Leather goods -- jackets, belts, wallets, even key fobs and waste baskets -- are all over the city, with a particularly good selection at the "leather school," which is tucked behind the Church of Santa Croce. Prices can vary, with the highest prices in the area around the Duomo. A caution: Leather jackets purchased in Florence may be beautiful, but stick with classic styles. What's appealing in the Mediterranean sunlight can sometimes look a little "off" back home.
High-end Italian designer fashions are also available, though at high prices. But the most uniquely Florentine options are the many varieties of hand-marbled paper.
The main area of exclusive boutique shops in Florence can be found on and around Via de Tornabuoni (with shops like Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Bulgari, among others) and Via della Vigna Nuova. For antiques and funky artisan crafts, head for Borgo Ognissanti and the Via Maggio, in the Oltrarno neighborhood (the other side of Ponte Vecchio, toward Palazzo Pitti). And, of course, jewelry options abound on the famous Ponte Vecchio.
If you love haggling and hunting for unique finds, don't miss the San Lorenzo Market, with hundreds of stalls located in and around Piazza San Lorenzo. This is the spot to snag a deal on leather jackets or wallets, or pick up ticky-tacky souvenirs emblazoned with Michelangelo's David for your friends and family back home.
For designer shoppers, consider taking a tour or renting a car to visit the outlets south of Florence. The Firenze Outlet, also known as the Mall, is absolutely fabulous. The sleek, outdoor shopping area, incongruously located in the heart of the Chianti wine region, features shops such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Burberry, Gucci and Tod's -- among others. The whole facility is much more elegant than those in the U.S. (there's a swanky wine bar and cafe on site), and discounts can be as much as 50 percent.There is shuttle service available from Florence. Viator offers an all-day shopping tour that includes a lengthy stop at the Mall, along with other outlets.
Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc., which also owns Viator.
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Italy Accommodations: Hotels, Villas & Farms
Getting Around Italy: Trains, Cars & Vespas
Rome Travel Guide
Venice Travel Guide
Florence Travel Guide