Shopping Sprees in Florence

November 8, 2011 by

Best Of Lists, Things To Do

Shopping in Florence's open markets is a must-do experience!

Milan may be the fashion capital, but Florence is known for its shopping, too. Leather goods and jewelery are particular specialties. The markets and their charming, haggling stallholders are world famous, and you must never accept the first price offered: bargaining is a game here and they expect you to play: it’s half the fun.

1.San Lorenzo Market. It’s impossible to miss this one when you’re exploring the city. It’s central and tucked around the San Lorenzo Basilica and Medici Chapel.

2.Mercato Centrale. This is effectively the indoor sector of the San Lorenzo Market and the place to find wonderful food and wine. Fresh pastas, mushrooms of so many different varieties, truffle oils, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and meats. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen where you’re staying, cook yourself up a fresh Italian feast. Or just take some oils and wine home to remind yourself of the tastes of Florence.

3.Sant’Ambrogio. Again an indoor and outdoor market with everything from clothing to fresh vegetables, located in Piazza Ghiberti and Piazza Sant’Ambrogio. Wet your appetite browsing then head into the connected, inexpensive restaurant to eat like a native Florentine.

4.Mercato Delle Cascina. This is located in one of Florence’s biggest green spaces, Parco delle Cascine, and after a bit of time crisscrossing the historic center you’ll be glad to see trees again. The market is only open Tuesday mornings but again has everything and some of the best prices in Florence.

5.Mercato dell Pulci, the Flea Market. On every day and with everything, this is a favourite place to get an insight into real Florence and find a bargain. Don’t expect pristine new goods – this is a rummager’s paradise. On the last Sunday of the month the market explodes from Piazza die Ciompi into surrounding streets with 100 extra stalls.

6.La Fierucolina. This is the city’s organic market, held on the third Sunday of the month (except summer in August) in Piazza Santo Spirito. Wine without preservatives. Tomato sauce like nonna used to make. Yum.

- Philippa Burne

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