If you want to find the best of Firenze, ask a man whose last name is synonymous with the city.
Though the Ferragamos have only been in Florence since 1927—making them practically newcomers in a town where centuries-old legacies are the norm—the international success of the eponymous fashion brand has quickly propelled them to become Firenze's best-known family since the Medicis.
Florence native James Ferragamo (grandson of Salvatore) left home to study and begin his career, first in the UK and later in New York City, before returning to join the family business in the late 90s. Today, he’s the director of footwear and leather goods for Salvatore Ferragamo Group, and though his job involves plenty of jet-setting, he still makes time to explore the hidden corners of his hometown.
“Florence is a magical city, an intimate and historical Italian jewel,” said Ferragamo. “I’m constantly reminded that my grandfather walked the very same streets that I do now — though probably with less tourists!”
Here, Ferragamo shares his favorite shopping destinations in the ancient city.
"Santa Maria Novella was founded by Dominican friars in the 13th century. It’s remarkable that even today it’s possible to buy products made by artisans whose skills have been handed down for generations. All the products here are made with plants and essential oils—the smell inside is captivating." Lavender soaps, $50.
"The perfumes of Lorenzo Villoresi are inspired by Renaissance-era Tuscan merchants. The materials, colors, and scents of Tuscany meet the spices and influences of the Middle East. All aspects of production are still done manually using traditional methods, which requires time, patience, and meticulous care and attention." Alamut eau de toilette, $118.
"Flair is a store and gallery founded in 1998 by Alessandra Tabacchi and Franco Mariotti. It showcases a unique collection of design objects and home furnishings, all chosen for their emotional resonance and character. It’s a space for the imagination to celebrate."
"At the end of Via Tornabuoni, Loretta Caponi is more than a shop—it feels like a home, and it’s worth a visit for the spirit of Italian hospitality. The elaborate lace and embroidery, produced by Caponi’s daughter, are testaments to Italian craft. It’s among the last surviving such stores in Florence."
"Open since the early 1930s, Luisa Via Roma is the brainchild of Frenchwoman Luisa Jacquin. It began with women’s hats, and it’s now recognized globally as a cutting-edge brand, one known for discovering young design talent and exploring new technologies."