Depending on your point of view, a walk through San Lorenzo market is either a buyer’s paradise, or a crowded hell. Either way, it’s something no tourist can avoid when in Florence.
San Lorenzo is loud, fun, kitsch and colourful. Whatever their feelings about it, most visitors find it hard to resist the pull of the cheap mementos and rows of leather goods.
Shopping at San Lorenzo Market:
San Lorenzo market runs from the edge of the Church of San Lorenzo, in via dell’Ariento, up to and around the Mercato Centrale. (The central food market). It’s an open air market with tightly packed stalls, selling everything from t-shirts and key rings, to leather bags, belts and more.
There are plenty of leather shops along the streets too, run by nagging vendors that hike up prices for the tourists. The quality is average, and the range is quite repetitive, but still there’s always something cheap and fun to be found. Always try and bargain, it’s expected.
Among the markets in Florence, San Lorenzo is the most famous but by no means the most authentic. And locals and dedicated tourists will tell you that San Lorenzo market isn’t what it used to be. These days there are more cheap souvenirs stands than ever before. And whereas before it was possible to find a real bargain on handmade leather goods, these days the quality is often reflected in the price.
Best place to buy leather in Florence?
There are so many shops where to buy leather clothing that you’ll definitely find something that suits you. Vast range of leather jackets for all taste. But don’t expect artisan quality, you’d pay much more for that. Nevertheless it’s worthwhile to try a few jackets on.
If what you’re after is a leather bag, again you’ll find a huge range here. Before choosing one, have a look also in the Santa Croce area. There are more shops here and the Scuola del Cuoio is the real thing, with artisans still working in the old, traditional ways.
Shoe fanatic? The area around San Lorenzo Market is definitely the best for shoe shops. Head for Borgo San Lorenzo, Via Cerretani, Via dell’Ariento, where there are all sorts of shoes, from cheap to top-quality.