Window-shopping in Florence is like visiting an enormous contemporary art gallery. Many of today's greatest Italian artists are fashion designers, and most keep shops in Florence. Discerning shoppers may find bargains in the street markets. Do not buy any knockoff goods from any of the hawkers plying their fake Prada (or any other high-end designer) on the streets. It's illegal, and fines are astronomical if the police happen to catch you. (You pay the fine, not the vendor.)

Shops are generally open 9 to 1 and 3:30 to 7:30, and are closed Sunday and Monday mornings most of the year. Summer (June to September) hours are usually 9 to 1 and 4 to 8, and some shops close Saturday afternoon instead of Monday morning. When looking for addresses, you'll see two color-coded numbering systems on each street. The red numbers are commercial addresses and are indicated, for example, as 31/r. The blue or black numbers are residential addresses. Most shops take major credit cards and ship purchases, but because of possible delays it's wise to take your purchases with you.

The usual fashion suspects—Prada, Gucci, Versace, to name but a few—all have shops in Florence. But if you want to buy Florentine in Florence, stick to Gucci, Pucci, and Ferragamo.

Bargains on Italian designer clothing can be found outside the city.

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  • 1. Scuola del Cuoio

    Santa Croce

    Leatherworkers ply their trade at Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School), a consortium in the former dormitory of the convent of Santa Croce. High-quality, fairly priced...Read More

  • 2. Cellerini

    Santa Maria Novella

    In a city where it seems just about everybody carries an expensive leather bag, Cellerini is an institution....Read More

  • 3. furò e punteruolo

    Paolo Fattori and his wife, Luisa, handcraft exquisite, one-of-a-kind bags and other leather accessories at this one-room store and workshop....Read More

  • 4. Giotti

    Lungarno North

    You'll find multiple lines of leather bags, wallets, and other accessories here....Read More

  • 5. via de'Ginori 23/r

    Family-run and operated, this shop sells beautifully handcrafted leather items just down the street from the Basilica of San Lorenzo....Read More

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