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This page on our Florence shopping Guide (by Jenifer Howard Forneris and Cristina Jacomelli) has everything from Glass Blower shops to note-worthy Florentine photography shops and Florentine bookstores...
Name: Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella (click here for their website)Type: Toiletries, perfumes, home fragrances and herbal shop
Address: Via della Scala, 16; at only 15 meters on the left of Casa Howard
Note: It is one of the most ancient pharmacies in the world, within the convent of the Monks of Santa Maria Novella (the church in the homonymous square), built in the XVI century. The difference between a pharmacy and a perfume/liquor shop was very subtle in ancient times, because the basic elements of all these preparations were, and still are, based around herbs, plants, etc., only using them for different purposes. that's why this beautiful shop, which was originally a spezieria has this name: ‘Officina’ was medicinal, officinal laboratory, 'profumo' is the perfume aspect, farmaceutica is the pharmacy aspect. Everything inside this shop is magical: the architecture, the display of the products, the music and above all...the scents. The list of items is quite long and is presented in different languages: one can directly ask the lady or read the list and discover by oneself... Among the varieties are the classic almond products and the historic acqua di rose (rose water)... But then there are more exotic items; one that has an originally fresh constant scent is that of zagara, the scientific term of fiori d'arancio (orange blossoms), which reminds us of Spain during Summer (azahar)... Do experience this beautiful shop!
Name: Antico Setificio Fiorentino (click here for their website)Type: Weaver shop
Address: Via L. Bartolini, 4
Note: This is one of the most interesting places to visit, situated in a beautiful setting. You will find old looms that are still making upholstery fabrics just like 400 years ago which can be bought (closed on Saturday mornings).
Name: LocchiType: Glass blower’s shop
Address: Via Burchiello, 10; tel. 055-229416
Note: ...for everything that has to do with glass. They will remake glass fillers for your silver ware, tops for your decanters or oil bottles, etc.. and they have a nice selection of new things as well.
Name: Cartoleria VannucchiType: Stationery shop
Address: Via Condotta, 26/r; tel. 055-216752
Note: Among the best and oldest stationery shop in Florence, it has begun to also sell beautiful prints, writing-papers with reliefs and incisions, leather items for the office and carta fiorentina (Florentine paper) with floral and marble effects. This shop has received the fiorino d'oro (golden florin) in honour of its traditional values.
Name: RigacciType: Arts shop
Address: Via dei Servi 71/r; tel. 055-216206
Note: This shop takes its name from the owners; since the 1930s canvases and special paints have been sold here, and in the past they were manufactured personally in their laboratory. For this reason, even groups of modern and contemporary artists used to meet here and today several artistic works are exposed.
Name: Foto LocchiType: Photography shop
Address: Via del Corso, 21/r; tel. 055-213743
Note: This is one of the oldest photo shops in Florence, with an archive of unique Florentine culture and everyday life photos dating back to the 1930's.
Name: Fratelli Alinari (click here for their website)Type: photography laboratory, printing shop, editorial, archives and museum
Address: Largo Fratelli Alinari, 15; tel. 055-23951.
Note: This is the most important photography company in the world, which started as a printing shop. The traditional technique of collotipia (collotype: a photomechanical single transfer process, a carbon printing process, utilising glues; this work is done by hand so that each piece is unique) on paper and on silver plaques is still applied in their arts printing laboratory. The company has had an incredibly extensive archive of artistic, cultural and historic photographs since the XIX century. It is the most important photographic editorial, the Museo di Storia della Fotografia Fratelli in the same building as the Hotel Alinari, very close to the train station, and since the 28th of October of 2006 it has housed the Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia just a few meters from Casa Howard!..
Name: ZecchiType: Colours, fine arts and restorations
Address: Via dello Studio 19/r; 055-211470
Note: This is a very interesting and useful shop for artists and artisans, because it has many materials and instruments pertaining to the fine arts, and, in addition, they even have materials used in the Renaissance.
Name: Edison, Feltrinelli, Paperback Exchange, Bm Bookshop...Type: Bookstores
Address: Piazza della Repubblica 27/r, tel.055-213110; Via de' Cerretani 30-32/r, tel. 055-2382652/2382874; Via Fiesolana 31/r, tel. 055-2478856, Borgo Ognissanti 4/r, tel. 055-294575, respectively
Note: These are a number of bookstores, among the best and most useful in Florence. Edison has a nice cafe where one can get a light lunch while reading some excerpts from the interesting books found in store. Feltrinelli has been the first in selling all pocketbooks; it has a rich store of foreign, original-language books (Feltrinelli International) in Via Cavour, 12/r (tel. 055-219524); it still sells pocketbooks but in much larger varieties and quantities along with music and DVD's. Paperback Exchange specialises in exchanging used books.BM Bookshop is a very nice English-language bookstore.
Name: Lorenzo VilloresiType: perfume creator
Address: Via dei Bardi, 14; tel. 055-2341187
Note: This is THE experience in the world of perfumes. Mr. Villoresi is a several-times winner of the most prestigious prizes in the world, but this is not the only aspect of what makes his work unique: he's Florentine, his shop is in his own family palazzo, the flowers, the spices, the herbs, the woods and many many other varieties of elements take our minds to ancient times, those times that run in his blood. The entire variety of smells, from the most known to the most mysterious and rare that can possibly be found in nature, can be found in his shop and in their purest essence...and from that moment on creativity has no limits with regards to creating the most original of perfumes. They are all prepared by hand, respecting the times and life of each element. All the process, from the olfactory tasting and the choice of different elements, to the preparation, with the final result explain the uniqueness of his work...
Name: PineiderType: Elegant, refined stationery; specialized in hand-made printed papers
Address: Piazza della Signoria, 13/r; office tel. 055-6240224 (Bagno a Ripoli, Florence)
Note: This old stationery store is very well known in Florence and dates back to the XVIII century; its different types of refined papers and above all its traditional and highly specialized hand-made printing techniques make it a special place for people who want to order exclusive and elegant customized invitations for all types of events, from the official occasions to the more intimate gatherings; personal cards, etc.
Name: Cartoleria ParioneType: Traditional refined stationery
Address: Via del Parione, 10/r; tel. 055-215684
Note: traditional hand-made carta fiorentina designs, different types of writing-table accessories and miniature editions of books.