Fashion and Italy have long been synonymous. Most people think of Milan when considering Italian fashion, however if you seek quality Italian leather goods, fine gold jewelry, beautiful silk textiles, and hand crafted perfumes, papers, and more, Florence is the place to be. One of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, Florence offers natural beauty, art, rich architecture, and a deep history in the world of fashion. It makes sense — after all, Florence is the home of the Italian Renaissance. Why wouldn’t it also be a haven for fashionistas?
A Little History of Fashion in Florence
Many fashion houses began in Florence. In 1927, Salvatore Ferragamo opened his flagship store which still exists in the Palazzo Spini Feroni, where you will also find a shoe museum (swoon!) Gucci handbags are some of the most famous in the world, and began in Florence. Textiles have strong roots in the city, as well. Since the 1960s, Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli have designed bright and bold printed fabrics that have taken the world by storm.
I remember my first time in Florence wandering through the maze of streets, beguiled by the beautiful fashions in every shop window. I was only in Florence for 24 hours, but that was long enough to leave with a pair of Italian leather shoes, leather gloves that felt like butter, and a stylish pair of textured stockings. If I’d been there longer I’m sure I could have done some serious retail damage.
Take A Fashion Tour of Florence with City Wonders
That was fourteen years ago. Now you can take a behind the scenes fashion tour of Florence with City Wonders and get insider tips on where to shop, visit designers in their studios, understand the difference between a designer original and a copy, and learn about one of the most famous names in Italian fashion at the Gucci Museum.
Love history, art, and architecture? Then you’ll enjoy visiting the ateliers on the tour; some housed in ancient monasteries once patronized by Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France. The history of fashion is as much a part of the history of Florence as Michelangelo and Dante.
Highlights of the tour:
- Learn about the best streets and stores for shopping in Florence from locals in the know
- Visit the Santa Croce School of Leather, housed in a 13th century monastery where you can watch master craftsmen at work
- Discover an Italian fashion icon at the Gucci Museum
- Visit Loretta Caponi’s atelier, and learn about the delicate art of embroidery. Loretta is famous for having dressed Sting, Madonna, and Princess Diana, to name a few.
- Engage your sense of smell at the renowned Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy. Founded in 1612 this shop is a must on any tour of Florence.
Now that you are armed with your new found knowledge of where and how to shop for the best that Florence has to offer, visit other well known markets on your own and shop with confidence.
- The San Lorenzo market where well-made leather items can be found at less expensive prices.
- The Antico Setificio Fiorentino is the market for textiles, especially fine silks.
- Guillio Giannini e Figlio is the place to shop for artisanal marbled paper, some designs dating back centuries.
- The famous Ponte Vecchio is the place to shop for gold and jewelry. However the profusion of shops can be confusing. Be sure to ask for tips from your tour guide before visiting and buying.
- The tour is limited to 15 people so you’ll be able to easily hear and ask questions. However, an audio headset is included.
- An English-speaking guide accompanies the tour.
- Ticket to the Gucci Museum is included.
- The duration is 3.5 hours.
To book your Florence Fashion Tour visit the website, City Wonders.