There is a large leather market in the San Lorenzo area of Florence, located 5 -10 mins walk from the Duomo.
Here you can browse through stall after stall of handbags, leather jackets, belts etc and other clothing and gifts.
I have been to the market a few times and it has always been really crowded - so please keep your belongings close to you!
What to buy: Leather goods of course....well I think they are all leather....though some items are sooooo cheap compared to the "proper" shops.
My sister had fallen in love with a leather jacket in a shop that was a few hundred euros. Then she saw an "identical" jacket at the market for around 80 euros - sold!!!
No one back home needs to know anymore than "this is the jacket I bought in Florence"!!
Handbags were good too....I was tempted but a lack of spare room in my suitcase held me back!!
What to pay: Alot cheaper than the shops - just be careful of the quality you are buying.
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.
I have been to Florence three times and all three times I have loved the San Lorenzo market. I do not even need to buy anything, I just love to be there.
What to buy: Leather, I wish I would have come home with a new jacket.
What to pay: 100-200 euros
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.
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.
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.
This market is fantastic - it sprawls and branches off, with goods from leather to gaudy souveneirs, ladies/mens fashion to jewellery. The leather shops here are fantastic, just be sure to bargain hard!! There are also great vintage clothing stalls and the best thing is that it surrounds the fantastic mercato centrale!! (refer to other tip!)
What to buy: Leather, jewellery, clothes, shoes, food, wine!!! The list goes on, I only wish I hadn't been so frugal and bough more!
What to pay: It ranges...but a lot of the items are middle of the range to bottom end in quality and prices...
After just returning from "beautiful" Florence I would say that San Lorenzo market is a convenient and fun way to shop in Italy. It is reasonably priced and one of the best deals out of all of the places that I visited in Italy. We were in Pisa (good leather prices but seedy people). Rome didn't have that much shopping and it was not cheap. The only thing about San Lorenzo market that I was surprised about was that the vendors are not all so quick to bargain with you. If you like something and they will not come down in price then GO TO ANOTHER VENDOR NEXT DOOR WHO WILL HAVE THE SAME THING AND WHO WILL BARGAIN WITH YOU. Once you say that you will pay in cash they should cut the price at least 2 Euros. If not, go somewhere else. There are so many vendors that you will find the item and price that you want.
What to buy: In Florence at San Lorenzo Market I would purchase leather gloves, pocketbooks, scarves (pashminas), silk ties, belts, and shoes. The jewelry (if you are from New York and go to Canal Street) is not a good deal. they sell most of it on the Ponte Vecchio bridge and it is not cheap. Wine is also a good deal. U.S. citizens can only bring home 1 or 2 bottles. So drink it while you are there. The Chianti is great and because it is so fresh there are no preservatives so you will not get a headache. It is also a great deal. 4 or 5 euros will buy you a great bottle of Chianti!!!!!
What to pay: Gloves with a cashmire lining should cost no more than 20 to 25 Euros. You may even get a better deal if you keep trying. Pashminas should cost about 15-20 Euros at San Lorenzo market. They have people selling them everywhere.
Located next to the San Lorenzo Church is a busy marketplace with over 100 stalls peddling leather goods, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, designer goods and designer knock offs at low prices.
What to buy: Leather good, clothes, jewelry
The whole San Lorenzo area is great all sorts of shopping from ties, leather goods and tacky t-shirts!
Of course be aware that not everything is at bargain prices and if you look around the corner from the prominent stalls you may find better prices. You can bargain a bit as well.
The large square building is the Mercato Centrale and is on two floors. Much of the downstairs is devoted to meat, cheese and general food shops, upstairs is mostly fruit and veg.
What to buy: Cheese - they will vacume pack for you!
Porcini mushrooms - check quality around the stalls.
New olive oil and maninated olives.
Fresh coffee (beans or ground).
Also have an expresso in one of the various small cafes - probably the cheapest and best you'll find in the area!
I almost forgot to mention the candied fruit (all sorts of varieties).
What to pay: Best prices for cheese, meat etc, unless you go somewhere more obscure!
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