Window-shopping in Florence is like visiting an enormous contemporary art gallery. Many of today's greatest Italian artists are fashion designers, and most keep shops in Florence. Discerning shoppers may find bargains in the street markets. Do not buy any knockoff goods from any of the hawkers plying their fake Prada (or any other high-end designer) on the streets. It's illegal, and fines are astronomical if the police happen to catch you. (You pay the fine, not the vendor.)

Shops are generally open 9 to 1 and 3:30 to 7:30, and are closed Sunday and Monday mornings most of the year. Summer (June to September) hours are usually 9 to 1 and 4 to 8, and some shops close Saturday afternoon instead of Monday morning. When looking for addresses, you'll see two color-coded numbering systems on each street. The red numbers are commercial addresses and are indicated, for example, as 31/r. The blue or black numbers are residential addresses. Most shops take major credit cards and ship purchases, but because of possible delays it's wise to take your purchases with you.

The usual fashion suspects—Prada, Gucci, Versace, to name but a few—all have shops in Florence. But if you want to buy Florentine in Florence, stick to Gucci, Pucci, and Ferragamo.

Bargains on Italian designer clothing can be found outside the city.

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  • 1. Mercato Centrale

    San Lorenzo | Food/Candy

    This huge indoor food market offers a staggering selection of all things edible. Downstairs is full of vendors hawking their wares—meat, fish...Read More

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  • 2. Le Cascine's open-air market

    Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    Held every Tuesday morning, this market includes stalls selling food, bargain clothing, and gadgets. It's an easy walk from the Centro Storico. ...Read More

  • 3. Mercato dei Fiori

    Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    Every Thursday morning from September through June the covered loggia in Piazza della Repubblica hosts a Mercato dei Fiori; it's awash in a...Read More

  • 4. Mercato del Porcellino

    Piazza della Repubblica | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    If you're looking for cheery, inexpensive trinkets to take home, roam through the stalls under the loggia of the Mercato del Porcellino. ...Read More

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  • 5. Mercato di San Lorenzo

    Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    The clothing and leather-goods stalls of the Mercato di San Lorenzo in the streets next to the church of San Lorenzo have bargains for shoppers...Read More

  • 6. Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

    Santa Croce | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    It's possible to strike gold at this lively market, where clothing stalls abut the fruits and vegetables. ...Read More

  • 7. Santo Spirito flea market

    Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    The second Sunday of every month brings the Santo Spirito flea market. On the third Sunday of the month, vendors at the Fierucola organic fest...Read More

  • 8. Piazza dei Ciompi flea market

    Santa Croce | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    You can find bargains here Monday through Saturday and on the last Sunday of the month. ...Read More

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