Shopping in Florence
Shopping in Florence is a delight. The city is famous for its high-quality leather products, wonderful goldsmiths, marbled paper and much more.
The area around Santa Croce is home to the city's leather makers, while Oltrarno is cluttered with the workshops of local gold and silversmiths - although the Ponte Vecchio is home to the glitzier shops. Pick up avant garde jewellery at Angela Caputi, Via Santo Spirito 58r, or leather goods at MM, Via de'Ramaglianti 6r.
Designer boutiques cluster around the Via de' Tornabuoni and Via Calzaiuoli, where Versace, Ferragamo, Gucci, Max Mara and Prada all have stores. Fashion aficionados should also visit Via della Vigna Nuova where Dolce e Gabbana and venerable milliners Borsalino are located, and Piazza degli Strozzi for Louis Vuitton and Escada.
Handmade shoes are available at Francesco, Via Santo Spirito 62r, while Pineider, Piazza della Signoria 13r, is considered the most exclusive stationers in all Italy, having designed calling cards for Napoleon, Byron and Maria Callas.
Pick up designer copies, leather belts and bags in the open-air San Lorenzo Market, in Piazza San Lorenzo. Nearby stands the Mercato Centrale, a covered food market bursting with olives, hams, cheeses and fresh vegetables and a couple of restaurants on the first floor. The flea market at Largo Pietro Annigoni specialises in antiques and is open Monday to Saturday, and the last Sunday of the month.
You can buy marked-down designer items at The Mall (8, V. Europa; www.themall.it) only half-an-hour's drive from central Florence, off the SS69.
As a general rule, shops open 0930-1300 and 1530-1930 or 2000, although larger department stores and supermarkets may stay open throughout the day. Clothes shops are often closed Monday mornings. There is limited Sunday opening.
Leatherware, gold, shoes, fashion, food and wine are among the most popular souvenirs from Florence.
Value-added tax (IVA) is 22% on clothing and luxury goods. Foreign tourists from non-EU countries can claim a tax refund, provided they spend at least €155 in the same shop on the same day.