Traveling to Florence? It sounds like a good idea, especially for shopping enthusiasts. The town has plenty of museums, churches and art galleries, but it’s also home to gorgeous stores and open-air markets where visitors can buy excellent Italian goods. Read our tips for the perfect shopping experience in town.
Choose the Right Time of the Year
Twice a year in Italy is time for sales: the months of January and June are usually the best period to go shopping in the country. Why? Because you can find excellent ‘Made in Italy’ products, such as leather jackets, bags, wallets, dresses and accessories, for the half the price. So keep this tip in mind if you decide to travel to Florence or the rest of Italy in these months.
Avoid the Fakes
Strolling through the city centre of Florence, you’ll find plenty of men selling beautiful bags on the streets. Be careful! These products are not originals, but fakes. Unless you want to be charged with a $10,000 fine by police, avoid buying them.
Florence is the perfect place in Italy to buy leather goods; the town and surroundings are home to the biggest leather production of the country. If you want to buy good leather products, there are three places to go: San Lorenzo, Santa Croce and Porcellino Market. Goods are expensive, but really worth it. However, there are also other many stores in town that carry quality products, so compare the prices before and then go shopping.
If you have already visited Florence, you know that the town is also home to beautiful jewelry stores where you can find fabulous silver and gold products made by local craftsmen. The most classy and chic are located on Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge of Florence. Here you can find lots of unique jewelry, including rings, earrings, bracelets, pins, necklaces and so on. Make sure to visit it if you want to buy something typical and avoid scams.
One of the most popular things to buy in Florence and Italy is food (and wine). It’s not always easy to buy them, because products like bistecca, pizza and gelato don’t travel well, but luckily for you, Italian gastronomy has plenty of things you can buy, put in your bag and bring home with you. So head to the coveted market of San Lorenzo to buy pasta, oil, wine and other seasonal products.
In Italy, taxes are included in prices, so when you buy a thing, the total price is the one written on the tag. For those who have a permanent residence in a non-EU country, there is a way to be reimbursed for the taxes they pay on an item. There is a lengthy process that requires filling out a form (that can be found on the Internet) and a minimum of purchase amount to be paid (about 155€).
Always look at the tags. Sometimes, even when it’s not the time of year for sales, stores in Florence make excellent offers. So keep your eyes open and never forget to look at the tickets to find excellent shopping bargains.
Keep Your Eyes Open
In Florence and Italy, like in the most of the countries of the world, there are people who wants to trap tourists, especially if they are not Italian or don’t speak the language. So, be careful when you shop in the local markets and, if you have Italian friends, go shopping with them and let them negotiate with the sellers.