Florence

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. Loretta Caponi

    Santa Maria Novella

    Synonymous with Florentine embroidery, this shop sells luxury lace, linens, and lingerie that have earned the eponymous signora worldwide renown. There's also beautiful (and expensive)...Read More

  • 2. Cabó

    Piazza della Repubblica

    Missoni knitwear is the main draw at Cabó....Read More

  • 3. Diesel

    Piazza della Signoria

    Trendy Diesel started in Vicenza; its gear is on the "must have" list of many Italian teens....Read More

  • 4. Emporio Armani

    Santa Maria Novella

    The sister store of the Giorgio Armani boutique has slightly more affordable nightclub- and office-friendly garb....Read More

  • 5. G.B. Frugone 1885

    Santa Maria Novella

    If you're shopping for elegant cashmere, look no further. This Genoese-based company has been making scarves, dresses, and sweaters (among other things) for men and...Read More

  • 6. Giorgio Armani

    Santa Maria Novella

    The sleek, classic boutique Giorgio Armani is a centerpiece of the dazzling high-end shops clustered in this part of town....Read More

  • 7. Gucci

    Santa Maria Novella

    Florentine perennial Gucci puts its famous initials on just about everything it sells....Read More

  • 8. Luisa Via Roma

    Duomo

    The surreal window displays hint at the trendy yet tasteful clothing inside this fascinating alta moda (high-style) boutique, which stocks the world's top designers as...Read More

  • 9. Prada

    Santa Maria Novella

    Known to mix schoolmarmish sensibility with sexy cuts and funky fabrics, Prada appeals to an exclusive clientele....Read More

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