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Shopping, Parking & Getting Around

  • Shopping

    Shopping is a delight, from famous Florentine designers to authentic arts and crafts. The Florentine fashion industry predates the Renaissance: the merchants of Prato have long woven fine cloth for Florentine tailors to transform into lavish clothes. Craftsmanship and cool brands are not mutually exclusive. Florentines believe that looking good (fare bella figura) is an instinctive pleasure and a civic duty.

  • Designer shops

    Chic Via Tornabuoni is lined with Florentine-born gems, such as Ferragamo and its Shoe Museum.
    Salvatore Ferragamo: Palazzo Spini-Feroni, via Tornabuoni 4, www.ferragamo.it
    Ferragamo Shoe Museum: Piazza Santa Trinita 5/r,  www.ferragamo/com/museo
    Roberto Cavalli: via Tornabuoni 83/r, www.robertocavalli.com
    Gucci: via Tornabuoni 73/r, www.gucci.com  
    Emilio Pucci: via Tornabuoni 20/r,  www.emiliopucci.com

    Designer outlets: Thirty minutes from Florence, the Mall designer outlet showcases brands ranging from Pucci and Gucci to Armani and Zegna. A (paying) shuttle service is available from Florence.
    Web: www.themall.it

  • Craft workshops & speciality shops

    For craft workshops, the Oltrarno is a good place in which to start. This hip neighbourhood is known for its `botteghe,’ workshops and studios where apprentices learn techniques passed down through the generations.

  • Il Torchio

    Set in the Oltrano, is a creative bookbinders (legatoria) for custom-made books and hand-tooled paper creations.

    Address: Via dei Bardi 17
    Web: www.legatoriailtorchio.com

  • Alessandro Dari

    A master goldsmith and jeweller who operates from an intriguing workshop in the Oltrarno, close to the Ponte Vecchio.

    Address: Via San Niccolò 115/r
    Web: www.alessandrodari.com

  • Angela Caputi

    She makes stylish costume jewellery in the Oltrarno. Her bold bangles are also on sale in Palazzo Strozzi and are on display in New York’s Museum of Metropolitan Art.

    Address: Via Santo Spirito 58/r
    Web: www.angelacaputi.com

  • Aprosio

    Is the place for jewellery and accessories made from minute glass beads made from Murano glass or Bohemian crystal.

    Address: Via del Moro 75
    Web: www.aprosio.it

  • Officina di Santa Maria Novella

    This is an historic herbalist and perfumery near Santa Maria Novella. It sells upmarket fragrances and potions.

    Address: Via della Scala 16
    Web: www.smnovella.it

  • Markets & food shops

    Mercato Centrale
    This covered 19th-century iron-and-glass market houses a food hall on the top floor. The ground floor showcases the best local produce, from cold cuts and mozzarella to olive oil and ice cream. Upstairs, the food court serves lunchtime tapas, from crostini with chicken’s liver to cheese platters of Pecorino from Pienza, meaty porchetta sandwiches and truffled pasta dishes.

    Address: Mercato Centrale, Piazza del Mercato Centrale, via dell’Ariento 4, Florence
    Web: www.mercatocentrale.it

  • Eataly Firenze

    Oscar Farinetti’s famous foodie emporium is an international brand with a popular branch in Florence. As a champion of Slow Food, Eataly offers foodstuffs that make good souvenirs. Set close to the Duomo, it makes a handy spot for deli treats but you can do better than their canteen-like lunch.

    Address: Via Martelli 22/r, 50129, Florence
    Web: www.eataly.net/it

  • Parking/getting around

    Parking in Florence can be a major headache so if you can arrive by train or coach, that is infinitely preferable. Florence is a ZTL, meaning that non-resident traffic is banned from the historic centre. This is indicated by signs with a red circle on white accompanied either by the abbreviation "ZTL" or spelt out as Zona Traffico Limitato (Zone of Limited Traffic). Only residents or traders with special permits are allowed in. Any contraventions are likely to get picked up by cameras (which monitor all entry points). Transgressions will result in fines of upto €200 and you can be traced through your car rental agency.

    The key car parks are: at Santa Maria Novella train station; at the Fortezza da Basso; at Piazza della Liberta; at Piazza della Beccaria; at Mercato Sant’Ambrogio; in the Oltrarno (near Porta Romana).
    Web: www.firenzeparcheggi.it/

  • For the train station and historic area: Florence’s most convenient underground parking is Santa Maria Novella, under Piazza della Stazione at the train station. Be warned that there are no day/overnight rates and that parking is more expensive here than elsewhere, roughly twice the average price. Alternative parking for the train station and Santa Maria Novella area: Use the underground parking located under the massive Fortezza del Basso (Medici fortress turned convention centre).

    For the Duomo area, use Parcheggio Parterre, underground parking just north of Piazza della Libertà at Via Madonna Della Tosse 9. It's a twenty-minute trek to the historic heart but you can catch a bus on Piazza Libertà. Buses no. 1 and 7 go down Via Cavour to the Duomo area, and then go past Santa Maria Novella to the train station.

    For the eastern side/Santa Croce area, use Parcheggio Piazza Beccaria, underground parking just inside the ring road on Piazza Beccaria, which lies east of the Sant'Ambrogio market area. From here, you can walk or catch a minibus (electric bus) into the city centre.

  • Buses

    In most cases, you will find it easier to walk than to take public transport. Electric buses operate in the historical centre but tend to go circuitous routes. The main lines are: C1, C2, C3 and D, with the C1 route covering some of the most important museums (in a roundabout way).

    Tickets should be bought before getting on the bus. A 90 minutes ticket must be validated (punched) in the machines on the bus. If you buy a ticket from the driver, it costs a little more and also needs to be validated on board.

    ATAF bus information: ATAF Hall inside the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. Or call ProntoAtaf, T: 800 424500 (free phone within Italy).

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