Tuscan wine is easy to come by anywhere in the city, but be aware of a mark up for tourists in the city centre. Surprisingly, you don’t have to break the bank for a bottle. You can easily pay under €10 for a decent wine and under €20 for a good wine. If you’re buying for someone who knows a thing or two about wine or someone who plans to keep it for some time, be sure to get a red Reserva. You can also find some good wines at the local grocery stores. Most bars and enotecas offer wine tastings, so you can try before you buy. Why not do a tasting and grab a sandwich at Il Panino del Chianti. If you want something a bit fancier, try Borgo Sapori Toscana in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood. Keep in mind though, that most airlines won’t allow you to travel with more than two bottles per person. Be sure to wrap them well, or ask the store if they can wrap them for you.
Although you can probably find olive oil in your local stores back home, why not bring the good stuff back from Tuscany. As with most local products in Florence, it’s hard to find bad olive oil. Almost anything you buy will probably be amazing. The types of oils do vary, so be sure to know the purpose of use (cooking, salad dressing, bread dipping, etc) before you buy it. If you want to splurge on something amazing, you can ask about small batch local producers, but be prepared to pay and know what to look for. Whatever you choose, it will be a great gift for almost anyone on your list. Enoteca Pontevecchio is a great place for tastings of oil, wine, and balsamic vinegar, and you can also buy the products here.
Something you don’t realise before shopping for balsamic vinegar (aceto di balsamico) is how many different types, flavours, and options there are. There’s a type for bread dipping, a type for salads (and different types for sweet or savoury salads), another type for desserts (like strawberries), and so on. It really is amazing how much there is to learn about something so seemingly basic. The balsamic vinegar’s city of origin also determines how much you should pay and the quality. If you want something basic, check the local grocery store, Conad, if not, go to Borgo Sapori Toscana where you can learn all about it and what is best for your (or the gift receiver’s) needs.
Tuscany is so famous for its leather, even Drake named a song after it. In all seriousness, there are pelleterias all over the city from generations of leather workers who sell amazing quality bags, jackets, belts and wallets but prices can definitely run high. If you want to stay within budget, opt for small leather goods such as wallets, belts, or even a nice leather keychain as a token of thought for co-workers or friends. Most of the time you can find things at the San Lorenzo leather market surrounding Mercato Centrale, or also in Mercato Porcellino. If you’re ready to splurge on an Italian leather souvenir for yourself that will last a lifetime, locals know where to go for the real deal. Try Benheart, Bemporad, or Giorgio 1966 (they also have a stand at Mercato Porcellino), for guaranteed, handmade, Italian quality.