Vintage shopping in Florence

Like vintage wines, even designer labels have their seasons of excellence. The Vintage Label has gone from noble vintages to haute couture, it has become a trend that inspires creatives and stylists, combines elegance and nostalgia and proposes jewellery and accessories from the golden age of high fashion.

The Gucci Garden in Palazzo della Mercanzia in Piazza della Signoria offers art exhibitions, the Maison's historical collections, shops, and a restaurant supervised by the famous chef Massimo Bottura.

Next, near the Museum of Costume and Fashion in the Meridiana building of Palazzo Pitti, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum (ferragamo.com/museum) hosts a collection of over 6,000 ancient and modern clothes, accessories, theatre and film costumes, that represent the history of fashion.

But Florence's historic centre has plenty of shops, workshops, and ateliers, making vintage shopping a great activity to enjoy along with your classic sightseeing.

In one of the ancient palazzos along Via dei Servi, the Street Doing (streetdoingvintage.it) shop window showcases the golden age of Valentino and Cavalli as well as Ferragamo shoes, Fendi scarves, men's hats, and high costume jewellery.

Street Doing Vintage Boutique Florence
(Street Doing Boutique Florence)

In Via dei Conti, the cult address for dandies is Desii Vintage, two classy boutiques, man and woman, a kingdom of trousses and vintage luggage, from Hermes to Gucci.

A few meters away, the UB (ubfirenze.it) is filled with table footballs, 17th-century dining tables and pieces of fifties wallpaper.


Desii Vintage Boutique Florence
(Desii Boutique Florence)


The nostalgics of American Graffiti and the cow-boy style can get lost in the labyrinth of Melrose Vintage in via dei Ginori, in search of Camperos boots and flannel folk shirts in checkered stripes.

Melrose Vintage
(Melrose Vintage)


Along the streets of the historic centre, the characteristic tripe kiosks (trippaioli) keep the Florentine street-food tradition alive: the Lampredotto is boiled tripe flavoured with green sauce and chili pepper, still smoldering in Semella bread, a white flour rosette roll. Try Leonardo Torrini in Piazzetta del Bandino, on the corner of Via di Ripoli and Viale Giannotti, or the Tripperia Pollini - father and son - in Via dei Macci, on the corner with Borgo la Croce.

For a taste of vintage gastronomy, stop at the Trattoria Sostanza (Via del Porcellana, 25/R +39 055 212691), behind Santa Maria Novella, a trattoria that captivates retro-gourmets with authentic Tuscan dishes. Alternatively, Procacci's (procacci1885.ittruffled sandwich has conquered even Milan and Vienna; the original shop, in the central Via de Tornabuoni, a preserves bistro and twentieth-century furnishings. 

After our ''vintage food break'' we continue to Borgo Pinti to find SOqquadro, an interior designer shop with an extravagant choice of modern art, pop design, 50s toys and contemporary art that ranges from Maurizio Savini's chewing gum sculptures to painted metal and chrome steel lamps of Tronconi

Soqquadro Florence
(SOqquadro Shop)

Before leaving the historic centre behind, on the Lungarno Acciaiuoli, we stop at Nadine (boutiquenadine.com), a glittering glamour boutique with precious tortoise-shell and crocodile bags, Cardin's cotton jackets, Balenciaga's kimono dresses and a section of remake models, redone in style with vintage fabrics; the headquarter in Via dei Benci is a very chic store dedicated to men's vintage, small-sized furniture, and household utensils.

From Nadine, we cross the bridge over the left bank of the River Arno to discover the bazaars and the shops of San Frediano and Santo Spirito districts. Here, the loft of Albrici & Paderni (albrici.com) displays antiques alongside decollete, evening gowns of famous tailors and bags in fine fabrics

The endless via de 'Serragli is the street of artistic craftsmanship, where the shops of ancient crafts, gilders, carvers and engravers still flourish. Next to them, there are architects and interior designers who have made recycling their environmental mission.

The most celebrated is Riccardo Barthel (riccardobarthel.it), who created an artisan citadel in an old ceramics depot where old objects purchased around Europe are restored and reused: from cast-iron tubs to kitchens, from antique or stylish tiles to complete furnishings for restaurants, hotels and yachts.

Some of its work can be enjoyed at the Lungarno 23 Restaurant (lungarno.it), packed for lunch for its succulent Chianina burgers and field salads, where Barthel designed a retro-style room with tables, chairs and bookcases.

Other talents worth checking out for their creativity are: Paolo Tozzi with his boutique-atelier Domus Aurea, where a collection of 20th-century lamps emerges among modern armchairs and tables, rare finds from movie sets or medical offices; Luca Rafanelli, craftsman-artist who gives new life to old objects and creates sculptures and installations with fragments of furniture recovered from the 1966 flood; or the Russian Andrei Dmitriev, a renowned interior designer of luxury villas and mansions, who reinvents vintage furnishings and accessories.

Domus Area Paolo Tozzi
(Domus Area Paolo Tozzi)