Want to bring home a thoughtful souvenir of your time spent in Florence? Try one of these picks, each of them a true part of Florence’s history and tradition.
Pampaloni – a covetable silverware shop, legendary in Florence since 1902, known for its sleek and clever contemporary silver. Find something special for home, including egg cups that look like cracked eggs, geometric cake trays, pitchers or go for their unique line of jewellery, which include chunky rings or elegant necklaces. Via Porta Rossa 99r. 10am-2pm and 3pm-7pm, closed Sunday and Monday mornings.
Abacus – Run by a bookbinding husband and wife team, who also happen to be book restorers, this atelier is the place to find beautifully bound journals or photo albums of all forms, as well as one of a kind sheets of colourful, swirling handmade marbled paper.
Il Cantuccio da Migliana – It’s easy to walk straight past this tiny shop but it’s worth staking out. They sell just one thing: cantuccini, the traditional Tuscan biscotti or almond biscuit, oh so moreish and great for dunking into coffee (or as the locals do, into vin santo, a sweet wine). Da Migliana’s are the biggest and the best and come in an assortment of flavours: chocolate, dried apricot, fig, or traditional, almond, all sold by the weight. Via Nazionale 121r, open from 10am-1:30pm and 3:30pm-7:30pm, Monday-Saturday.
Pegna – An old fashioned, gourmet grocery store where you can pick up some of the best local olive oil and pasta so you can redo that memorable Tuscan meal at home. Try the local Martelli pasta brand (packed in bright yellow paper so it is easily spotted), for guaranteed perfect pasta, or the Laudemio extra virgin olive oil for serious food lovers.
Zanobini – This humble little wine shop in the heart of bustling San Lorenzo area is run by a family of winemakers. Stocking more than 2,500 labels, the best of Tuscan wines are represented here for very reasonable prices. Mario or Simone can give you some advice to help you choose, or try some for yourself out of the daily wines on offer by the glass for as little as 1.50 euro. Via S. Antonino 47r. Closed Sundays.
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – The Dominican monks of the church of Santa Maria Novella have been concocting their remedies with herbs and oils here since the 13th century and the Officina, founded in 1612, still produces its famous and seductive perfumes, soaps, candles, essences, liqueurs and cosmetics using the ancient formulas, held secret for centuries. Via della Scala 16, open daily 8am-8pm.
Uffizi bookstore – no doubt you’ll be visiting the Uffizi gallery while you’re in Florence, so save a bit of energy for a browse through the bookshop at the end of the visit. Alongside reproductions of Renaissance paintings made into a vast array of trinkets and postcards, there is an excellent selection of art books worthy of a serious art lover’s coffee table.
Paolo Carandini – This charming leather artisan creates little treasures, handmade objects such as precious boxes, bookmarks, trays and artworks in the finest leather, vellum and linen, using a wonderful mix of modern design and old-world techniques with forgotten materials. Borgo Allegri 17r, closed Sunday.
Fiori del Tempo – Affordable, artisan-made sterling silver and gold-plated jewellery in a style that would be loved by Renaissance duchesses. Often antique copies made into brooches, earrings and necklaces, or designs as simple as single freshwater pearl earrings, it is hard to go past this hole in the wall, wallet-friendly boutique. Via del Corso.
Tuorlo (Gabs) – This colourful little boutique stocks Florentine design Gabs bags, functional, witty and pretty bags that will see you through countless seasons and occasions for their fabulous versatility. There is also a collection of handmade leather accessories in cheerful colours.