Florence: Shopping Holiday
City of Stone
The Mercato Nuovo in Piazza Mercato Nuovo, or the Mercato San Lorenzo in the Piazza San Lorenzo are great places to go shopping in Florence and the place in which to buy silk scarves and leather bags. San Frediano, in the Oltrarno region of the city, is a good area to find local handmade crafts; the Via Maggio in the same area is the place for expensive antiques and there are more artisan shops and those that sell gold jewellery in the Santa Croce area, just five minutes from the Piazza della Signoria.
In 1593, Ferdinand I ruled that only goldsmiths and jewellers could work on the Ponte Vecchio and it is still a good place to browse for jewellery, although you need to know what your are looking for or buying as it is easy to be conned. For designer clothes, make your way to the Via Tornabuoni, which has names such as Prada, Gucci, Armani and Pucci. Salvatore Ferragamo, shoemaker for the famous, has a shop there, where you can pay £300 for a pair of his shoes. Street traders try and sell tourists fake designer bags and watches, but, remember that in Italy it is illegal to buy fake goods. A shopping holiday in Florence can be a little on the pricey side but you will get good value and a fantastic experience into the bargain.