Since the days of the medieval guilds, Florence has been synonymous with fine craftsmanship. Such time-honored Florence specialties as bookbinding, jewelry, lace, leather goods, silk, and straw attest to this. The longstanding tradition of Florence artisanship has also made the city a center of both antiques and reproductions.
More recently, the Palazzo Pitti fashion shows and the burgeoning textile industry in nearby Prato have added fine clothing to the long list of merchandise available here. The familiar labels - Prada, Gucci, Versace, Ferragamo, to name but a few - can all be found in Florence, as in most major cities in the United States (prices can be mildly less staggering in Italy, however).
Another medieval feature is the distinct feel of the different shopping areas, a throwback to the days when each district supplied a different product. Shops are generally open 9-1 and 3:30-7.30 but closed Sunday and Monday morning most of the year. Summer (June-September) hours are usually 9-1 and 4-8, but many shops stay open until later hours specifically to cater to tourists. Most shops take major credit cards and will ship purchases, but because of possible delays it's wiser to take your purchases with you.
Street Market Places
Flea Market - Piazza dei Ciompi
Furniture and objects from the past, prints, coins, jewellery. The stalls keep to shop opening hours. Open every day, all day and on the last Sunday of every month the market is extended to surrounding streets.
Sant'Ambrogio - Piazza Ghiberti
Foodstuffs, fruit, vegetables, flowers, clothing and footwear. Open weekday mornings only.
Straw Market (Porcellino)
Articles in Florence straw, hand embroidery, leather goods, objects in wood, flowers. Open every day from 8am to 7pm; closed on Sundays and holidays.
San Lorenzo Market - Piazza S. Lorenzo , Via dell'Ariento.
Clothing, articles in leather, souvenirs, etc. Open every day except Sundays.
Cascine Market - Parco delle Cascine.
Clothing, leather goods, footwear, fruit, vegetables, flowers, household goods. Tuesday mornings only.
Via Pellicceria, every Thursday morning.