It’s fairly common these days to make shopping excursions to other cities in Europe or further abroad and Florence certainly is no exception. With bargain flights and great value Florence apartments to first be snapped up, the budget is then left open to splash out. Florence, being the shoe capital of the world thanks to hundreds of years perfecting the skill, is the best bet for those on a shoe mission. So here’s the shortlist for where to put your feet first in Florence.
The first stop should be on Via de’ Tornabuoni, even if only to stare at the shoe creations, in stores such as Gucci, Prada and Pucci, with slightly lower prices in Florence than elsewhere.
Adjacent is the rival street for luxury stores, Via della Vigna Nuova, with shoes by Cesare Paciotti and Beltrami.
Staying on the shoe theme but without necessarily shopping, shoe fanatics will definitely appreciate the Ferragamo shoe museum at the bottom of Via de’ Tornabuoni, which is homage to the shoe designers’ collection from the last century. There is of course, a large Salvatore Ferragamo store to peruse the modern collections of comfortable, high-style footwear.
Next, head towards Florence’s monumental Duomo, and check out the young and colourful styles in Calzoleria Bologna, a reasonably priced store on Piazza San Giovanni.
On the other side of the Duomo, by the Piazza del Duomo and Via de’ Cerretani, there’s a little shoe store called Gilardini.
Another key street for shoe shopping is Via Porta Rossa. Two shoe stores along this street to try are Nannini and Spazio A for shoes by Moschino and Narcisso Rodriguez. The cross-street Via Por Santa Maria has one or two places worth checking out. Guy Di Casprini Anna Maria can be found there.
Not to be missed on Via Por Santa Maria is one of Florence’s exclusive franchises, Raspini, which stocks its own footwear as well as other designers, for example Miu Miu. The Raspini store also has branches on Via Roma, Via Martelli and a beautiful vintage shoe store on Via Calimaruzza.
For a vast array of cheap and cheerful shoes, head onto Via del Corso for the Peppe Peluso store, which has inexpensive footwear with the Italian seal of quality.
Finally, Florence is famous for its custom made shoes. Visit the workshops of Mannina or Stefano Berner, both in Oltrarno, to see the cobblers making the highest quality footwear, from scratch. It’s possible to select from a vast array of materials and skins and have a unique pair of shoes made for you, at a cost of around EUR1000. Even if this stretches the shoe buying budget, the stores are a must-see for a shoe buying expedition to Florence.