Shop Florence with the locals, find the best stores off the beaten track
Who knows where to shop in Florence better than the locals? I asked 8 of my favorite Florence people for their suggestions on where to shop in Florence and the response was phenomenal. These eight women are writers, designers, tour guides, and photographers who have come from afar to make Florence, a city of creativity and ingenuity, their home. In short, if you love Florence you have to follow these ladies. Each one shared with me a handful of Florentine shops that she loves and the result is a list of twenty off-the-beaten-track boutiques that range from eyewear to customized jewelry to vintage finds to leather to art pieces and more. (Some of them are even designers themselves so don’t miss their bios!)
Many of these boutiques focus on slow fashion, unique designs and individualized customer attention. While most have storefronts in Florence, they sell online as well so you can support local Florentine artisans from anywhere in the world and get in touch before even coming to Florence. Many also design customized pieces which has been the essence of Florentine craftsmanship for centuries.
Read on to discover some amazing Florentine locals you should be following and the places and people they love to shop from!
Florence Vintage Fashion Tour
On this private vintage fashion tour, our fashion specialists will lead you to unique second-hand vendors in the city and help you with your treasure hunting skills. Joining our vintage fashion tour feels like traveling in time. You will have fun discovering Italian one-of-a-kind vintage clothing, shoes, bags, accessories from different eras like locals do!
Italy Magazine Editor, Social Media Consultant, Freelance Writer and Florence blogger extraordinaire, Georgette is “your girl in Florence.” Originally from Texas, she’s been calling Florence home for years and has become the go-to for insider tips, a Lonely Planet 2021 Community Award winner, and a true champion for the city of Florence, her artisans, and fellow creators.
Here’s where Georgette loves to shop:
Clothing at Hello Wonderful!
Via Santa Monaca, 2
Georgette: “This slow fashion boutique is run by two lovely Italian ladies, Livia and Viviana, who are both dedicated to creating fun clothing and accessories in a sustainable way in the Oltrarno area of Florence. Their use of fabric overstock to create one-of-a-kind creations ensures nothing goes to waste and Livia is able to modify designs (depending on fabric availability) to best fit the customer, allowing for more size inclusivity, for affordable prices.”
Leather at Frau Leman
Via della Chiesa, 21r
Georgette: “This shoe-box sized shop on Via della Chiesa in Santo Spirito is home to the handmade artisanal leather accessories of Stephanie who is extremely passionate and collaborative when it comes to customizing items (bags, wallets, fun Moka-shaped leather keychains and more).”
I also asked Stephanie of Frau Leman for her shopping recommendations (see below) and she was featured in our guide for where to buy leather in Florence.
Leather at Benheart
Via Calzaiuoli, 78r & Via della Vigna Vecchia, 97r
Georgette: “I could NOT, not mention Benheart, who is the prime reason people should not shop in the leather markets and instead focus on true handmade leather items (jackets, shoes, belts, all customizable) made in Florence. Hicham Benmarek is the affable founder of the brand who created “Benheart” after surviving a heart transplant in his early 30’s. I very much appreciate how he treats his staff like family and is probably the only person who allowed me to see/visit where he buys his leather, dyes the leather, cuts and finishes it in the suburbs of the city.” Benheart was also recommended by photographer Tracy Russo (see below) for their fantastic quality leather and customized sizing which is great for plus size shoppers!
Art at FAF or “Female Arts in Florence”
Borgo San Frediano 131r
Georgette: “FAF is a new collaborative space in San Frediano showcasing the work of four female artisans in town who also offer special exhibitions in their bright space. One is an ink designer, one is a wood maker, one works with pottery, one concentrates on high-quality porcelein and the pieces that have come out of this collaboration are also available at the shop. To me, places like this show the evolution of contemporary artisans in the city and how “working together” is actually becoming the norm (thankfully so).”
Sara Amrhein is an American artist and designer based in Florence Italy. She specializes in sculptural statement jewelry handcrafted in polymer clay, sterling silver and bronze. Her work is largely inspired by nature with a strong emphasis on florals and bright colors. Her designs have also been published in art books and magazines.
In addition, Sara is also the Co-founder of the cultural association Creative People in Florence along with partner Anna Rose. CPiF was created as a way of promoting and supporting the contemporary arts in a historic city and promoting the vastly talented local and international community who are currently breathing new life into the city with their innovative and inspiring work.
Here’s where Sara loves to shop:
Jewelry & Home at Nokike Atelier
Via dè Serragli 122R
Designer Herika Signorino hand designs the pieces in her shop to creative uniquely innovative designs. From brass, bronze and silver jewelry, she also designs quirky ceramics and home objects. Her pieces have an innovative modern edge while maintaining the handcraftsmanship and design that have become a hallmark of Florentine artisanship.
Glasses at Woo Class Eyewear
Via dell’Orto 23r
Woo Class is a husband-and-wife team that handmake wooden framed eyeglasses and sunglasses. They started in 2004 by making a pair of comfortable, lightweight wooden glasses for their daughter and now design bespoke glasses from selected natural woods and biodegradable vegetable oils. With a focus on design and renewable resources, all of their glasses are designed and handmade in Florence.
Accessories & Clothes at EleoLab
Via Arnolfo 11R
This atelier makes gorgeous handmade silk flowers for accessories and decorations for those looking for a unique pop of creativity for their personal style or own designs. They also produce a line of clothing that is deliciously romantic using gorgeous materials and prints.
Florence Local Fashion Tour
During this tour, you will have the unique opportunity to wander through local ateliers and artisan studios and purchase unique goods hand-made in Florence. The city is particularly famous for traditional crafts such as leather, straw, embroidery, textiles, and jewelry, resulting in the finest Made in Italy products.
Stephanie started leather working in Berlin before moving to Florence to continue her training where she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. After more than a year of working for a long-established Florentine leather brand, she felt ready to start her own business Frau Leman (recommended above by Georgette, in our guide to leather shopping in Florence, AND in “Creative People in Florence”). Stephanie combines sustainability with style and will work with you to customize the bag of your dreams.
Here’s where Stephanie loves to shop:
Ceramics at Eva Puccioni
Via dei Serragli, 70r
Eva Puccioni’s overall style is playful and minimalist. Whether she’s designing serving dishes, mugs, bowls or planters, Eva’s world is one of lightness, color and joy, destined to brighten up any room or kitchen where they find a home. Each piece is unique and retains its handmade look. She also will make customized ceramic pieces on request.
Jewelry at Ginevra Gemmi Gioielli
Via della Chiesa, 29r
Ginevra’s jewelry is inspired by nature – leaves, branches and organic forms are celebrated in shining metal that fits like a second skin. Think gingko leaf earrings, acorn pendants and honey bee studs, all with a finessed and refined edge. Everything she makes is handmade in Florence meaning each beautiful piece is entirely unique. She also does customizations and commissions.
Vintage Boutique & Market at Only Usato
Hand/vintage market near her shop
This location might be a little harder to track down but it’s oh so worth it. “Only Usato” runs a pop-up vintage market that is occasionally open in Boutique form in the area of Santo Spirito. Follow their Instagram to see what they have available and when. If you can catch them, you’ll be sure to find great vintage pieces.
Best Vintage Shops in Florence
Alexandra Korey has been writing her blog Art Trav (a combination of Art and Travel) since 2004. An ex art history professor who now works in marketing, she writes exhibition reviews and in-depth articles about art, travel and life in Florence, Tuscany and beyond. As soon as you start exploring her blog you realize you’ve stumbled upon a gold mine of information. Each piece is thoughtfully researched and written and, in my opinion, a must follow for anyone coming to Italy or living here.
Here’s where Alexandra loves to shop:
Il Mulino Agricola
Via del Padule, 56, Bagno a Ripoli
You may have to travel out of the city center but if you are a local living in Florence for any length of time and interested in getting the freshest, best produce out there, you have to follow Il Mulino Agricola! In Alexandra’s own words: “As a dweller of Florence’s south side, I have been enjoying Il Mulino’s fresh vegetables and selection of jams, flours, sauce, honey and more for quite some years. Even before Covid, they had an ingenious system of client management: they send a whatsapp a few times a week listing what’s in stock so you can order in advance and go pick it up. They grow all their own vegetables in two locations around Florence, so the list is helpful to know what is in season and as an added bonus, makes copious and adorable use of emojis.”
Mary Gray is a writer, journalist, writing instructor and co-host of the podcast Spritz and Grits. Her first book, Rental Diaries: Thoughts from My Four Walls in Florence, was published by The Florentine Press in 2020. Mary’s virtual course on the art of the first-person narrative essay runs year-round on a rolling basis.
Here’s where Mary loves to shop:
Vintage: MOMO Vintage
Via dei Serragli 7R
Mary: “I love rifling through the racks at MOMO Vintage. I’ve found a number of great garments there, some under 40 euro. The selection is really well-edited, so it’s not like you have to dredge through piles upon piles of discards to find something special. A great deal of the luxury label stuff they stock is out of my price range, but there are often deals to be had, and much of the merchandise is accessible to begin with. I also appreciate how the owners here are welcoming but never overbearing – I’m such a clotheshorse but can often find clothes shopping in Florence to be stressful when clerks are hovering. Proprietors of vintage shops usually understand the fun of “the hunt” and will leave you to it without pressuring you to profess exactly what you’re looking for, while also offering commentary or interesting tidbits about the piece you’re looking at if you probe them.”
History of Leather Production in Florence
Music & Records: Twisted Jazz Shop
Borgo S. Frediano, 21
If you love music, you have to come by this shop for an old school music browsing experience where you can replace your usual “scroll” with the “flip, flip” of vinyl records and cds. Mary: “I love browsing and finding deals at Twisted, [for the same reason I love Momo], but in the music arena. Half the joy of going into shops like this is the experience of browsing and the knowledge of the owners.”
Tracy Russo has always had a passion for photography that is immediately apparent if you check out her personal account or her private photography business where she is dedicated to capturing the sweet moments of life. From personal professional pics to wedding & engagement photos, to children & family, Tracy has the unique ability to capture a beautiful and joyful moment in time on the faces of her subjects. That and her photos of Florence and Italy are the next best thing to being there!
Here’s where Tracy loves to shop:
Jewelry & Watches at Officine Nora
Via dei Preti, 2r
Officine Nora is a co-working space for jewelry designers from around the world who have made Florence their home, meaning if you stop by this little shop in the Oltrarno district or check out their website you’ll see they offer a diverse range of styles that share in common their handmade touches and creativity. Everything they make of course is in limited number meaning you’ll be getting a very unique piece.
Bags at Roberta Pieri
Via dei Fossi, 1
Tracy: “love them because if you don’t want leather but want something Florentine, it’s a great option. The bags are perfect for travel because they are made of this sustainable fabric that folds flat into your suitcase and I’m always complimented on my bags when I carry one of their patterned ones.”
Included in Georgette’s suggestions above!
Guide To Markets in Florence
Rachel Vermiglio Smith
Blogger & Podcaster
Rachel is dedicated to bringing you ALL things Italy from language to culture, to wine and food, she really does it all. She produces the podcast 2 Minutes 2 Italy that brings interesting Italian tidbits in easily digestible 2 minute bite sized episodes. Her blog is devoted to all things Italian and her Instagram posts and stories often have a focus on learning Italian that I find incredibly poignant and useful. Even after living in Italy for over a decade, I regularly learn new things by following her.
Here’s where Rachel loves to shop:
Mosaic Art at Cecilia Flaciai Decorazioni
Cecilia is a pietra dura artisan, a craft started in Florence in the 17th century that only a few rare shops practice today. The mosaics are created by cutting each individual stone into unique shapes that fit perfectly together. Normally these shops create pieces worth thousands of euros (and some of Cecllia’s works of art are definitely in this category) but she also makes miniatures that are more affordable with unique designs, zodiac symbols or icons of Florence. It’s a unique and beautiful keepsake of a really Florentine-specific craft.
Clothing at Atelier Bianca
Via Puccinotti, 89
Unique women’s clothing, currently available online or by appointment only. The attention to detail in each of these pieces shows. They are elegant, sophisticated and utterly romantic both in their design as in the materials they choose for their dresses, skirts, and tops. They also have a line of bridal couture for anyone getting married in Florence.
Kids clothes at ANG un bebè
Via dei Macci, 68r
ANG un bebè designs children’s clothes for newborns and little ones from 2-6 years old. Each of these pieces is simple, beautiful and unique. Flowers, delicate stripes, a button detail or ruffle in the perfect place make their look stylish, whimsical but still simple and not overly “done.” Great for finding something for a special occasion or for every day!
Guide & Sommelier
Sommelier and tour guide Laura has a passion for fashion, wine and Italy. She works as a tour guide of Florence and Chianti where she combines teaching her guests about wine while showing them some of the best parts of Tuscany. She also organizes a wine club, sending personalized selections of Italian wine to guests around the world. And fashion? She also currently works at Ferragamo, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about!
Here’s where Laura loves to shop:
Jewelry at A thousand Joys
Borgo San Jacopo, 11
These jewelry makers focus on delicate, ornamental pieces that they describe as future heirloom jewelry. Everything they make is inspired by historic pieces and handcrafted in Florence in their simple, beautiful style. Symbolism, culture, antiques, history… all of these things are represented in their gold and silver pieces.
Fashion at Gerard Firenze
Via dei Sassetti, 13r
Gerard is an Italian unconventional fashion luxury brand since 1969. Bold colors, leopard prints, knubby sweaters and sweatshirts with their signature logo – Gerard’s look is vintage-cool. As Laura puts it: “This is a super cool shop, the fashionastas love it, even if you have a Gerard t-shirt or sweatshirt you are in the know.”