Shopping in Florence
Shopaholics will love the wonderful shops on offer in the centre of the city and will certainly have plenty of fun shopping in Florence! The principal Florence shopping street is the Via de' Tornabuoni, where you'll find the showrooms of Italy's top fashion designers including Prada, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Armani, Vavalli and Ferragamo.
Of course, the city also offers lots of opportunities for cheaper priced Florence shopping, with high street stores in abundance. You'll also find a couple of department stores in the centre of the city too.
For those keen to 'bag a bargain' there are also plenty of outlet malls to choose from just outside the city. With the rise of the outlet mall, shopping in Florence doesn't have to be just for those with deep pockets! Take your pick from McArthurGlen's Barberino Designer Outlet in the north of Florence or try The Mall Florence to the south where you will find plenty of designer labels. Designers retailing at The Mall Florence include Alexander McQueen, Armani, Burberry, Fendi, Gucci, Hogan, Stella McCartney, Tod's, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent. Both malls offer designer brands at fraction of their normal prices. The best time to visit The Mall Florence is in August when the already reduced prices are discounted even further.
Whilst shopping in Florence, you should also make sure you visit at least one of the markets that the city has to offer. First, there is the Mercato Nuovo, also known as the Mercato del Porcellino because of the bronze boar - 'Il Porcellino' - that stands in the loggia. Then, if you want to continue food shopping in Florence, you have the Mercato Centrale, Europe's largest covered food hall. It's a fascinating market to visit, and if you're renting an apartment, is a great place to practice your Italian and stock up on your pasta, meat, fruit and vegetables! The stall holders will drop prices from about two o'clock onwards if you want to get a bargain.
Another smaller food market is the Mercato di Sant' Ambrogio. The streets around the Mercato Centrale are also full of stalls selling anything from shoes to belts. If you're more into antiques and bric a brac, then head to the Mercato delle Pulci in the Piazza dei Compi. For those interested in shopping in Florence for clothes, then the Cascine is worth a visit - it sells plenty of clothes and shoes at good prices. Likewise, you'll find plenty of stallholders offering cheap clothing at the Piazza di San Lorenzo.
With so many shops and markets to choose from, you will need to set aside plenty of time for your Florence shopping fix!