A Guide to Florence’s Best Fashion Shops
Although Milan is in foreigners’ minds the Italian fashion capital, Florence is a fantastic shopping destination too.
Drawing on a rich tradition of skilled and talented artisans, Florence is a natural choice for shopping for unique and one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs. Not only high quality and striking design, but you also won’t have to break the bank to go shopping in Florence! Additionally to luxury boutiques with top-name designers, there are craftsmen and their workshops and the open-air markets where you can find just what you are looking for at prices that fit your budget.
Craft guilds in Florence have played an integral part in the city’s social and economic makeup since the 12th century. Cobblers, jewelry makers, furriers, painters, and every type of creator imaginable are to be found here. Let’s have a look at the best Florentine fashion shops.
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.
There are countless things to do in Florence, but the city has been known for hundreds of years as the home of the world’s best leather craftsmanship. Be aware that there are many cheap knock-offs and poor quality goods sold to tourists who don’t know where to shop. However, many stores carry quality products, so make sure to save the following addresses for your next trip. Leather wallets, belts, coin purses, gloves, and shoes are a great fashion staple to bring home!
Via de’ Guicciardini, 1/r
Madova is a lovely little shop a few steps from Ponte Vecchio, proudly selling handmade leather gloves. The store has now come to the 3rd generation but still maintains the highest leather-making standards. Here you can find a large assortment of leather gloves in a variety of styles and colors, a fun and must-have accessory to pair with every outfit. If you need any assistance in choosing the perfect gloves, you can always count on their super friendly staff!
Scuola del Cuoio
Piazza Santa Croce, 16 or Via San Giuseppe, 5R
Scuola del Cuoio is a company with more than 60 years of history, situated in the heart of Florence, in Piazza Santa Croce. It was founded after World War II by the Franciscan friars of the Santa Croce monastery, who wanted to teach a craft to the orphans living there. Scuola del Cuoio is synonymous with refinement and taste, since prestigious Made in Italy leather goods are made here by skilled craftsmen. The 18 in-house artisans manufacture superb leather bags, backpacks, wallets, luggage, belts, boxes, and more. Moreover, the school offers the possibility to learn leather working techniques through courses and workshops.
Via dei Calzaiuoli, 78/r
Ben, the founder of Ben Heart, suffered a sudden heart attack while playing soccer and was luckily donated a new heart. This accident represented the chance for him to go after his lifetime dream: creating his own leather products brand.
The designs and leather items that Ben Heart produces are 100% Italian-made, using Italian leather hand-crafted by Italian artisans just outside Florence. Success has arrived quite quickly, mostly because Ben’s take on leather goods is fresh and modern. Ben Heart is now worn by many Italian celebrities and has stores all over the world. This is a “must-stop” place in Florence if you’re considering buying a leather jacket that lasts!
Via di S. Niccolò, 2
Amongst the most important Florentine names in terms of working with leather there is Stefano Bemer, the leader in handcrafted shoes for men. Stefano Bemer shoes are entirely tailor-made, according to the client’s needs and requests. Members of European royal families appreciate Stefano Bemer shoes and many famous Hollywood celebrities. Including multi times Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who during a holiday in Tuscany fell in love with Stefano’s workshop and decided to spend 11 months there in an attempt to break away from the hectic world and regenerate himself, learning and working for the Tuscan artisan.
Gold was indeed a passion of Lorenzo de Medici, King of Florence and celebrated patron of scholars, artists, and poets. The famous Ponte Vecchio was the place to find quality jewelry pieces and peeking at the gorgeous and sparkling windows. The best silversmiths and goldsmiths of the country had their workshops here.
Today, together with Ponte Vecchio, many new venues offer handmade, unique jewelry, true modern masterpieces from antique techniques.
Via dei Preti, 4
Set in Oltrarno, the historic artisan neighborhood, the jewelry workshop Officine Nora is a vibrant community of goldsmiths.
Housed in an ex-factory, its industrial windows are partially transparent, allowing curious passers the possibility to peek. All the jewelry available is made in-house by their resident jewelers, by hand, in very limited quantities. Officine Nora is the perfect place to find tasteful contemporary jewelry and meet international and Italian designers. And if you want, you can even rent a workstation and work on your own project!
Ponte Vecchio, 60
Silversmiths in Florence for over 150 years, the Peruzzi family brings on the Florentine art of silversmithing on the famous Ponte Vecchio. Their specialty is to produce unique silver objects in their own laboratory: you will find countless precious items to marvel over at their shop— candleholders, brooches, pendants, plates, and more. In operation since 1860, secrets have passed here through generations in the highest form of artisan craftsmanship, preserving a craft that is soon to be forgotten. Enter the shop, discover the history of the ancient art of silversmithing and gift yourself a unique piece of jewelry!
Via di S. Niccolò, 115R
Alessandro Dari is a Florentine goldsmith master known for his sculptural style. In fact, he perceives the jewel as an ornament of the body and a real artistic sculpture, combining anatomy and architecture with the contemporary world of jewelry. For his work, he has received several awards and showcased at numerous international exhibitions. Wearing one of his creations means wearing a story of unique craftsmanship. His micro sculptures fuse metal, gold, silver, and precious stones, artistic works that are unique in the world.
Via Santo Spirito, 58 & Borgo SS.Apostoli, 44/46
The workshop of Angela Caputi Giuggiù is situated near the Ponte Vecchio, in Florence’s old part. Here, the Florentine artist designs her creations with inspiration from American films of the 1940s and a long-standing passion for fashion. Angela Caputi’s bijoux gained recognition worldwide thanks to their unique and inimitable style. Her jewelry has caught both Haute Couture stylists and Museums’ attention, being considered between fashion and art. Each detail is heavily researched, from the geometrical or smooth lines to the marvelous nuance of colors, created using “simple” materials as synthetic resins. Her designs are recognized for their creativity and for their constant evolution.
Fashion Museums in Florence
We can safely say that Italian fashion was born in Florence, thanks to the first Italian fashion show organized in 1951 by Giovanni Battista Giorgini at Villa Torrigiani. On that occasion, many international buyers were present, and they discovered the elegance of Made in Italy, with much more competitive prices than Paris fashion. Today, together with famous Florentine designers shops, such as Gucci or Salvatore Ferragamo, the city boasts many handicraft shops, the ideal destinations for any fashion lover!
Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, 20r
Tiziana Alemanni is a Sicily native fashion designer known internationally for her stylistic ability and versatility. Starting in her family-run business dedicated to knitwear production, she then started her own brand and moved her atelier to Florence. This city inspires her and best embodies high-quality craftsmanship in Italy. In her studio, a couple of steps away from Palazzo Pitti, she conceptualizes, designs and produces ready-to-wear collections for women. Pass by her shop and admire flamboyant cocktail and evening dresses, handmade and made to measure, in excellent Made in Italy fabrics.
Borgo Pinti, 38
You can’t miss the workshop and showroom of the talented Carla Macis in Florence. This eye-catching boutique, dollhouse-like, specializes in feminine retro clothes made from new and recycled fabrics. Every piece is unique and fabulous. Carla, who is originally from Cagliari, has been living in Florence for 33 years, the only place she can get inspiration from, as she likes to say.
With a past in textile design, and collaborations with the Maison Pucci, Carla Macis creates her collections for confident women with a strong personality: women who want to play with irony and good taste.
20 Florence Shops That Locals Love
Via dei Pandolfini, 7R
Essère Atelier is a women’s fashion boutique based in the heart of Florence. The boutique offers high-quality, one-of-a-kind, and customizable clothing, as well as some accessories. All items are handmade in Florence and designed by Ilaria Tolossi, the store owner. After working for international fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Loewe, Ilaria opened up her own atelier, where she carefully chooses the materials and colors to ensure that the clothing is of excellent quality. Alterations are done in-store, and custom orders can be made for special occasions such as weddings.has style and is of excellent quality. Alterations are done in-store, and custom orders can be made for special occasions such as weddings.
Via della Spada, 38R
Atelier C. is a unique space located in Florence’s historic center, originating from an idea of Alice Caporali and Marco Contiello.
The store consists of several spaces: the leather goods room at the entrance, the backspace devoted to clothing, and another room where exclusive and elegant furnishing objects are displayed. All creations are strictly made by hand and represent the most authentic Made-in-Italy quality. Both Alice and Marco are talented designers and create beautiful dresses for their customers so that the dress complements the wearer’s personality.
There are several historic pharmacies in Florence that maintain their original appearance, places where you can breathe in the city’s magical and historical air. In fact, Florence boasts a long history with perfumes and spices. Handmade soaps, creams, ambient perfumes and body fragrances are ideal souvenirs that are truly unique and particular to Florence, so don’t miss this itinerary!
Santa Maria Novella
Via della Scala, 16
Santa Maria Novella is a luxury apothecary in Florence, credited with being the world’s oldest pharmacy. The origins of the shop’s pharmaceutical products can be traced back to a monastery of the Dominican Order connected to the adjacent Church of Santa Maria Novella, where monks began experimenting with garden plants to create herbal concoctions starting in 1221. Since then Santa Maria Novella’s retail operations have expanded rapidly to include locations in every major Italian city and 75 shops throughout the world, including the United States, Japan, and South Africa. Don’t miss their rose water, the secret of all Florentine women to have a glowy skin!
Via di S. Niccolò, 72
Master Perfumer Sileno Cheloni established his 18th-century pharmacy in Florence, in the San Niccolò neighborhood. Trained on Cyprus’s island, his creations are now on the shelves of Harrods, produces personalized perfumes, and boasts collaborations with brands such as Gucci, Lamborghini, and Richard Ginori. Clients include celebrities from entertainment and politics, such as the Oscar winner Hellen Mirren. Going into the shop, watching Sileno creating, through a set of ampoules and containers with 1500 pure essences and some of the rarest raw materials in the world, is something you have to experience!
Borgo Santa Croce, 6
Aquaflor in Florence is a maison de parfum, located in a historic Renaissance palace in the Santa Croce district. The Aquaflor collections, inspired by artistic perfumery, comprise perfumes, colognes, moisturizing waters, room fragrances, candles, and so on. The products are all made with quality raw materials, all-natural extracts and aroma. You can even join one of their exclusive experiences in the world of fragrances: have fun on their guided tour of the laboratory ending with an interactive perfumery workshop. The soap bars in candy colors are lovely to collect and display in your bathroom!
Via de’ Bardi, 12
Lorenzo Villoresi founded his perfume house after completing his degree in philosophy and spending years traveling, experimenting, studying raw materials and blending custom-made fragrances. Production is still carried out internally and requires meticulous attention to detail and an ongoing quest for the highest quality. The boutique, set inside a Renaissance palazzo in the heart of Florence, is an evocative space that hosts the maison’s complete collections and welcomes curious visitors. It is a must-see for anyone passionate about perfumes. Lorenzo Villoresi offers a unique experience into the world of his creations, accompanied by skilled staff who will guide you on a fragrant journey of discovery.
Acqua di Firenze
Via delle Belle Donne, 15b
You can’t miss visiting an independent perfumery when you’re in Florence. After all, this is the city where modern perfume-making began! My favorite place to pick up new scents is Acqua di Firenze, which means “Water of Florence”. Their all-natural fragrances embody the spirit of the city and the packaging is super cool and old-fashioned. As you stroll by their shop, you’ll catch a whiff of their signature floral perfumes, inspired by the city of Florence. Men will love the Inferno, which takes its name from Dante’s Divine Comedy and has notes of black rose. For women, try Primavera which is inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece. This perfume has sweet orange and Tuscan cypress accents, making it a perfect fragrance for spring.