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.
Little shop located in a lovely square that sells an interesting selection of all sorts of things to do with olives, their oil, and their wood.
What to buy: Soaps, lotions and creams, shampoos and conditioners, candles, table linens olive wood breadboards, olive oil bottles....
We found some of the best purse stalls in town to be at the Mercato Nuovo. A wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors. Of course the more you purchse from a single dealer, the better deal they will give you. Look for the dealer with the Pratesi purses. He's the only market stall in Florence that is authorized to sell these fine quality purses that sell for much more in the nice stores in town. Check out Pratesi at http://www.chinatownhi.com/leis.asp
What to buy: Leather purses, brief cases, meeting folios
What to pay: Could be a little, could be a lot
There are several medium and large supermarkets near the center of Florence where you can get great gourmet items for yourself or gifts. Most notably WINE. This is where locals buy there wine, so why not you? Great selection and prices that will make you faint when you compare them to your home country!
Here are a couple of supermarkets:
Ponte alla Vittoria / Via Pisana
Via Massacio (near Piazza Liberta)
3. Standa - open till 2100 and on Sunday!
Via Pietrapiana (in front of post office, near Teatro Verdi)
What to buy: Wine, wine and more wine. For Americans you can get cheap Cuban rum and smuggle it home in your carry-on. You can also get great cheeses, many of which will easily keep for 24+ hours. If you are from a country that doensn't like our cheese coming in - get the one packaged in the airsealed bag so the food police don't get wind of it. In addition, there are loads of sauces and pastas that you can only find in fancy-shmancy restaurants outside of Italy. Fill up your bag while you have the chance!!!
All supermarkets take credit cards and have cashpoints (ATMs) as well.
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
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.
It's a high end boutique that offers a great selection of exclusive brands such as Balenciaga, Luella, Chloé, Mulberry, Marc Jacobs, Yojhi Yamamoto and many many others....It is also a venue for special art/design/music exhibitions/events.
You can shop online!
What to buy: Everything is special there. Have a look at the toys section.
What to pay: A lot
There are many markets in Firenze. They seem to specialise in scarves, shawls, ties, handbags, wallets, sunglasses, t-shirts (football or tourist 'Firenze' t-shirts), rugs, paintings/drawings of Firenze and many other things.
As you can see, from the photo, the colours of the scarves and shawls are beautiful. I ended up buying one that had pink, red and a gold thread intertwining. They can be around EUR20-25, try your luck at bargaining if you think the price is too high. My friend was able to bargain for a pair of sunglasses and got the price down a bit.
The shop in Santo Spirito is also Angela Caputi's laboratory. She creates there high fashion statement pieces in dramatic colors and shapes.
What to buy: Coloured and original high fashion costume jewellery and other accessories (bags, umbrellas). In some shops also clothes are available.
Lovely shops selling original creations using unusual materials and bright colors. Clothes are very simple with a slightly masculine, oriental cut.
What to buy: Organza and velvet bed covers, maharaja cushions, multicolours organza pillow cases, linen tablecloths with napkins, hand painted cotton and muslin fabrics, bed spreads, quilts, velvet and organza clothes, nightgowns, shirts, embroidered scarves, muslin curtains, blue ceramic vases.
Lorenzo Villoresi is an artisan who is known all over the world for prestigious custom made fragrances. He uses spices, essences and essential oils from across the globe to create original perfumes.
What to buy: Perfumes
Around the stadium you’ll be able to buy every kind of Fiorentina-souvenir that you’re looking for. Shirts, hats, scarves, flags and so on. In at least the Curva Fiesole you’ll be able to buy official souvenirs from and for the ultrasgroups.
What to pay: 5-6 euro for a scarve. 10 euro for a matchshirt. 10 euro for a flag.
This beautiful little shop is also the artist's workshop. She makes her original creations right there at her counter, which also serves as the sales counter. I was so excited to find this shop, as I walked on my last morning in Firenze.
I couldn't resist buying the Pinochio puppet. I was entranced with a puppet I thought was a princess, from her dress and long hair. The artist told me she was the Blue Fairy, from Pinochio, so I knew had to buy her, too! Then how could I have them without Gepetto? I hadn't bought any puppets since I gave up preschool teaching, back in '97. But hers are so charming and not expensive for a handcrafted puppet.
I also took a handmade little jack-in-the-box home with me. He sits on my fireplace mantle now. Very Italian looking fellow, for only 22 Euros! This one is more an art object than a children's toy. Most of her dolls might be considered for adult collectors, too. Can you see the large, dressy witch "flying" on her broom in the window?! I'm sure this is for decorative use, not a toy.
I asked her how long she had been doing this. She said 22 years, but just opened the shop this year. So I hope she is very successful with her new shop and enjoys it, then she will still be there when you look for her! Or when I return again someday. . .
The photo I took, from right in front of her little shop, has the reflection of a tourist standing near me & of me taking the photo. She didn't take credit cards, but there is an ATM just up the street.
In this airy shop you will find very modern handmade items of glass and ceramics and some other types. Several artists are represented. Everything is so beautiful. The moment I walked in the door, I knew I would buy something! It is that kind of place!
I bought myself a small Murano glass pendant, of very modern design. I love it!! Besides jewelry, they have items for your house, too. The young mother of a cute baby boy helped me. They were the ones on duty that day. She didn't speak much English, but I think she said she was one of the artists, but not the one who made my piece.
This shop is right up the street from the Fiorini Letizia, which I wrote about earlier this week, in another Tip! In fact I discovered my pendant on the way to the ATM ( so I could buy my toys!!) ! What a great day to shop it was! Firenze is definitely a place to shop.
What to pay: Expect to pay at least Euros 25.
Via Tornabuoni has some of the most fashionable and expensive stores in the world. Probably will not appeal to the younger crowd because these stores cater to an older group and therefore the styles tend to be a bit conservative.
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