Florence is one of the best places in the world to shop. It is home to four of Italy’s greatest couturiers, and you can easily step out of town to nearby outlets for designer bargains. It is also an ideal city to buy carefully crafted leather, jewellery and design pieces to treasure.
As a centre of artisans for centuries, to discover its best shops, is to step off of the carousel of global production into a realm of bespoke craftsmanship. Bypass tourist traps for ateliers selling quality leather, or seek out one-of-a-kind embroidery or marbelised papers that, in their bold jeweled renaissance tones, look as modern as a Pucci scarf.
If you can tear yourself away from the private pool at your villa near Florence, here are five shops off the beaten path that we return to again and again for the quality of products. These can make excellent souvenirs, as well as gifts.
5 shops of the beaten path in Florence
Who? Marina Calamai
What? This quirky designer of handmade jewellery and vibrant nature-inspired objects for the home is a must-visit in Florence. Using bronze, silver and gold, Calamai crafts bold pieces.
Take this chunky Ode to Joy ring for example, or her distinctive cherry ring, which pays homage to the bold colours of Renaissance Florence in a bold modern design.
Who? Loretta Caponi
What? Loretta Caponi’s atelier, which you can visit on our Artisans Workshop Tour, showcases great bespoke embroidery. Here you can order intricately decorated homewares, or design your own dress or jacket.
Who? Il Papiro
What? Using techniques honed in the Renaissance, Il Papiro is the best place to buy the jewel-coloured marbled papers so prized in the city’s history.
It’s worth stocking up on the paper for any significant correspondence, but the notebooks also make beautiful gifts. In a happy contrast to modern lives lived online, the marbelised photo albums are a stunning way to collect wedding photos.
Who? Stefano Bemer
What? Many head to Florence looking for leather. Wade past the tourist shops to Stefano Bemer, a classic shoemaker offering ready-to-wear, made-to-order and made-to-measure leather footwear, from brogues to boots to loafers.
While not inexpensive, wearing shoes customised to the shape of your own foot offers unprecedented comfort, and these are made to last; it’s a souvenir you’ll actually use.
Who? Dr Vranjes Perfume
What? Dr Vranjes has been the place to go for home scents in Florence for the past 20 years. His Rosso Nobile fragrance combines the sweet and fruity notes of grapes and berries with a softer magnolia and a deeper birch wood to lend a relaxing atmosphere to the home.