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. Giulio Giannini e Figlio

    Oltrarno

    One of Florence's oldest paper-goods stores is the place to buy the marbleized stock, which comes in many shapes and sizes, from flat sheets to...Read More

  • 2. il Papiro

    Duomo

    One of several locations in the historic center, this place has been making that classic Florentine peacock paper for decades....Read More

  • 3. Il Torchio

    San Niccolò

    Photograph albums, frames, diaries, and other objects dressed in handmade paper are high quality, and the prices lower than usual....Read More

  • 4. Pineider

    Santa Maria Novella

    Although it has shops throughout the world, Pineider started out in Florence in 1774 and still does all its printing here. Stationery and business cards...Read More

  • 5. Alberto Cozzi

    Santa Maria Novella

    You'll find an extensive line of Florentine papers and paper products in this shop, where artisans also rebind and restore books and works on paper....Read More

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