Boscovivo is a fabulous shop located in the heart of Florence.
It sells Tuscan delicacies - everything from olive oils, truffles, mushrooms, jams, sauces and dressings, and of course a good selection of Tuscan wines.
It was conveniently located close to our hotel, and we were tempted in one day by the taste testing being offered....
What to buy: We bought a huge bag of delicious Biscotti - which I took back to share with my workmates in London....and ended up eating most of myself as the were too good!
Also, we bought this small back of almonds covered in what looked like cocoa powder - Alex declared them the tastiest chocolate covered almonds he had ever had.
What to pay: Well, it isn't cheap, but they sell very nice quality goods.
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.
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.
Historic Shop just a few steps from the Duomo, opened since 1860.
What to buy: Traditional Tuscan meats, cheeses from all regions, Paté, sauces, extra vergin olive oil, Chianti Wines, coffees, chocolates and fresh pasta.
The Vintage selection is an open-to-the-public event featuring quality vintage held at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence two times a year, during Pitti Immagine trade fairs
(January and June).
What to buy: You can find there lots of nice things such as dresses, knits, shoes, bags, belts, hats, scarves, costume jewelry, military clothing, denim and sportswear, for men and women. Most of the merchandise, including furnishing and home accessory collectibles, date from the Thirties to the Eighties.
What to pay: Everything is quite expensive, but if you are lucky an patient you could also find some good bargains!
La Corte is a cosy contemporary art gallery in Santo Spirito district, held by a very nice redhead lady, Rosanna. Many interesting expositions are organised every year, especially of emergent artists.
What to buy: From photos, to painting, environmental installation art, sculptures, prints and lots of other different stuffs (Depending on the artist's specialisation).
What to pay: Very variable
This was an old frames shop which used to sell old toys and uniforms, too. Now it has been converted in a Vintage shop and it is one of the nicest one here! Prices are good and the variety of stuff is very interesting.
What to buy: Military uniforms and mementos - vintage accessories, shoes, bijoux, handbags, old toys.
3 of the coolest research shop in Florence. Gerard is more sophisticated (Balenciaga, Chloé......), Gerard Loft is more "street style" - also kid's wear (Evisu, Marc Jacobs, Levi's Vintage, Levi's Red, Pringle of Scotland, Adidas Limited ....) and the third one is their new born outlet.
Gerard Loft : Via dei Pecori, 34-40 P 055.282491 www.gerardloft.com
Gerard: via Vacchereccia 18- 20 P 055.215942
Outlet: Via Lambertesca
The Scuola del Cuoio makes top quality leather goods in the tradition of the monks that started the trade at the Basilica di Santa Croce. They now make goods for sale to the public. Everything from jackets and wallets to boxes and key chains. You can also watch the artisans at work and they will also personalize your purchases with gold leaf lettering for an additional fee. You know what you're getting when you purchase something here, unlike out at the stalls around the Basilica di San Lorenzo.
What to buy: Leather goods
What to pay: Anywhere from 10 to 1000 Euro depending on what you purchase
Probably the biggest (and cheapest) market in town! Here you can find almost everything you need: fruits, vegetables, clothing, general groceries, houseware stands, antiquities, telephone cards...everything!!
Only one problem: it's open exclusively on Tuesday morning
All over Florence you will see impromptu markets popping up from one minute to the next. THe mearhandise sold is naturally black market goods and the peddlers are invariably immigrants from Sri Lanka, Morocco, Senegal (especially) and China.
What to buy: You can find the following items:
++Latest DVD's and CD's - they will let you try the CD in a CD player if you have one.
++Designer handbags, wallets and accessories
++Those terrible bouncing Mickey Mouses that move to the music
Grasshoppers made from reeds (Chinese only)
++Name written in Chinese
++Pictures painted with spraypaint (poor guy destroying his braincells for a couple of Euros)
++Eturscan art reproductions (hard to find)
What to pay: Everything is negotiable.
This little shop is very close to Santa Croce.
What to buy: I love the many-colored ceramic dishes and misc home decor pieces. The elderly couple that work here are polite and kind. I try to mix and match patterns from the huge selection on the floor of the back room.
What to pay: I always found this to be a great deal - about 10 euro for a unique plate or bowl. Others I was traveling with found pieces other places that were less expensive, so it's a matter of taste.
Florence’s answer to Foyle’s/ Borders. A three-level bookstore with internet (cheap internet 2.50 Euros per hour!) and a café on the first (2nd US) floor. Large selection of English language books as well as extensive selection of travel guides in English and Italian for Italy and rest of world. It is a great place to have a coffee (at normal prices 80 Eurocents) and sit down, puruse art books and people watch. The store is open seven days awake until midnight. If you have a laptop, sit by the coffee bar, there is a plug on the side (very few people realize this)
I have to say that this is the most common sight of Florence...besides that sculptures ,statues and beautiful house . Yes , its LV or Lousi Vuitton oppss ..its the Louis Vuitton actually ...and along a 30 metres stretch of small street , you see like 10 stalls selling them ...all sprawled on the floor ...so if next time anybody in VT is looking for fake LVs etc etc perhaps we can tell them ....after all getting a bag in Florence means ...phew !
Compai is a special vintage shop, better known as a "garment clinic".
There you can have your old t-shirt simply rehabilitated thanks to the good job of a qualified staff of artists and tailors!
What to buy: Vintage + used/rehabilitated
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