Souvenirs & Mementos
Though you’ll encounter the mainstream in Florence’s shopping scene, you need look no further than the local butcher, baker and (gleaming silver) candlestick maker to see that the old city’s admiration for time-honored technique is alive and well.
One of Florence’s simplest pleasures lies in wandering down her narrow red, black or blue-numbered streets, discovering this master cobbler or that one-of-a-kind seamstress. And while the internationally known fashion houses are well worth a visit, it’s the lesser known true originals who will make you happy to part with your Euros, and maybe even a little piece of your heart.
Home & Gifts
Via Porta Rossa 99R | +39 055 289094
This third-generation silver shop is home to a dazzlingly beautiful array of instant heirloom tableware, serving pieces and assorted bijoux. The pieces are both special and accessible which makes for the best kind of retail experience, and unexpected details (hollow turned handles, sculpted designs) charm their way into your carry-on. (The hand-turned pie server we brought home was the star of last Thanksgiving’s table.)
Via dei Conti, 14 | +39 055 291296
You may not realize it yet, but when you imagine shopping in Florence, you imagine shopping at Ceramiche Ricceri. A vibrant symphony of hand-painted fruits, flowers and historic icons appears on all manner of pottery: bunches of purple grapes on a hand-molded pitcher, a Renaissance bird on a golden serving plate, and our favorite bright yellow lemons on cerulean soup bowls. This is the kind of artistry that thrives in Florence, the 8th-generation Ricceri family practicing a trade as Italian as the Tuscan table.
Giulio Giannini e Figlio
Piazza de’ Pitti, 37 | +39 055 212621
The Florentine tradition of marbled papers and hand-stitched bookbindery are alive and well at Giulio Giannini & Figlio. Aside from being one of the most welcoming little shops in the city, their mixed media journals and pretty stationery have made our desks a much more sophisticated place.
Via dei Servi, 72 | +39 055 291497
Even if you are only marginally interested in the kitchen arts, this teeming culinary bazaar will inspire your inner chef. This being Italy, you are naturally drawn to the comprehensive array of pasta machines, cutters and tools, and may just be inspired to have one shipped to meet you back at home.
Le Telerie Toscane
Sdrucciolo dei Pitti, 15R | +39 055 216177
It is fitting that Giulia Gramigna’s linen emporium is just steps from a palace. Her wares showcase a skill and finery of the sort you’d expect from someone who studied under master embroideress Loretta Caponi. A rainbow of rich jacquard table dressing (runners, cloths, mats, napkins), bedding and kitchen linens adorns the shop, and though the workmanship is delicate, these are goods that can (and do) stand up to daily wear.
Specialty Clothing, Shoes & Accessories
Piazza degli Antinori, 4/red | +39 055 211074
Loretta Caponi’s namesake boutique is as much a destination for exquisite bed, bath and table linens as it is for light-as-air lingerie, nightgowns and robes. Caponi is the master of delicate embroidery so her designs are covetable collector’s items bound to up the chic factor in your lingerie drawer or linen closet.
Via di Santa Lucia, 24/red | +39 055 293291
Tucked into one of Florence’s quieter cobbled streets stands Vivian Saskia’s irresistible, elfin workshop. Beautifully handcrafted shoes dangle from the ceiling as a playful, avant-garde display, while the wooden lasts of her well-heeled worldwide clientele crowd shelves lining the shop’s rear wall. In a city filled with skilled shoemakers, the flame-haired Saskia’s enthusiasm for her craft stands out; she would no doubt deliver the Ferrari of shoes to the extremely lucky man in your life.
Scuola del Cuoio
Via S. Giuseppe, 5R | +39 055 244533
Established in post-World War II Italy, this ‘leather school’ in the Santa Croce monastery is the most sensory kind of retail therapy. Browse masters’ wares as they work before your eyes, a generous intersection of past and present. We snagged all the leather goods (and gifts) we could stash in our suitcases, including beautiful Bottega Veneta-esque travel accessories.
Borgo SS. Apostoli, 32R | +39 055 284126
A dazzling menagerie of museum-inspired jewelry you’re actually dying to wear, Tharros Bijoux is a gem — pun intended. We could have happily spent hours perusing the intricate rings, hefty necklaces, vintage-inspired earrings and brooches, and the smattering of pretty home decor pieces before finally making our sure-to-be treasured selection.
High Fashion & Ready-To-Wear
Via dè Tornabuoni, 4R-14R | +39 055 292123
By now, the Ferragamo name is now as synonymous with Florence as Medici. The boutique is equal parts modern and traditional, and luxuriously spacious so shoppers can properly appreciate each object’s beauty. Not surprisingly, the shoes are the center of attention and the stars of the show: dainty patent leather heels with grosgrain accents, rainbow stacked wedge heels, impeccably crafted men’s loafers… Salvatore’s legacy lives on.
Luisa Via Roma
Via Roma, 19/21R | +39 055 906 4116
Retail darling for socialites, fashion editors and street style bloggers alike, Luisa Via Roma is a Florentine shopping institution. Visiting the brick and mortar of one of the world’s most innovative sites is a kick: from larger-than-life Roman Catholic displays with domed ceilings and one of the best designer selections anywhere, you won’t want to miss this one.
Via de’ Tornabuoni, 22 | +39 055 265 8087
Nestled between Dolce & Gabbana and Celine, this sweet, blue shuttered shop houses the label’s trademark bright prints. Stock up on silk scarves, patterned swimwear and beach towels, and maybe even splurge on a street-smart dress or two.
Beauty & Specialty
Dolci & Dolcezze
Piazza Cesare Beccaria, 8R, Sant’Ambrogio | +39 055 234 5458
With its Tiffany blue exterior and delectable window displays, Dolci & Dolcezze appears good enough to eat. Fitting given that its fruit-topped cakes and tarts and world famous flourless chocolate cake are simply some of the best we’ve ever tasted. A bit off the beaten path, Dolci is the perfect excuse to get over to this side of town and indulge that sweet tooth.
Borgo Santa Croce 6, Santa Croce | +39 055 234 3471
Even if you don’t think you’re in the market for a custom-blended fragrance, visiting Master Perfumer Sileno Cheloni’s olfactory haven is an experience upon which we’ll have to insist. Not only are Aqua Flor’s environs more charming than a movie set, but the exotic scents he brings in from his extensive travels ensure you’re headed home with a better signature scent.
Borgo degli Albizi, 11R, Santa Croce | +39 055 234 0374
The great cities of the world always seem to have that chocolate shop, don’t they – the one with the incredible flavors and signature delights. In Florence, that shop is Vestri and its infused chocolate ‘Lovebites’ or sinful truffles are just the beginning. Rich chocolate gelati infusions are served during the warmer months, and the drinking chocolate (served hot or cold) is so good, even non-chocoholics won’t resist.
Via della Condotta, 32R, Centro Storico | +39 055 211580
We think it started with our visit to Oficina de Santa Maria Novella, but Florence found us fascinated with all things farmaceutica and Bizzarri sealed the deal. The kind of alchemist’s lair J.K. Rowling would appreciate, Bizzarri has been cultivating natural extracts, elixirs and essences since the mid-1800’s. The act of selecting an all-natural blend and having it bottled, labeled and wrapped just for you is an utter delight – a storefront you can’t (and won’t want!) to just pass by.
Olio & Convivium
Via Santo Spirito 4, San Frediano | +39 055 2658198
This quieter corridor on ‘the other side’ of the Arno is worth exploring for the many shops and trattorias stashed along its streets. But Olio & Convivium’s standout selection of Tuscan treats are, on their own, worth the visit. Attached to a sweet little restaurant and wine bar, you’ll find all manner of picnic and pantry-ready souvenirs here, including the best olive oil selection in the city.