Lifestyle and Shopping in Florence
Expat lifestyle in Florence bursts with the same careful combination of antiquity and innovation that makes up the soul of the city. This provincial town, with its roots firmly planted in history, is now a bustling international destination with plenty to occupy the eyes and minds of those who move there.
To some, the pace in Florence might appear slow, but change is always in the air. Most people are attracted to the strong creative energy that still lingers in the streets; left over from the force that gave birth to the Renaissance.
The city has a rich cultural life along with a continual string of similarly inspired events happening in and around town. Apart from the well-known museums, churches, monuments and piazzas, expats will find plenty to see and do in the form of modern art galleries, parks, cafés, bookshops and cinemas. An expat’s lifestyle will quickly buzz with scheduled exhibitions, performances and an evolving culinary culture.
For Florentines, socializing starts in the morning with a coffee at the local bar, where people discuss weather, sports, current events and everything in between. Early in the evening, locals return to trendy cafés and bars for an aperitivo. They enjoy and appreciate their Tuscan cooking along with many other cuisines, such as Japanese, Spanish, American, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and Thai.
It's difficult not to become absorbed into the art of eating well, and for expats who enjoy mealtime preparation, two open markets sell fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheese, pasta and bread: Mercato Centrale and Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. Many ethnic markets have popped up around town for expats looking for something more exotic.
Shopping in Florence
Florence has become a shopping haven for both locals and tourists.
Most stores and boutiques flaunt a range of clothing and accessories that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets, but if expats insist on mincing through the many aisles of haute couture, well-known fashion designers can be found on via Tornabuoni, via Roma and via della Spada.
Two small department stores, Rinascente and Coin, are in the heart of the city within a block of each other. Expats who wander around town away from the crowds will find many more unique and interesting shops.
In Florence, there are still many traditional as well as contemporary artisans working in their botteghe (workshops). They create clothing, jewellery, accessories, purses and artwork, mostly with leather, wood, paper, fabric and bronze. The traditional artisans are concentrated on the Oltrarno side of the city, while the more contemporary creatives have inserted themselves where they can on both sides of the river.
Even if almost every shop imaginable can be found in the downtown area, there is still a mall, I Gigli, just outside of town. Two other outlet malls, The Mall and Barberino Designer Outlet, are only a bus ride away, while Prada Outlet Space is a bit further out of town in Montevarchi.