This grocer quickly became my favorite stop for a quick lunch or light evening meal when I didn’t feel like going out to a café. It was a medium sized grocery store (but much smaller than what many of us are used to) that had just about everything you could want. I would come in here to pick up fruit and cheese as well as juice for a light meal. Happily, I found out early in the week that if you go in at about 7 pm, the baguettes are fresh and warm!
There is a good meat selection and a service deli for cheeses and other delights. In the back is small wine and beer section, laundry detergents, and cookies/candies.
Be sure to bag and weigh your produce before going to the register – look for the number on the sign where you get the item and push that number on the scale. It will give you a sticker to put on the produce bag.
Take you own bags if you don’t want to pay for them – only eight cents each, but if you have bags, then you can save a little bit. I found that most items here were cheaper than the DeSpar shops (at least the things I bought).
The grocer is located around the corner from the Medici Chapel and not far from the train station on Via Del Melarancio. They are closed on Sundays but otherwise stay open later into the evening.
In the afternoon, we were heading to the other side of the Arno River. We crossed over the oldest bridge in Florence, and the one with the character: the Ponte Vecchio.
This is a wonderful little shop that sells quality second hand (and new) art books in English at really good prices. Our instructor, who lives in Florence, made a special trip to point it out to us. After looking around, we found our textbook in there, brand new, for half of what we paid for it. Needless to say, after that we were sold on the place!
They have paperbacks and hardbacks, not just art books, but all kinds of books; and the titles are continuously changing.
The shop is located really close to the Cathedral at the end of Via delle Oche, not too far from the Bargello. They are open Monday through Friday from 9:00–7:30 and on Saturdays 10:30-7:30.
I had to get back to the hotel for our class lecture and I spent all my time taking photos, so I quickly grabbed some fruit and cheese at the Conrad City, a local grocer that I frequently used while in Florence.
You’ll see DeSpar around town – it is a quick convenience store (like a 7-11) where you can get foods and necessities quickly. I liked to stop in here for water and soda since they are cheaper here than in a café or bar. They also have cheeses, meats and breads, but if you want a larger selection, then you should head to a larger grocer or the markets.
NOTE: They typically have a refrigerator with cold sodas and water by the door as you first walk in. These are more expensive than going to the back of the store and getting the non-refrigerated one. If you have a refrigerator in your hotel, this is a great option to take back with you and chill for the next day.
The DeSpar I went to was at the corner near the front of the San Lorenzo Church on Piazza di San Lorenzo. They were open pretty late in the evening – pretty much whenever I went they were open. If you take your own bag, you won’t have to pay for a bag (not expensive - about 12 cents, but if you don’t have to, why buy it?).
After a good night’s sleep, we got an early start – lots of territory to cover today in Florence. We started with a walk over to the Church of Santa Croce. While in the piazza in front of the church, we had a look at the homes near Santa Croce.
Being the world’s worst clothes shopper and with limited time I was keen to bypass tourist traps so booked Maren in thinking I had nothing to lose. I’m happy to report miracles do happen. 2 hours in, and I had armfuls of purchases. Maren leads you to great shops and has found owners who take the time to help, not hinder the experience. Remember that? Maren has a quiet way of offering advice when needed, perfectly balanced with allowing you space to think. Added bonus - she is a fun, incredible woman.
What to buy: I was after great boots, leather coats and jewellery, but if you take a look at www.florenceshop4it.com you can see this service covers many other items depending on what you are after....bags, scarves, clothes. It covers men, women, and I am sure Chia has additional advice for your pooch should you require it.
What to pay: Maren will guide you to stores based on your budget.
This is a very colourful toys and candy store in Via dei Neri.
What to buy: They have ecofriendly toys, educational and creative toys; it is a paradise for children ..and not only. Wide variety of candy and lollipops!
After arriving in Florence late morning from Rome, checking into our hotel we started to explore the city of Florence. Not wanting to waste any part of our brief one day visit we decided we should just grab a quick bite to eat when we were hungry and have our big sit down meal of the day later in the evening when our touring was complete.
So we walked around a bit, getting a little turned around at first before finding our way to the main part of Florence.
We saw a couple of places to buy a quick sandwich, but nothing really appealed to us. Then we happened upon the 99 cent store. As we are familiar a bit with the American versions of these stores such as the Dollar Store and Dollar Tree and know they will have some food items along with everything else at a rather inexpensive price we sauntered in for a quick look.
What to buy: Sure enough they had a couple of food items which would get us through the afternoon.
For me a bag of chips and a soda, each for 99 cents.
For Sue a package of crackers and cheese and an iced tea.
A few blocks away we saw another similar store, but this one had the audacity to charge 1 cent more for their items.
Total saved because we came across the 99 cent store before the Euro store a whopping 4 cents.
As the old saying goes a penny saved is a penny earned. And I guess we could say a cent saved is a cent earned.
What to pay: 99 Cents or 1,00 Euros
THE MALL - http://www.themall.it (Ph.:055 8657775)
opening hours: 10AM-7PM
How to get there:
Train - from Santa Maria Novella Station to Rignano Sull’Arno (Euro 3) continue by Taxi to Leccio
note: you have to call the taxi from station - Taxi the Mall Ph. number:3397012024; 3482518887
+/- Euro 20 (taxi can fit in untill 8 persons)
Shuttle bus service:Have to book 1 day in advance,Price=Euro 25,Shopping time in The Mall 3 hours,Min. people:2,Departure:Mon-Sun 9.30 AM,2.30 AM Return: 1.30 PM,6.30 PM
Public transport: SITA bus (via S.Caterina da Siena,17 T:800 373760) Price Euro 3.10 @person 1 way.Mon-Sun:9AM,3PM.Mon-Sat:11AM,4PM.Mon-Friday 12.30 PM trip +/- 1 hour.
From the Mall to Florence: 12.45 PM,7 PM
BARBERINO DESIGNER OUTLET - http://www.mcarthurglen.it/barberino/en/the-outlet
How to get there:
Shuttle bus: http://www.mcarthurglen.it/barberino/en/outlet-information/location-and-travel
Florence to Outlet Red bus: 10AM,2.30PM [Bus stop in front in fron of number 44 - Levi's shop] between bata shoe shop & Piazza dell'Unita Italiana
Outlet to Florence:1.30PM,6PM
Price: Euro 12 round trip
SITA Bus(via S.Caterina da Siena,17 T:800 373760) Price Euro 5 @person 1 way, Euro 9 round-trip.Fri-Sun:9.30A,2PM,4.30PM
From outlet to Florence: 12 PM,3PM,7 PM
SITA bus to Barberino del Mugello via motorway,get off at the 1st stop after motorway exit,then walk for 10 min.
What to buy: min Euro 50 for a gucci shirt
This is a pharmacy where you can buy over the counter medicines. I am a traveller that gets dizzy especially when I am riding a bus and not seated in the front seat!
I came here to buy dramamine, and some toiletries.
This is a convenience store/gasoline/rest stop that I had seen while I was travelling from Rome to Siena. Our bus stopped here and bought some snacks. This is where I bought a cover of my license plate that says "Italia". I also bought a wallet here while my co-travellers stopped and ate pizza here.
What to buy: Souvenir items and food.
What to pay: Twwenty five Euros
I usually don't buy those cheap-trash touristy souveniers which can be seen in all touristic destrinations all over the world. A plastic copy of gondola or some similar "souvenier" might attracted me for a second but not longer then that. I prefer to buy something more valuable, like artisan works for instance.
What to buy: What could be more appropriate as a souvenier from Firenze then a golden ring, bracelet or neck-chain made in the workshops of artisan goldsmiths at Ponte Vecchio. It is a kind of gift you'll remember for your liftime. Of course, the gold is not cheap in Firenze, but you live only once.
Gilli Restaurant is amazing, it serves excellent coffees, cappucinos, and real espressos, great chocolates are to be found , all hand made and wrapped impeccably.
What to pay: Very expensive, a small normal box of chocolates (16 pieces) will set you back at least 20 euros.
Fresh fruit is avalible all over Florence. Even in winter!! Little shops can be found everywhere.
What to buy: Fresh Fruit is a very very cheap and healthy option for something satisfying to eat. Because no one is preparing any thing the cost is low and the nutrative value is high. Look for things you do not find at home and that are local. The muscat grape will blow your socks off.
What to pay: The LEAST EXPENSIVE FOOD YOU WILL EAT IN ITALY
This little shop moved from the university area to this fantastic location in the historic center a few years ago. This also seemed to free up space to improve their selection. The staff all speak English and are very friendly and helpful.
This is the best source for a variety of English-language books in the city and - even better - is simply a neat, well-run bookstore.
What to pay: The cost per book is very reasonable and varies based on condition (for used books).
There is a shortage of any supermarkets or grocery stores in Florence, which made it really difficult to stick to our budget plans of making our own lunch / picnics every other day, especially as meals were so expensive in Italy. That's why this shop was so important. Be quick though, these shops dont stay open late.
What to buy: Bread, cold meats, cheese, fruit and veg, crisps, pastries etc.
What to pay: From 5 euro for a few items for a picnic or light meal.
The shop itself is charming and lovely, a real gem. The store owners are Americans that have been living here in Florence for years and are wonderful to chat with.
What to buy: An inspiring array of unique beading delectables and designer jewelry! This beautiful shop has everything for fai-da-te (Do-it-yourself) beading as well as wonderful finished jewelry. They also make their own glass beads and have a very cool glass studio just down the street where they offer glass beadmaking courses.
What to pay: The prices are quite good, especially when you see and feel the quality of their products.
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