Lifestyle and Shopping in Florence
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 (one shows movies in English). The expat lifestyle will quickly become alight with the buzz of scheduled exhibitions, performances and an evolving culinary culture.
For the Florentines, socializing starts in the morning with a coffee at the local bar where people discuss everything: 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 if you are 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 you 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. If you wander around town away from the crowds, you will certainly 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 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 little further out of town in Montevarchi.