Looking for a few gifts from Florence to take home with you? Never fear. From leather goods to ceramic the city has plenty to offer the casual shopper.
1. Leather gloves. Multicoloured, stylish, silk or wool lined. You can buy cheaper options at the San Lorenzo Market, or go for something more upmarket at Madova shop in via Guicciardini. (They’ve been producing gloves since 1919 and the experience is evident). Or try via Calzaioli.
2. Something from the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, today a splendid perfumerie and museum. Try the Pot-pourri, delicately perfumed soaps, fragrances and scented candles from one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe. It is found in Via della Scala 16, a few steps from the train station. It’s a sensory delight with a bit of history thrown in, and just one of many places in Florence to shop for fragrances.
3. Hand decorated paper objects inspired by the Tuscan tradition at Il Papiro. This chain was born in Florence in 1976, and today has many stores not only in Florence but in Europe too. There’s a great selection of luxury stationery, photo albums, frames and wax seals with various designs. Shops are in piazza Duomo 24red and via Guicciardini 47. A range of perfect small gifts from Florence to fit in your bag.
4. Leather objects designed by Paolo Carandini in his studio near Piazza Santa Croce, have modern designs with a classic feel, including beautiful leather bound notebooks.
5. Jewellery You can still buy gold on the Ponte Vecchio just as people have done for centuries. But if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, you could always pick up something silver instead at Fiori del Tempo in via del Corso where the designs are affordable and original. Or there’s the historic shop Torrini in Piazza Duomo, 12(red) that has plenty on offer, from the traditional to more modern designs.
6. Ceramic is one of the classic gifts from Florence. Head to the area near Santa Croce Square to find some of the best ceramic shops in the city. MG Design in via Ghibellina, 119(red) offers personalised designs. Then there’s Ceramiche Artistiche Migliori, via de’ Benci 39(red) – Le Mie Ceramiche, via Giuseppe Verdi, 8(red) – Ceramiche d’Arte Parrini, via de’ Cimatori 34(red). Often inspired by the Tuscan countryside, the designs are full of bright colours and include everything from the traditional to the more inventive. From trays to bowls and cups, you’ll find all sorts of kitchenware to add a Tuscan touch to your home.
7. Leather from San Lorenzo Choose a reasonably priced leather belt or wallet at Florence’s famous San Lorenzo market. There’s plenty of choice and endless designs and colours. It’s a very Florentine gift that will delight anyone.
8. Pinocchio was from Tuscany. So as you’d expect, there are plenty of wooden toys and accessories for kids that make great gifts from Florence, most notably at the fabulous bottega Bartolucci. They are real experts in the subject and have been honing their craft since 1936. There are shops all around Italy, and in Florence you can find them in via della Condotta, 12(red) and Borgo dei Greci, 11a(red).
9. Food Pick up a bag of something special at one of Tuscany’s many food markets. You could opt for a packet of cantuccini biscuits or a jar of locally produced honey, or even some artisan pasta. The Central Food Market in San Lorenzo is the place to go for the sheer variety and quality.
10. A Vespa. Ok, maybe you can’t take home the real thing, but you could always pick up a miniature model of one (or some other paraphenalia) at the Vespa shop. Diehard fans should head to the museum dedicated to the Vespa in Pontedera.
Did you know?
In Medieval times a ‘bottega‘ was a workshop belonging to an artist or artisan. Today this term is still commonly used in Tuscany to describe small artisan shops.