In a relatively small town that’s home to both the Gucci and Ferragamo fashion houses, as well as their namesake museums, it’s no wonder that shopping is an important part of anyone’s visit to Florence.
Located in the middle of the “Centro Storico” is the main shopping zone for international luxury brands, from the Piazza degli Strozzi towards the river along Via de’ Tornabuoni, as well as the other streets leading into this tiny plaza. You’re sure not to miss this area as you’ll pass by at least a few times during your stay in town, just due to the location being convenient to most of the major tourist stops.
For me, living in the world of the American dollar, this type of shopping makes more sense to do Stateside where I don’t have to worry about exchange rates. However, if you’re looking to blow out your budget or if money is no concern, then this tiny mecca of shopping is ideal, as no matter how much you buy, you’ll only be within a few blocks walk back to your luxury hotel, a huge plus on the convenience factor. For those of you who are slaves to fashion, the muesums are worth a visit.
Finding treasures that you can’t necessarily acquire in the States, or rather can’t acquire them for such a steal, well, that makes the shopping worthwhile, even with a bad exchange rate.
Here in Florence, the type of shopping that can be the most rewarding are the fine jewelry and the leather goods manufactured locally. Typically you’ll see these two industries in the most touristy locations around town including the jewelry central, The Ponte Vecchio and leather goods at the San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale Flea Market.
Although the prices at first glance resemble more of a robbery, these areas are all fair game for negotiation. Offer what you feel is a fair value for the product, whether a custom fit leather jacket or handmade leather shoes, or a really unique piece of estate jewelry, you’ll find it all.
Just remember, many of the vendors carry similar merchandise, so it doesn’t hurt to walk away initially. You can always go back, and hopefully to a better price.