THE Guide to Shopping in Florence

Florence at Sunset

Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, is a city filled with timeless charm, cultural richness, and an inherent sense of history. 

It also boasts the greatest shopping experience you can have anywhere on earth.

Shopping in Florence is truly shopping heaven. If you seek authentic shopping experiences in Italy, my advice is to come to Florence as quickly as you can.

We'll start our shopping adventure in a moment. First, though, you'll need somewhere to stay, and these are my Florence hotel and BnB recommendations.

Ready to shop in Florence?

When it comes to shopping in Florence, the phrase "all roads lead to Rome" takes a slight detour, getting lost in Florence's winding, boutique-lined streets. Okay, it has to be said that Rome has good shopping too, as our Rome shopping guide shows; however, the Florence shopping experience is unique and incredibly special. That road to Rome can wait.

So, why does Florence have good shopping?

Anyone who's ever had the pleasure of browsing through its myriad of chic boutiques, bustling markets, and antique shops will tell you it's not just good—it's phenomenal.

Each store feels like a museum, brimming with a rich array of high-end fashion, Italian leather goods, precious jewels, and countless other artisanal treasures seemingly made just for you. These are the type of items you've spent all your life looking for and then, suddenly, you find them in Florence. The joy is indescribable.

Shopping in Florence isn't just journeying through markets and boutiques;

  • It’s about forming deep connections with the city, the artisans, and the lovely people of Florence. It's a reflection of the city's rich historical tapestry, artistry, and warm Italian hospitality.
  • Every boutique, market, and shop you visit tells an engaging tale of Florence’s inheritance, celebrates its heritage, and creates memories worth a lifetime.
  • Every purchase you make in Florence is an opportunity to support a local business as well as bring home a piece of Florence's heritage. From artisanal ceramics to finely crafted leather goods, and from wine to cheese, the choice is phenomenal.

The Best Shopping Districts in Florence

Leather Market in FlorenceLeather Market in Florence

Via de' Tornabuoni

Shopping in this, the greatest shopping street in Florence, feels like stepping into a sartorial dream. Florence (and Milan) are the undisputed capitals of Italian fashion and here every store is a globally recognized brand of international renown such as Gucci, Ferragamo, and Cavalli - all of which originated in Florence.

You'll find a delightful blend of traditional craftsmanship and innovative designs, certain to elevate your style to new heights. To quote a local Florentine fashion maven: "The true essence of elegance is epitomized in Florence. The city lives and breathes fashion."

Mercato Centrale

Don't miss the historic Mercato Centrale. This popular market in Florence is a bustling hive of activity, offering everything from fresh produce to trinkets. The sights, sounds, and smells of the market are intoxicating—an assault on your senses that will leave you in complete awe.

You'll discover an array of stalls offering fresh produce, regional cheeses, cured meats, and handmade pasta. It's a sensory delight where the air is filled with the irresistible scents of truffles and herbs. Browsing through the market allows you to witness the Florentine love affair with food firsthand.

My Tip: No shopping trip in Florence would be complete without savoring its culinary delights. Tasty treats you'll want to try are panino al lampredotto, ribollita, and cantucci paired with vin santo.

Florence's Leather Market

Florence leather market

The world-famous leather market is the San Lorenzo Market, and no shopping trip to Florence should ever miss a visit here.

Picture this. The air smells distinctly of Italian leather and coffee, mingling with the wafting scent of freshly baked bread and croissants from the bars and pasticcerie located in the side streets. You don't know whether to have an espresso or cappuccino, a delicious pastry, or shop for leather.

My advice is to get here early, load up on energy with an early morning coffee and a pastry, and then begin the serious business of shopping.

This sprawling market is held in the streets outside of the Mercato Centrale, and it is the ideal spot to procure authentic Italian leather goods. Look carefully, though; some of the stalls selling "bargains" have cuts or ripped seams that aren't easily spotted.

If you are looking to buy a leather bag and want peace of mind knowing you are getting the best quality without designer prices, then I recommend a visit to Pelletteria Moretti at Via Verdi, 24r.

The Moretti family has been making bags here for well over fifty years, and the current owner, Walter Moretti, will not try to rip you off or sell you inferior quality; the honor of his family name means too much to him. He guarantees every bag he makes and sells. In the highly unlikely event that you later find an actual flaw, bring it back, and he will fix it or replace the bag. Plus, he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet.

Sant'Ambrogio Market

bicycle at the market

If you love markets, and who doesn't, then another great market is the Sant'Ambrogio Market, a local favorite and the oldest market in Florence, dating back to the 11th century. It is home to a wide variety of local and regional produce, meats, cheeses, and other food items. It opens from Tuesday to Saturday at 7 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. Get there early is my advice.

The Flea market at Piazza dei Ciompi

Antique dealers from all across the city sell here. These charming characters are fountains of knowledge, eager to share anecdotes about the intriguing items on display. Roaming this market feels like a treasure hunt through time, taking you on a magical journey through Italy's varied history.

Oltrarno

Oltrarno is a charming and historic district in Florence, Italy, located on the south side of the Arno River. It is known for its artistic heritage, authentic atmosphere, and vibrant artisan community. These are the neighborhoods you'll want to visit:

Santo Spirito

Renowned for its artisan workshops, you'll discover skilled craftsmen creating handmade leather goods, jewelry, and art the way they have for centuries. This area has a long tradition of craftsmanship, and you can often purchase unique, locally-made items. Explore the narrow streets around Santo Spirito to discover boutique shops and art galleries. You'll find a mix of contemporary and traditional art, clothing and accessories, goldsmiths, and jewelers.

San Frediano

Known for its historic goldsmith shops, you can find beautifully crafted jewelry, including traditional Florentine gold and silver pieces. Many of these shops have been passed down through generations.

The San Frediano neighborhood is also home to numerous antique shops, offering a range of vintage items from furniture to artwork. If you enjoy exploring unique and historic treasures, this area is a must-visit. San Frediano also features boutique clothing stores with a mix of contemporary and classic Italian fashion.

Not-to-Be Missed Shopping Treats in Florence

shop on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in FlorencePonte Vecchio Bridge

Ponte Vecchio Shops

The historic Ponte Vecchio is famous for its jewelry shops, offering exquisite gold and silver creations. These longstanding establishments showcase the craftsmanship Florence is celebrated for. Prices can be a little steep, although many of the gold creations are absolutely stunning. Are they worth it? That's for you to decide.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

Established in 1612, this pharmacy is one of the oldest in the world. It sells luxurious perfumes, skincare products, and herbal remedies crafted with centuries-old techniques.

Pelletteria Moretti in Via Verdi,

Walter Moretti and family have been making high-quality leather bags for well over fifty years. The quality is incredible, and the prices are really good value.

Gucci Garden

Housed in the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, the Gucci Garden is a unique museum, boutique, and restaurant combination that showcases the fashion house's evolution and creativity.

Via Tornabuoni Boutiques

Although I can barely afford to buy a thing here, it is an experience. A must-visit for luxury fashion enthusiasts.

Procacci

Founded in 1885, Procacci is a historic delicatessen on Via Tornabuoni, famed for its truffle-infused specialties and a selection of fine wines.

Richard Ginori Boutique

Richard Ginori is an iconic Florentine porcelain manufacturer. The boutique showcases exquisite hand-painted ceramics, including tableware and decorative pieces, reflecting the city's artistic heritage.

Robiglio:

A historic bakery near Ponte Vecchio, Robiglio has been delighting locals and visitors with traditional Tuscan pastries, cakes, and biscuits since 1906. You will fall in love with these mouth-watering treats.

Man working in an Italian bakeryA baker at work in Florence

FAQ about Shopping in Florence

What are the best shopping areas in Florence?

Florence boasts several excellent shopping districts. The most popular include Via de' Tornabuoni, known for luxury brands like Gucci and Prada. San Lorenzo Market is famous for leather goods, while the Oltrarno district offers artisanal crafts and unique boutiques. You'll find all the best stores and districts in the article above.

Are there any traditional Tuscan products to buy in Florence?

Yes, Florence is renowned for its high-quality leather goods, including bags, shoes, and jackets. You can also find beautiful Florentine paper products, locally-made perfumes, ceramics, and exquisite handcrafted jewelry.

When is the best time for shopping in Florence?

The ideal time for shopping in Florence is during the sales seasons, which typically occur in January–February and July–August. This is when you can find significant discounts on designer items. However, Florence's shops are open year-round, and you can shop at any time.

Can I get a tax refund for my purchases in Florence?

Yes, if you are a non-European Union resident, you can often get a Value Added Tax (VAT) refund on your purchases. Be sure to ask for a Tax Free Shopping form when making your purchases and follow the necessary procedures at the airport before departing.

What should I be aware of when shopping for souvenirs in Florence?

While shopping for souvenirs, especially leather goods, ensure you buy from reputable stores to guarantee quality. Bargaining is not common in Florence, so prices are generally fixed, although you may be able to obtain a small discount.

Beware of counterfeit products, and always check the authenticity of high-end items.

Which market has clothes in Florence?

The San Lorenzo Market in Florence is one of the best places to find clothing. This bustling market features stalls selling a variety of clothing items, including T-shirts, scarves, and casual wear.

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