If you scamper off to visit San Lorenzo and Medici Chapels, spare some time to cruise the outdoor market around the church. Purveyors of leather goods, scarves, T-shirts, jewelry, shoes and assorted tchotchkes line both sides of Via dell’Ariento on Tuesdays through Saturdays and is a great place to pick up reasonably-priced treasures to bring home for yourself or the folks back home. This is a crowd-heavy spot so do hang onto your valuables, and please heed posted warnings not to purchase illegal knockoffs from wandering hawkers or those with goods displayed on the pavement.
What to buy: The market is particularly heavy on Italian-made leather products: bags, wallets, belts, bound journals, jackets, etc.
As you walk down the streets of Florence, you have no lack of shopping opportunities. Not only are there lots of shops, but there are also street markets that sell just about anything you are looking for. Many of these vendors seem to sell leather goods, scarves, and tourist items (like those boxer shorts with Michelangelo’s David strategically placed on them or handbags that scream “Firenze” in multicolors).
In front of our hotel was the San Lorenzo market, which was open every day of the week. Vendors have the same locations each day and we would chat with them as we waited for our classmates to join us for the morning excursion. According to our instructor, the best deals from these vendors were the lined leather gloves. Others in my class purchased scarves and jackets. At least one classmate had to return to the vendor for a quality issue, but other than that, there were no complaints about the items or the prices. Prices are rather competitive between vendors and they will haggle with you on the larger items.
Just down the street from San Lorenzo is the large building that houses the San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale, Florence’s central market. This indoor market is open Monday through Friday from 0700 to 1400 and Saturdays from 0700 to 1700. I wandered around this market on Saturday morning and enjoyed just watching the locals do their shopping, lining up for meats, cheeses, produce, or breads. It had a loud, boisterous atmosphere as the shopkeepers called out to their customers about daily specials.
Near Orsanmichele and Piazza della Repubblica is the Mercato Nuovo, held under a old loggia. This sells the same things as the other markets, but it is in a very central location for tourists. And be sure to rub the boar’s snout while there!
While shopping around in Florence, you’ll probably see Pinocchio and his long nose for sale in a number of shops. Find out why in my next tip about Pinocchio.
We walked through this open air market a few times just to browse on our way to other things. It was actually nice just to flow along with the rest of the bargain hunters through the endless stalls and down side streets in all directions. This is a great place to pick up gifts and souvenirs.
It can be a tougher to barter here vs other markets in the world. Some vendors just won't budge. But you have to realize that if one vendor won't bend another one two stalls down has the same exact merchandise. You can't be timid when it comes to bargaining. They do this for a living and they know when they have you. It can't hurt to try to save yourself a few bucks.
What to buy: The main purchases you can make here are of leather goods, handbags, jewelry, knick knacks, clothing, belts, and scarves, although there is much more. The quality and assortment of goods ranges quite a bit and prices can vary between 2 to 200 e. I definitely walked away with a very cheap (price and quality) mini statue while my friend left with a gorgeous and expensive leather coat.
I love the central market, but I never buy leather goods there. The quality if not the best. But you can pick up some beautiful silk scarves that are inspired by Hermes, Chanel, Ferragamo, and other designers that are really beautiful. Make sure the hems are rolled.
My favorite stores in the San Lorenzo Market are Belinda's for scarves and BIVA for capes and pashimas. Belinda's is a stall and BIVA is an actual store behind a stall. I do not have the exact address but it is on the same side as the central market . Belinda's is on the side of the church.
What to buy: You can also buy beautiful capes and pashimas in fabulous colors. I picked up several the last time I was there. I wanted to bring more home, but I was already over the weight limit on Easy Jet.
The exception to my no buy leather rule are the gloves. They come in all kinds of bright colors. I would buy those because they are not very expensive and unless they are black or dark brown they are going to be dirty in two wearings and ready for the trash anyway. So I call them disposable gloves.
The florentine paper products are also nice.
What to pay: I paid less than 20 euros for the silk scarves.
The Mercato di San Lorenzo probably has the best leather and clothes bargains in town. Most visitors to Florence make a stop here. The vendors are not overly-aggressive and all I encountered spoke English. You can pick up all kinds of leather goods - coats, wallets, belts, etc, souvenirs, hats, ties, t-shirts, jewellery, etc.
The quality was good - but do compare quality and prices between stalls as they do vary. I bought a perfect small leather backpack-purse that has served me well for years. A good place to wander, the market is open all day.
The covered portion of the market sells brightly colored fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods.
While in the area be sure to visit the church of San Lorenzo/Cappelle Medicee.
2nd Sunday March - 1st Sunday November: daily 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Monday after 1st Sunday November - Saturday before 2nd Sunday March: Tuesday - Sunday 9:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
This is a huge market! Here you find souvenirs, leather, clothing, shoes, David's memorabilia.... and so on.
I didn't buy anything, I just walked along it and took a view of the stuff being sold in there.
There are boxers with David's middle area printed on them, but I could see a few printed in high dimensions!! you may guess what I'm talking about hehe!
Overall it was a great place to hang out and meet some locals. Italian guys are very cute, friendly and always helpful with the toursts.
What to buy: Boots! my sister was about to buy a pair of black ones, they were expensive but if you can afford it, go ahead!
What to pay: Prices were so so, of course depending on what you want to buy. Just make sure the product has good quality.
The Market of san Lorenzo, situated in the center of the city, is the prefered destination of tourists. Here you find lots of staff, bags and jackets made of leather, jewellry, souvenirs, the famous vetenian mask, Murano´s glass and much more. The market open in the morning about 9 am and closes at 7 pm aprox.
El mercado de San Lorenzo está situado en el centro de la ciudad y es el preferido por los turistas. Aquí encontraras de todo desde bolsos y chaquetas de pieles, platería, souvenirs, las famosas mascaras del carnaval de venecia, cristal de Murano y muchas mas cosas. El mercado está desde por la mañana hasta las 7 de la tarde.
This is not a shop it is more a street fair that has everything for sale. I bought a wonderful wool cape for 30 euro. Everything is available from shoes to clothes to accessories to briefcases and toys and just about everything you could ever want. Wonderful place to bargain.
We shopped in the San Lorenzo market for hours, bargaining over leather and jewelry like I never bargained before. The prices were very good considering we seen some of the same jewelry and purses in Venice for twice as much. I wish I would have gotten more, but now I know for the next time!
What to buy: Leather is everywhere and can be very pricey in the stores versus the outdoor market vendors. Either way it all looked great to me and I found some awesome wallets and purses for myself and my family. Jewelry is also plentiful, mainly murano glass and costume jewelry. They had a lot of scarves and neck ties available as well for very reasonable prices.
What to pay: Prices vary depending on the quality of the product. You could get leather coats for 500 Euro or 100 Euro. I found a cute leather purse for 24 Euro and wallets for 20 Euro each. The murano jewelry ranged from 5-15 euro each.
San Lorenzo Market is a fun market filled with all sorts of goods. It is a good place to buy souvenirs. They have plent of tshirts, hats, jewelry, and other souvenir-type things. One thing I did notice is that there were some vendors who were selling Venitian/Murano Glass jewelry in bulk, 3 pieces for 10 euros. The quality of some of those pieces were not as great as what you would get in Venice. If you are going to Venice, I would get it in Venice. Some of the other sellers who were not selling in bulk had better quality Venitian jewelry and it was resonably priced. It may not be as great a deal or the variety that you would get in Venice, but if you are not going to Venice then the stuff in Florence isn't a bad deal. My recommendation would be the leather and the Italy/Florence paraphernalia.
What to buy: Florence is known for its leather. And the San Lorenzo market is a good place to buy your leather goods. The vendors have excellent prices on their goods and some of the stuff is of excellent quality. There is a woman who sells close to the church there. I am unsure of her name, but her stuff is excellent quality and she has great prices. My friend bought a couple purses from her and a wallet for a great deal. The reason that my friend went to her was because she saw some Italians and some other locals going to her to get their leather. And my friend figured that she was pretty reliable.
What to pay: Many vendors sell similar things to each other, so they will gladly bargain with you. If you are buying more than one of something, you will most likely be able to talk down the individual price of each as well.
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