Florence, the cradle of the renaissance, the city of art and architecture, the Medici’s and Da Vinci, is also a great place to shop. Tour Italy Now shares some of our favorite boutiques and artisan workshops to go shopping in Florence.
Lorenzo Villoresi is an Italian perfumer who creates some of the most sought after scents in the world. Working out of his family’s 16th century palazzo across the river river Arno from the center of Florence Inspired by travels to the middle east and his Tuscan home, the ready to wear fragrances, cradles and home items have notes of black pepper and coriander as well as wild lavender and fennel. For something truly unique and extravagant you can have a scent created just for you. There is a small Academy of the Art of Perfume in the palazzo; The world’s first interactive Atelier, dedicated to Essences and Perfumes.
Santa Maria di Novella
Dominican monks have been mixing botanical concoctions from plants grown inside their monastery since the 1200’s. Located on a side street just around the corner from Florence’s main train station and the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella is the Officino Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Inside an elaborately decorated building filled with frescos and vaulted ceilings shop for perfumes, soaps, elixirs and the most elegant toothpaste you will ever buy. Have a non-shopper history buff with you? No problem. There is a small museum attached to the shop that is free to visit. On display is the glass and ceramic ware and large copper pots once used in the production process. There is a library of ancient texts and an enchanting herb garden.
Florence is one of the best places in the world to purchase leather products. Leather has been tanned and processed into bags and shoes since the middle ages. For budget purchases head to Mercato di San Lorenzo and Mercato Nuovo. For higher quality good made from italian leather and by Italian artisans we recommend Cellerini and the Scuola del Cuoio.
Cellerini is widely regarded as the most elegant leather goods store in Florence. Come here for classic handbags and briefcases. Colorful cell phone cases and wallets make great gifts and souvenirs.
Leather craftsmen work inside the monastery of Santa Croce creating handbags, wallets, belts and leather bound books at the Scuola del Cuoio.
Want to learn more about the craft? The Scuola del Cuoio offers courses ranging from a few hours to a full year.
Come to this kitchen shop near the Duomo for Richard Ginori ceramics, a tiny Bialetti Moka coffee pot and a wide range of Alessi designs. Small ravioli stamps in a variety of shapes or a wooden gnocchi board are light and packable gifts for your pasta loving friends.
How about some culture for the shopaholic? The fashion houses of both Ferragamo and Gucci have museums in the center of Florence.
The Ferragamo museum’s footwear collection documents the entire span of Salvatore Ferragamo’s career, from his return to Italy in 1927 to 1960 the year he died.
The Gucci museum has a permanent collection of handbags and shoes and fashion from the beginning of the companies history in 1921. There is also a section dedicated to contemporary art with several different exhibits a year.
Looking for more about shopping in Italy? Read all about the many designer outlets near Florence here.