Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Real or Fake? Shop Smart in Italy


‘Shop small-mart not walmart’ is a life quote I (try) to live by.

While it’s completely tempting to go for those deep discounts, what matters more is who you actually are giving your money too. It’s not always possible, but I think doing that extra bit of research to find a local place that adheres to a higher standard and treats their employees well, is a pretty damn cool thing to do.

Living in Italy, people would like to think that everything is made by a mom or pop shop. After all most of the economy is built on small or medium businesses, often passed down generation after generation. Though for many coming from outside of the country, it can be tough knowing what is ‘real or fake’. Especially when referring to leather shops in Florence, small souvenirs, or truffle oil that could quite easily have been concocted in a lab. We’ve all heard of the sweat shops in Prato, which has been heavily criticized for numerous police busts showcasing dangerous work conditions that even cost some their lives.

It’s a tough conversation, because it is easy to be deluded about the ‘Made in Italy’ authenticity after reading books such as Gomorrah about the mafia’s impregnation of so many facets of Italian business or Tom Mueller’s Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. It makes you wonder How do we know we are getting the good stuff? The label is a billion dollar industry and rife with expert criminals who know how to cheat the system like a true professional.

Last time I had a friend visit, she grabbed a bottle of truffle-infused olive oil at a souvenir shop commenting that it only cost six euros. What a deal! I gently eased the bottle out of her excited hands and took her to the Sant.Ambrogio market instead.

Also on another note, the last thing you want to do is get fined buying a crappy Prada bag or have a visiting family member do so. You know the ones, sold on a sheet by guys that will sweep their bags up in a blink of an eye with passing carabinieri cops. Seriously these guys know what their doing.

When I first came to Florence, the streets were filled with these illegal vendors, selling everything from ‘designer’ sunglasses to Rolex watches which fall apart the second you walk away. There are less now but then again, there are now ‘selfie stick’ men at every corner, guys who sell those wooden blocks or some sort of weird gooey thing they throw on the ground that reminds me of a Nickelodeon ‘getting slimed’ moment from  my youth.

Since, I get a lot of your questions about ‘where to shop in Florence’ or Italy so this gives me the chance to give a few tips and start a conversation about authenticity when it comes to the popular mantra of ‘please shop local’ Please save THIS LIST where I constantly update and add new boutiques around town that I have personally vetted. There are so many talented, creative and interesting craftsman in this town making items that almost feel like they were born from their soul. Many of these trades are suffering and dying, less and less of the latest generation take over their grandparent’s work, opting for a cooler career in the digital industries (if they can find one).

Last year I was able to get up close and personal with some of my neighborhood’s artisans which was such a rich, rewarding experience. From then on, I have been more inspired than ever to support them and keep the dream alive.

Looking for Leather? Read This First

One of the most common questions I get is ‘Where can I go to get a leather jacket or handbag etc?’ Florence is well-known for its leather-making past, one of the oldest professions that human beings have ever done. I know for a fact how shady some stores in the city can be, after doing a two-week marketing stint in one near piazza della repubblica, my ‘coworker’ chatting up smiling Americans and offering them sub-par leather for outrageous prices that would make a nun roll over in her grave A flurry of fake smiles and compliments. I want to slap these people. Items such as leather clutch bags are in fashion at the minute so if you’re looking for something like this, go to Florence. Make sure you buy genuine leather though!

The contempt the owners had for their customers was known only to us in the store, and soon as I realized this I ran as fast as you can say ‘andiamo’.  This led me to not recommend that anyone buy leather at the markets or most stores, because I was convinced that most worked the same way.

‘If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ – if someone is offering you ‘crazy discounts’ for that one of kind leather dream machine, well, I’m sorry but it’s probably not a good idea to buy that jacket. A lot of leather that is sold in markets is fake, and it can be hard to tell the difference.  Why many think they can ‘sniff’ out the difference, often that ‘leather smell’ exists because of chemicals or wax that they use. You can get more insight on how to tell if leather is fake via this great video.

However, I know now that there are some great options out there, and when I get an email asking for suggestions on where to shop? I send everyone to the Scuola del Cuoio or Leather School in Santa Croce for a first hand look at the history of leather work in Florence. A fascinating place that has been operating as a leather laboratory since the second world war, the Monastery of Santa Croce sought to give orphans the chance to learn a trade and contribute to society. Here you can be assured that what you are buying is real leather, and where else can you see skilled craftsman working at their stations, a wonderful place. On a personal note, the style here isn’t really what I would wear (a little too classic) but I still find it a superb place for its historical factor and attention to quality.

Leather School
Leather School

Another wonderful option is actually in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, A quaint store called Via Dè Ginori, 23. Inside you can browse actual Made-in-Florence items such as purses, briefcases, luggage — and they will be more than happy to show you the laboratory. I recently bought my husband a briefcase from there, a beautiful cherry-leather bag that cost around 180 euros in total. I’m super pleased with it!

  • BenHeart: two locations in Florence is in my opinion the best store in Florence for leather accessories. Via dei Calzaiuoli, 78rR & Via della Vigna Nuova 97 R. This leather shop is quite a find, the Florentine owner opened up shop after he had a heart transplant and thus had a new lease on life. All of the products here (think cool leather jackets, laptop bags, customizable belts, shoes) are all excellent quality and are hand-dyed (something you never see) and vegetable tanned. I also appreciate the fact that the style is a bit more trendy than the classic leather goods you find at the leather school by Santa Croce.
  • Digerolamo near Santa Maria Novella. I love love love this shop and everything in it. Here you can find beautiful handmade leather bags, jewelry & accessories — everything is Made in Italy and the family secret is Sustainable Design + beautiful  Artisanry + Transparency. Showroom: Via del Moro 58/R Firenze.Great jewelry too!
  • Frau Leman is a new artisan in Florence (2019) located on Via della Chiesa, 21R. She is originally from Germany and her shoe-box sized shop in the Oltrarno is a treasure trove of cool, modern leather accessories. She can customize a product for her (think leather laptop case) and her prices are very reasonable.
  • Cuoiofficine is run by two Florentine brothers whose shop is located on Via de’ Guicciardini, 116r. They offer a high-quality selection of leather bags, often featuring flaps with the marbled paper look Florence is known for. You can find everything from small accessories to larger totes and I am in love with it all. You can also ask about customization (adding initials etc).

Murano Glass

You’ve probably heard about the famous hand-blown glass items that hail from an island off Venice called Murano, a house-hold name and rightfully so. We would love to believe that sellers are honest and would only sell 100% Murano glass but there are plenty of copy-cats out there. In order to make sure you are getting  the real-deal (especially online) it should have a sticker with Vetro Artistico® Murano and make sure to ask for a certificate. On this, it should list the date of production and the artist who made the item. For more details, Alex from the Italy Chronicles wrote this great article about how to tell if your Murano glasswear is real or fake.

Obviously if  you find a ‘great deal’ for 3 euros, maybe next to some tacky Venetian masks at a store that also sells cigarettes and motocross mags – you are probably not getting quality.

Olive Oil And Where to Get it

Ah yes, this green gold that keeps me ever so happy, especially in November when it is freshly harvested (except for the last year – which due to bad weather was nothing short of traumatic for olive-oil producers). Nevertheless I know it can be tough to choose between the many options available in Italy. My first suggestion is to make time to visit a place that actually makes olive oil and is willing to show you around, which are quite easy to find in Tuscany.

Only five kilometers from Florence is the lovely Fattoria di Maiano, which has been producing excellent oil for some time now, and has a nice outdoor restaurant that I like to take people to in the warmer months.

Also an excellent spot is Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort in the Mugello valley, this family-run resort is dedicated to their olive grove, and the owner Paolo Pasquali has even invented a new system, OliveToLive, which seeks to preserve the oil in restaurants in some very nifty looking machines. They also do curated olive-oil tastings that are absolutely awesome if you want to learn how to taste good oil.

You also want to check the date, ideally you want oil from the most recent harvest. Unlike wine, olive-oil does not get better with age. The best part of autumn is the ‘new oil’ that usually has a pleasant ‘bite’ to it, best enjoyed over a slice of Tuscan bread, perhaps rubbed with a little garlic. The Walks of Italy Blog has a great article on how to find good olive oil.

Villa Campestri
Villa Campestri

Spotting Fake Ceramic

After writing this post, a helpful comment from Jill Bellobuono via facebook led me to add this little excerpt on ceramic and how not to get ripped off. Ceramics were most likely the first products used by mankind for domestic use, meant to be both functional and decorative. Ceramic tiles were used in the late middle ages as people started to care more about public architecture, giving life to ceilings and floors and this a handicraft ( majolica) was born. Italian ceramic is especially beautiful (I fell in love with it in Sicily, especially) and here are a few tips on how to spot real vs. fake. I have a new respect for ceramics after making some myself on a little shop in via romana and then also painting them with a few girlfriends.

Painting ceramics in a local workshop, so fun!

Since in order to make ceramic, you only need a few natural elements, clay, water and fire – sometimes you can spot markings (left by the tongs used to keep the hands out of the glaze) underneath the piece which are left by the fast-moving wheel. Just because you see a stamp underneath does not guarantee that is indeed authentic as they can be machine stamped.  When you turn the plate upside down you should see the natural brownish orange hues of the terracotta, which should also feel slightly rough (not white and shiny). You can read more tips here on how to spot a fake.

Lastly, Take Tips from Locals

The wonderful part of being in a network of bloggers all writing about Italy, is all of the fantastic information we share among one another. It’s incredible how much I learn from people every single day and I am so very thankful that so many are generous here in Italy with all of the wonderful places they’ve found.

Since Florence is full of interesting shops featuring local artisans who need your support. I highly recommend skipping the ‘high street’ labels on via calzaiuoli and instead going a bit off the beaten path. The ‘oltrarno’ area definitely has some favorite shops of mine, I love taking people here to poke at tiny little places that so many tourists skip.

Street art and poetry dot the walls of piazza della passera, one of my favorite places
Street art and poetry dot the walls of piazza della passera, one of my favorite places

Stores like & Company on via maggio, a curious shop featuring the beautiful items crafted by a renowned local calligrapher, who offers lessons in case you’re wondering. I did a lot of my Christmas shopping there and it happens to just down the street from my favorite corner in town, piazza frescobaldi where you can see the renovated Buontalenti fountain.

oltrarno florence buontalenti fountain
oltrarno florence buontalenti fountain

Also there are some new and interesting places on via romana like Muse Lab. All the way to the end of the road, close to porta romana, I recently discovered this gem when I visited my local shoe repairman on the same street. The place is owned and managed by two Florentine sisters who specialize in artisan women wear, kids and maternity. They have some lovely items in their shop showcasing a simple, elegant and comfortable style. Plus the girls are very friendly.

Photo by Muse Lab
Photo by Muse Lab

On the same street is a place that I always pop into, Sdam Factory, a quirky space selling light fixtures, interior design items and many interesting things (like a chess board) made with a 3D printer he has on-site. You can see more of what he sells here on my friend Birgitte’s blog, a Dusty Olive Green. 

Also a good point of reference is the website of Nardia Plumridge aka ‘Lost in Florence’, she is not only a friend, she also has an extremely ‘on point’ eye when it comes to particular fashion, young designers and interesting shops. I discovered Erin, owner of a book-binding workshop called Il Torchio on via dei bardi.

For Christmas, I ended up getting a personalized notebook, in-scripted with a quote, as one of Nico’s Christmas presents. Being able to choose the leather and stitching was a lot of fun and I really appreciate being involved in the step-by-step process.

Il Torchio book-binder, thanks to Nardia I now know this place well

In addition, for other local artisan items in Tuscany, there is an online catalog of traditional and artisan products that I find incredible useful.

Google also has teamed up with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and artisans to showcase a sort of interest hodgepodge of items that you can be assured are authentic. I checked out the list here and have already saved some new items I had never heard about in my own city. It is a service that is very well done and I am sure is a growing project. They also have a section dedicated to food which is slightly dangerous if you are anything like me, aka you get hungry at the sight of a tasty wheel of pecorino romano.

This week our COSItaly roundtable has teemed up with the other wonderful Italy Roundtable group and the topic is authenticity. Check out everyone else’s posts here, lots of good and interesting topics!

From our fabulous COSÌ group:

From our new friends at Italy Blogger Roundtable:

Have something to share on authenticity in Italy? Use the hashtag #COSItaly to join the conversation!

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56 Responses

  1. Thanks for this incredibly helpful post, Georgette; I will be passing it along to all of my clients!

    1. Ciao ma belle! Thank you, after my own leather shop experience I am now forever a ‘is this real’ shark, especially since they seem to just make up numbers at times. I am wary of anything that sounds like too good a deal..

  2. Grazie mille, Georgette! I was about to write an email on this subject to our ladies arriving in the next few months. You have saved me again!

    1. Lisa my pleasure! I was lucky that our blogger topic happened to be this. Also I would have no idea on how to shop for leather jackets myself if I was a newbie so hopefully people won’t get scammed on their next trip to Italy… ‘If it’s too good to be true…’

  3. Georgette, I’m always impressed how you can add such great information and value to any topic. This post could stand alone as a guide to visiting Florence. The only input I can add is that I, too, have visited the Leather School and I agree that it’s the place to go if want real (dare I use the word “authentic?”) leather products produced in Florence. You can watch them make it, so there’s no “fake” in that place.

  4. Grazie – yes, lots of “fakes” out there, no doubt! And the “too good to be true” certainly applies in many ways in many places!
    For those of us who want to support local artisan but have a slightly more limited budget – for example re: leather – I agree about the Leather School – gorgeous but if many larger (purses, jackets) items are a bit prohibitive, are there some other “real” leather shops with slightly more affordable prices?
    Grazie, Georgette!

    1. Hello Victoria, it is a problem ,especially when people want to buy nice things and think it is 100% Florentine and see it break down only a few months down the line. I have a limited budget myself but I tend to save money for things of this nature so if I hear of good quality but cheaper, I will add it to this list, I will ask around!

      1. Hello Georgette, my husband and I were Florence in 2002, we bought two beautiful leather jackets, mine in a lovely green and my husband in brown. Shortly after arriving home my husband was wearing his lovely field coat, a friend with butter on her fingers touch his coat and left a stain..You can imagine how upset he was..we called the company where we purchased our coats..They told us to send it back and they will clean the coat or try to match the leather..a little apprehensive we sent it back, the coat was returned back to us as good as new with no charge..the Leather factory is David 2..I don’t know if they are still there, I must say were were very impress with the owner and our leather coats are still beautiful.

  5. Thanks for the highly informative post. Do you also have any recommendations for stationery purchases (leather journals and such)? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello and thank you for reading, yes I certainly do! I highly recommend visiting Il Torchio (you see the photo in the post) on via dei bardi. They make leather journals and can customize something for you and what they do is quite beautiful and unique. I am slightly obsessed with the Italian art of bookbinding. Also if you get the chance to visit Enrico on via velluti in the oltrarno,his family has been marbling paper of stationary (the store il papiro) for many years!

  6. These are some very nice tips, G! Hopefully you will have saved just one more person from buying crappy souvenirs 🙂

  7. We could have spent all day wandering the Leather School…fabulous bags! There was a great little store in Lucca, and for the last fews years we always bought unique gifts (all homemade by the owner) as well as local, organic grains, etc. Unfortunately, she closed the end of 2014. Sad, as I will surely miss buying special gifts from her tiny store. I totally agree – stay away from the fakers and buy the Real Deal! Help keep the artisans in business.

  8. My grandmother used to do bookbinding, and there’s nothing quite like having an artisan (ha! How Italian I’ve become …) hand-covered book in your hands. Gorgeous stuff.

  9. This is a great post. We have a lot of the ‘white blanket sellers’ in Northern Italy, it is possible to buy a dodgy bag or a pair of sunglasses that will probably last a little longer than a pizza slice left in the sun.

    In the North these traders have even diversified into unofficial parking attendants. They will point out an empty parking space and then charge you €1.00 to park or ask you to buy a pack of tissues or a lighter !!!

    I agree that you should try to go to the producer to buy your products when ever possible. Each summer Mrs Sensible and I drive to Sicily to visit ‘The Family’ to fill up my little mini with containers of olive oil from their trees, almonds and anything else I can lay my hands on.

    Roll on summer

    1. Hello Pete! Thanks for your comment! We have a lot of those sellers here too, selfie sticks, weird things that ‘plop’ on the ground, wooden letters, things that fly in the air, it’s all here.

      Funny you mention the parking attendants, we have them too. I haven’t seen them lately but that is because we park in a different area.

      If you have a connection with the producer, you not only get a better deal but you also might create a long lasting relationship that will actually MEAN something, which I think we can all agree is why we adore Italy in the first place. I am a little jealous she is from Sicily because what an amazing country (and food)……

  10. Your blog is wonderful and I enjoyed reading them. I’ve only read 3 articles so far, stumbling upon your blog as I search for ‘how to dress in Italy’ and found your write up very enlightening. So I moved on to ‘where to eat’ then decided to check on your latest article so I can post in the comment section to thank you and let you know you are doing a wonderful job sharing your knowledge about Florence. I only wish I could also read on Rome and Venice as our family plans on a European trip, spring of next year, to Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice) and Paris. We do not wish to look like tourists (hence the search), but as we are Asians, I doubt if we’d succeed in passing as locals at all lol. But I think learning to speak their language will be a big help, and probably put a little smile on their faces knowing I’ve tried to learn their language, so I will definitely do that. I will be going over your blog as I really find your tips quite helpful. Keep up the great work!

    1. Ciao! Thank you so so so much for your kind comment, I really appreciate the fact that you took so much to write and share your thoughts on what I’m doing. I wouldn’t worry about whether you look like Asians, I have been here for 9 years and everyone (lol) knows that I am not Italian but it’s all about being a little savvy so you know what is a good deal and what is just smoke and mirrors. If you have any questions, feel free to ask 🙂

  11. Thank you for this article, which gives right information about Tuscany leather bags and other products. It is important to pay attention to details, to be sure not to buiy fake products!

  12. Hello! I will be going to Florence this May and your blog has been very helpful! While researching on Florence, I came across a website by Bottega Fiorentina. They say their store is on Borgo dei Greci, 5/r. Have you heard of them? I want to buy a woven bag and their prices seem to be similar to those of Scuola del Cuoio. Are they of similar quality as well? Do you know? Unfortunately, there is so little information on Bottega Fiorentina. Thanks in advance!

  13. Hi! I’m so happy that I just stumbled upon your blog this morning.!! My husband and I are coming to Italy for nine days in September and will be spending five days throughout the Tuscany region (&Florence), one day at Trivoli and three days at the Amalfi Coast & Capri ( or would you recommend four days at the coast? ). My first question is about leather. I fell in love with Florence 16 years ago when I was there with my sisters and I bought some great leather items at the market. Of course I want great quality but we will also be on a fairly strict budget as well. I noticed that last March Victoria had asked you about additional leather shops that you might recommend that might be more moderate in pricing. Can you recommend any of those? Were you ever able to find some? I love the market and I love haggling and getting a great deal, but I also don’t want to end up with a piece of garbage! We are also looking for a good place to buy shoes. ( we also heard that we can get custom sandals on the island of Capri and we are thinking about one of our children’s feet and taking them over with us and getting them custom shoes. Have you heard anything about this or do you know anything about this? )

    I certainly don’t want to take up all of your time but I am going to use you as a Golden Nugget considering the fact that you live there and I wish that I did. 🙂 We want to take a cooking class for one day or for one meal out in the Tuscan countryside area and stay somewhere out there for a couple of days. I think my husband wants to stay in Perugia a day. I just want to know if you have any recommendations on Where To staying to experience the best countryside/Tuscan quiet relaxing life while out there? I want to see everything beautiful and we like to experience local life. We would love to Stop at a vineyard and an olive farm in addition to again seeing the beautiful sites in Florence. I would seriously love any information that you can share with me at all. I love the market and I love haggling but I also don’t want to end up with a piece of garbageand getting a great deal,

    We don’t have it finalized anywhere where we are staying yet or how many days, but we are staying nine days and my nights there. I would LOVE any suggestions you could possibly offer to me!!!! It’s Like a godsend that I found you this morning. I hope that you’re still blogging and still living there and I hope that you have a few minutes to try and help me. We’re so excited to come but we want to make the best use of our time, of course, and I keep telling my husband that I wish we knew somebody that lives there that can help us and here you are! 🙂

  14. People always get confusion between pure and duplicate leather, so thank you to guide them!

  15. Thanks providing this guide on how to buy original leather and identify the fake ones, really a very helpful article. Thanks for sharing such valuable insights on identifying real leather.

  16. I have never bought anything from there and I can’t decide whether its fake or real, but I’ll try anything soon and I will let you know about it 🙂 Can you please also tell me from where I can buy celebrity leather jackets from ? I want to gift it to my wife as her birthday is coming soon, do let me know soon. Thanks 🙂

    1. Well do keep me posted on what you decipher in the “is it real” category ;-). I would go to Benheart full stop, they really are the best

  17. You are so right about buying real leather purses in Florence Italy. I did purchase a beautiful red with black trim purse at Raffaello Leather Works.. It cost $105.00 u.s.dollars. It didn’t take long for one of the seams to rip and the material cracked. I have been to Europe many times and thought I new real leather from the fake. I will pay closer attention the next time.
    Judy Byer

    1. It happens to us all Judy. I actually was inspired to write this after something similar happened to a friend. Feel free to ask for any advice on where to go the next time you’re in town!

  18. Hi
    I’d like to add a comment from another perspective. I work in a leather factory near Florence which fights to keep the true Made in Italy alive – we use skilled second or third generation Italian artisans, we work with top quality Italian leather and accessories, and yet we find ourselves being squashed steadily out of the market by Asian competitors and their lower prices.
    How then to permit the true Made in Italy survive? Any ideas on how to develop new openings will be extremely welcome!

    1. Hi Gia
      In which leather company you work for? Does it have website amd eshop? I am always looking to buy made in italy items. Preferably 100% made in. Like leather stitching everything. I am always looking for local Italian companies to buy from to support skilled and artisan workers. Me and my wife try to do our best to not buy Asian products even if we liked the product and we see ex: made in China we just put it back and try find a replacement. I am from Malta and if you know any real handmade 100% made in italy products let me know. Our favourite is Salvatore Ferragamo.


      1. Hello Abraham, I don’t work for any of them, but I do enjoy sharing my favorites which are Benheart, Digerolamo and Via de Ginori 23r

  19. Hi! Great article ! I am going to Florence this holiday and I would like to buy an engagement ring. I wish to buy real Italian craft from Italian jeweler. Could you recommend me any location ?

  20. Thank you for posting this informative blog on where tourists can buy genuine products in Italy. It can be really hard for first time visitors to spot the difference between real and fake products. After reading this blog people will get a lot of useful info on how to buy the right product and avoid being duped. Looking forward to the next post.

    1. My pleasure, I sympathize with visitors and I hope to help them get the most out of any shopping experience in Florence. There are a lot of fakes but that just means you have to research a little more.

  21. My wife and I went to Benheart yesterday and I have to say the shop is absolutely awesome. After dealing with sleazy and slimey salespeople all over Florence, the vibe in Benheart is the complete opposite, calm and inviting. They helped my wife pick out a stunning jacket at a fair price. If I had not read your blog, we would have been eternally frustrated. They genuinely wanted to find the perfect jacket for her and hey did. Thank you!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Ray. Yeah unfortunately the sales tactics of many surrounding leather goods is pretty horrendous. I’m glad you guys found something perfect for you. Ben is the best!

  22. Hi Girl in Florence,

    Can I invite you to come and see our manufacturing site at the doors of Florence (it’s in Pontassieve)? It would be a real pleasure to show you around here. Maybe one day next week if you’re around or otherwise in early September once the summer break is over?


  23. Can’t thank you enough for the recommendation of benheart. Ended up buying a jacket. Fits like a dream and a bit more stylish. 🙂 owner was lovely too.

  24. After reading this article, we decided to go to Ben Heart. It was worth it! The store and the people are beautiful inside and out! We also went to the leather school, which had beautiful classic pieces, but Ben Heart had more modern pieces.

    1. That’s exactly how I feel about leather here too. I always take people to the leather school, which is a true icon, but Benheart has items I actually want to wear. Happy it worked out for you!

  25. I realise this post is a few years old, but thanks to it I went to Ben Heart today and got the most amazing jacket…and bag…and wallet haha. Thanks for the reccos, though I spent a bit more than I normally would, it’s nice knowing that I bought quality products, not just rando crap.

    1. Thanks! I actually keep this list updated so rest assured that the recommendations are still valid. I’m happy you had a great experience, real leather is worth it. You’ll have these items for life and Nico and I are steadfast fans of the jackets, belts, bags and shoes. Say no to random crap 😉

  26. I always suggest to my friends who visit Italy to make one or two authentic purchases, rather than head to the markets for cheap things. It is far more satisfying to take home a beautiful piece you will treasure for years than a so called bargain that will soon be forgotten.

  27. Have you heard of Pratesi or the MYSKIN brand? They seem like good quality but am curious on your take! The store is so close to the duomo it made me nervous being in such a touristy area. Thanks

    1. I honestly haven’t but it could just be because I have my sort of trusted favorites. I’ll check them out though! The Duomo vicinity doesn’t always mean bad quality 🙂

  28. We were just in Florence and loved the leather school! We also found a lovely ceramics studio and sales shop Sbigoli Terrecotte on Via S. Egidio not far from the Duomo.

  29. Howdy Georgette~I am a Texan too and was just surprised with a proposal and wedding date already set for 3 weeks from now! The plan is to purchase a dress and rings in Florence when we get there. Any suggestions for places to shop for the dress and his/her rings? I’m not looking for the traditional wedding gown, as this is a 2nd marriage for us both. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Katy

  30. Hello, I found your blog full of helpful information regarding leather and the best shops to visit in Florence. I love all of your tips and hope to put them to good use. Thanks so much!

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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