I’ll be honest, Firenze hasn’t been on my must list for Italy. It’s so beautiful, but the only time I went there it was so crowded it made for a miserable experience. The next time I was in the area, I actually bypassed the city for the outlets in the region. However, after reading my friend Jordan’s Florence Guide on Medium, I’m definitely willing to give Michelangelo’s adopted city another try.
Where to shop (and dine along the way) in Florence, Italy
This was my first time visiting Florence. I did extensive research in advance of the trip and was surprised at how lacking the city was in up-to-date articles on shopping and thought to record my findings which both confirmed and extended my understanding of the region. Whether you’re in Firenze to shop or sight-see, with this list you’ll end up doing both.
In terms of getting around, you can walk everywhere! (note from Nneya: do not use this as an excuse to wear dreadful practical walking shoes! Jordan got amazing Robert Clergerie raffia soled lace ups. I’m feeling this similar style) I took a tourist map from a hotel and marked it up each day with the destinations we wanted to go. More fun than looking at Google Maps every five seconds. Getting lost is also a good thing! There are cool places and historic sights at every turn.
Aqua Flor: You can smell this place from down the street : their scents, amplified by the two giant outdoor diffusers that frame the door, waft for blocks. Candles, diffusers, soaps, perfume and more lie within this beautiful library which is a more under-the-radar answer to Santa Maria Novella.
Elio Ferraro: Fantastic selection of vintage designer clothes, home furnishings and accessories.
Ferragamo: When in Florence, go to the Ferragamo museum and store. Just a block off the Arno on main shopping drag Via Tornabuoni, the museum houses a wealth (literally) of the Ferragamo legacy, with their modern counterparts in jewelled and brightly hued forms in the adjoining shop.
Hermes: Scarves and watches and thousand-dollar blankets, oh my! You know what you’re in for when you walk in but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit.
Ottino: Just a few blocks from the Palazzo Vecchio lies Ottino, a fine leather goods shop that has been family-owned since 1830. They have a wonderful collection of bags, belts and small leather goods.
Pineider: Elegant and classic leather goods and accessories abound. Here’s the place to pick up some easily packable furnishings like a valet tray or a discreetly stamped card case.
Via Jiyu: A New Yorker founded this shop, not far from Ferragamo, which produces its shoes (flats only!) in the same factories as Salvatore and Tod’s. The colors are largely dictated by Pantone trends — but there are numerous styles and leathers to choose from.
Via de Tè: Perhaps the chicest tea shop I’ve ever been in. Via de The also has a lovely cafe and courtyard in the back to try their selection of fine teas and small bites. There is a great selection of both exotic teas and tins in which to transport them. Yes, they do have matcha. I may or may not have picked it up when the top wasn’t fully on and shattered the canister all over the ground.
Via Maggio: Lots of boutiques and antique shops not far from the Palazzo Pitti. Great sight-seeing.
Via San Niccolo: Picturesque street full of darling shops that runs parallel to the left bank of the Arno. Follow it straight onto Via de Bardi and you’ll find Lorenzo Villoresi, another local purveyor of fine fragrances.
Via Trombuoni: Tons of designer shops here — the Florence equivalent of Rodeo Drive or Madison Avenue. Except more charming, fewer cars and more cobblestones.
Pit-stops (aka cocktails and quick meals):
- Rivalta: With a lovely view of the Arno — provided you can snag a seat on the outdoor patio, Rivalta offers specialty cocktails and apps.
- Procacci: Right in the middle of Via Tornabuoni, stop here for an espresso or glass of prosecco to keep you fueled.
- I due Frattellini: We came here a few times on our trip — this hole in the wall walk-up window offers a wide selection of sandwiches (we enjoyed the tuna and the prosciutto and mozzarella) that are all impressively fresh and delicious. The kind of simple food with a focus on local ingredients that you dream Italy is full of.
- Hotel Continentale: Through an entrance just off the Arno, take the elevator to the top of the Hotel Continentale. Grab a spot on the banquettes which line the rooftop and order a spritz, or a bottle of prosecco if you’re feeling lavish. It’s a lovely way to take a load off of your Uffizi’s (sorry, Florence pun). Full of stylish locals and panoramic views of the Arno and city.
BY JORDAN MIDDENDORF