Florence and fashion go hand in hand. One of the fashion industry’s leading trade fairs, Pitti Immagine, is held in Florence twice a year and countless fashion brands are headquartered here: Gucci, Patrizia Pepe, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli and Emilio Pucci. Florence also has a centuries-old culture of craftsmanship and food and wine.
One of the many options for alternative shopping in Florence is Officina Creativa, or Il Conventino. This is a multifunctional and multisectorial space that’s home to workshops and studios occupied by artisans, artists and designers, a nerve centre of Florentine and Tuscan craftsmanship, complete with experiences of an international scope. Il Conventino also holds events and activities in which visitors can take part. The space is situated near the Boboli Gardens, in a central location, and can be reached on foot.
For people who love culinary craftsmanship, a visit to the Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo is a must. An alternative experience of Tuscan flavours and more in the informal setting of street food. Savour traditional Florentine lampredotto, a Chianina burger, stracotto beef stew, and even Chinese ravioli and sushi. At Mercato Centrale you can take part in a cooking class to fully experience the market’s culinary culture as well the many events regularly held here. The market is located in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood, a short distance from the Duomo, and is easily reached on foot.
Last but not least, Florence is the perfect place to indulge in some clothes shopping with many areas of the city fully equipped for this purpose. From luxury fashion stores along Via Roma and Via Tornabuoni to alternative concept stores in the Sant’Ambrogio area, also famous for its market, and the San Frediano neighbourhood. The more daring will love the Cascine Market, which takes place every Tuesday from 8am to 2pm in the Cascine Park. The market offers plenty of surprises, including selected vintage fashion items, top brands and gems hidden on the secondhand stalls. Grab a bite to eat from the street food trucks and enjoy it in the green surroundings of the park.
On the other side of the river, head for the Oltrarno, the neighbourhood of old trades. Just take a stroll through the narrow streets and realization dawns that Florence will never stop surprising with the incredible dexterity of its artisans.