For a small city, Florence can boast a remarkably varied shopping scene. Gone are the days when it was a retail backwater; Renaissance City is now a place where you will find everything from the latest designer labels to a pair of handmade gloves to a fresh truffle, with a whole lot in between. And all within an easily-negotiable radius.
The unique side to Florence’s shopping scene is its long history of artisan craftsmanship. You can read about this, and more, in my three shopping guides:
- Opening hours - many of the big shops in central Florence stay open all day from 10am-7.30pm with slightly shorter hours on Sundays; some of these will stay closed on Monday mornings. Smaller shops close at lunchtimes from 1pm to 3.30-4pm and are closed on Sundays. In July and August, they tend to close on Saturday afternoons so everyone can go to the beach. Fair enough, no?
- Sales - there are two main sales periods in Florence; January/February (usually starting on Jan 7th, just after the holidays finish) and July/August. Initial discounts are usually quite generous, but if you hold off for several weeks, real bargains can be found.
- Counterfeit goods - if you spend any time wandering around the centre of Florence, you will be bound to come across African guys selling fake bags and sunglasses. These items are remarkably convincing and quite reasonable (especially if you bargain hard), but unfortunately they are illegal to both sell and buy. If you get caught, you will face a hefty fine.