier options. Start with the Ferragamo museum store on via Tournabuoni. The museum shoes are limited editions of the iconic designs by Salvatore Ferragamo made for the likes of Marylin Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Don’t be fooled by the limited display on shelves, ask to see the closet behind the cashiers. For more luxurious shoes head to Aquazurra, a brainchild of Colombian designer settled in Florence. Although with stores in New York and London, his Florentine outpost is his headquarters, residing in the glorious Palazzo Corsini.
Other notable Florentine establishments are Loretta Caponi, Richard Ginori and Santa Maria Novella. Signora Loretta Caponi started her business over 60 years ago, embroidering linen, towels, dressing gowns and night dresses. Now, her flagship store on via Tournabuoni is a vast expanse of best Tuscan embroidery and fabric – unique and antique pieces fill this enormous shop hidden behind a very modest entrance. Check out the night gowns – each takes 3 months to make and has unique designs. It is also great for baby clothes and gifts. And don’t forget to stop at Procacci’s just few doors opposite for a glass of wine and their famous truffle buns.
Richard Ginori is a famous porcelain maker. Established in 1735, it was recently declared bankrupt, until Gucci, another Florentine-born company, bought it and restored to its glory. The shop itself is beautifully designed, with frescoed ceilings and a large winter garden. There are endless choices of dinner services, catering to every taste, whim and desire.
And, of course, Santa Maria Novella is the most famous cosmetics shop in the city. Founded as a pharmacy by Dominican friars shortly after 1221, it is now a global chain selling perfumed soaps and moisturises, pot pourri and fragrance. Their Florentine shop is their HQ, and as usual, the setting is stunning, with the views of Santa Maria Novella church cloisters.
To dress up your bambini, Florence offers great choices. Our favourite ones are Assunta Anichini and Cri – Cri. Assunta Anichini, located just off the Arno’s embankment, on Via del Parione, has an amazing selection of dresses and gowns for your little daughter and smart linen ensembles for your son. It also boasts glorious cashmere sweaters for the cold season. Cri Cri (Via Il Prato) is a labour of love. Run by a Florentine woman, it showcases beautiful items made in the shop, or sourced from other local artisans or brands, and antique clothes and toys.
And finally, if you are looking for a nice piece of clothing but tired of main street brands head to Flow Store on via Vecchietti. They stock an interesting variety of contemporary local brands as well as lesser known but beautiful designers from around the world for both men and women.
You can have more hints and tips about what to do in Tuscany, in our Local Area page.