January 18th , 2010 → 2:26 am @ admin

Ponte VecchioIf you are a diehard shopper, then shopping in Florence is one thing that you will not want to miss. Florence is a shopper’s paradise.  Whether it is antiques, jewellery, leather or fashion, Florence has it all.

Florence is justly famous for its lovely hand-crafted leather accessories and fine clothes. Some of Italy’s most famous designers, such as Roberto Cavalli and Salvatore Ferragamo, come from here. The designer stores, including Cavalli and Armani, can be found on the busy Via de’ Tournabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova. Large chain stores, such as Benetton, can be found on Florence’s main shopping street, the Via dei Calzaiuoli.

Leather GoodsIf you love leather, the shops in Florence give you plenty of choices when it comes to handmade items such as wallets, belts, gloves, jackets, briefcases, and shoes. Most of the leather goods and shops are situated in Santa Croce and San Lorenzo. Though there are many regular leather shops here, Florence is also famous for two outdoor markets as well. One of them is situated between Piazza San Lorenzo and Via Nazionale along the Via Dell’Ariento. The other market is known as the Mercato Nuovo which was built in the 16th century and is located under a logia lying a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio. These two markets are really worth a look before you decide to visit the shops. If you visit at Christmas time, don’t forget to visit the Christmas market.

Florence has some legendary goldsmiths that have existed for more than 400 years. Indeed some of the finest gold shops in the world can be found on Ponte Vecchio. Here, 18 K gold is used to create jewellery that ranges from the simple to the most elaborate pieces. Top shops such as Piccni, Melli, and Mannelli are located here.

Italian TiesMost of the famous designers have Factory Outlet stores about half an hour’s drive away from Florence. These include the Prada outlet which has a large collection of clothes and accessories, such as Helmut Lang sunglasses, and the Mall, which has many designer outlets, such as Armani and Gucci, at much cheaper prices than in their stores in Florence. The Prada Outlet Store (Levanella, 52025 Montevarchi (AR) – Tel : +39 055 91 901) is normally seven days a week. It is best to call ahead to check opening hours as they are subject to sudden changes. Saturday is the busiest day. Admission is possible until 1/2 an hour before closing time. It is best to arrive at Prada before it opens at 9.30. You can find Prada, Miu Miu, and Helmut Lang. The place is very large and offers the top fashion pieces. If possible, avoid going on weekends, public holidays, or during the peak sale periods (when the best old stock is sent to the stores). During peak periods, there may be lines of people just waiting to get in the stores.

The Gucci Outlet is also in Tuscany, at Leccio Reggello. The building itself is not marked “Gucci,” but the white and green building with red awnings is easy to spot. Last season’s items can be discounted up to 50%.

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