Florence is genuinely rich in shopping opportunities both from the point of view of quality and of quantity, not to mention variety. Some tend to believe, for instance, that Florence is only the second best shopping spot in Italy after Milan in terms of fashion clothing. However, there are other features which delineate the shopping identity of Florence, such as the fact that, provided they comply with certain conditions (to spend a little above 150 euro in the same day and to leave Italy within 3 months from the purchase), tourists coming to Florence from outside the European Union can benefit from the VAT return. The only prohibitive aspect with respect to shopping concerns tourists’ restriction of buying from unauthorized sellers. There are certain hotspots where such street vendors usually cluster, mainly, the San Lorenzo market, halfway between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Republica, and nearby Ponte Vecchio.

With respect to variety, there is an overwhelming range of favorite products to be purchased in Florence, beginning with books and toys to designers’ clothes, jewelry, artistic products, antiques and foodstuffs, not to mention wine.

Shopping on Via de’ Tornabuoni

Via de’ Tornabuoni is deemed the main thoroughfare clustering the best of fashion clothes, but if in search of other venues replete with the so-called alta moda (high fashion) products, tourists should also check out Via della Vigna Nuova, Via Roma, Via de’ Pecori and Piazza Strozzi. Unexpectedly pleasant surprises may be delivered by Via dei Calzaiuoli, Via Speziali, Via de’ Cerretani, Via del Corso and Via Calimala. Gucci, Armani, Enrico Coveri and Pucci, as well as Ferragamo, are well represented by shops and stores stretching along Via Tornabuoni, whereas a stroll on Via Roma offers the opportunity of coming across the best of Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana, as well as Issey Miyake, all clustered in the same venue, namely, Luisa Via Roma. Piazza Strozzi is home to Emporio Armani, where outlet is at its best with respect to this brand in fashion. Piazza Antinori is great for its Loretta Caponi branch. Connoisseurs know the products of this designer are worth every penny and effort. La Rinascente, located in Piazza della Republica, is a major department store with Versace, Zegna, Ferre brands on the sixth floor.

Florence and Tuscany in general, for that matter, are renowned for their leather products: jackets, gloves, shoes, purses. Piazza Pitti is where Versace purses can be found marketed in Anna, a store reputed for its fine and classy leather products. Ferragamo shoes and footwear can be found on Via de’ Tornabuoni, but Via Santo Spirito is also recommendable for handmade shoes and for cobbling. Beltrami is a renowned brand in leather products, and it can be found in Via della Vigna Nuova, whereas high quality leather gloves are to be spotted in Via Guicciardini, should tourists decide to visit the Madova Gloves shop.

Shopping for Jewellery

Furthermore, handmade jewels are also a mark of Florence, the capital of Tuscany being world renowned for its 400 years old and solid tradition promoted and kept alive by its goldsmiths and silversmiths. The hub of jewelry trade is, undeniably, Ponte Vecchio, where the eye catching jewelry workshops and shops yield a source of major shopping thrills. Window shopping might prove to be just as rewarding when it comes to jewels in Florence, since such fine works of art come, undeniably, at a price. Melli, Piccini and Mannelli, as well as Luca Benfaremo are the chief names which top the bill on Ponte Vecchio, offering exquisite high quality craftsmanship and products. On the other hand, Via della Vigna Nuova is where a Mario Buccellati branch can be found, whereas enthusiasts of Angela Caputi can find her extensive range of products on Borgo San Jacopo.

Shopping for Art and Antiques

Art and antique trade too is a thriving branch in Florence, which is no wonder, given the rich cultural past of Florence which, besides being substantiated by the commonplace tourist objectives (museums, historic edifices, as well as religious establishments), keeps on fueling a trade of this kind, evidencing its fertility. Tourists who want to take pride in their fair share of Renaissance remnants should head for Via Maggio where some of the most noteworthy names are Gallori-Turchi and Guido Bartolozzi Anticheta. Gianfranco Luzzeti is yet another exceptional alternative in Borgo San Jacopo. All in all, despite the ever-present suspicion of fake, reputed traders do not afford to degrade by such scams, which is why tourists should know authenticity comes at a price.

Shopping for Books and Prints

Book and art print trade in Florence yields yet another fine shopping opportunity. Via Cavour is where Feltrinelli is located, a venue which should be visited if in search of an excellent selection of foreign langue books. BM is just as recommendable if happing to pass around the corner of Borgo Ognissanti and Piazza Goldoni. Marbled paper, another specific tradition of Florence, is to be bought at Guilo Giannini e Figlio and at Parione, located in Piazza Pitti and Via del Parione, respectively.

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