Shopping the past

Shopping the past

Thu 13 Jan 2011 1:00 AM

There is only one thing more exciting than visiting Florence: shopping in Florence. And the possibilities are even more exciting when you consider the vintage shopping opportunities here. Because navigating this new, hip scene in the widely antiquated streets of Florence can seem a bit daunting, I will lead you on a brief tour to help you avoid the ill-fated checkered pants that looked so good when you tried them on in the store but not so fashionable in the streets. With the goal of acquiring stylish layers and brand-name accessories, let us embark on this shopping adventure.



A Ritroso on via Ghibellina, 24r (055/243941) boasts the charm of yesteryear for the very selective eye. It features a wide array of vintage brands that would have a 1960s fashion enthusiast in sartorial heaven. Brands include Pucci, Hermes, Cardin, Gucci, Versace and YSL, and the very informative staff guides customers through the rack of shoes, dresses, coats and costume jewelry, helping the customer find exactly what she (or he?) is looking for.



No tour of the Florence vintage scene would be complete without a visit to one of the stores in the premier vintage clothing chain in the center of Florence, Officina Vintage. With three locations and a hip staff, customers should feel secure that they can find whatever tickles their secondhand fancy. From bags to trench coats, furs and leather jackets, there is no lack of variety in Officina Vintage’s stores. Borgo Albizi, 85r (055/215828 ) is home to the flagship store of the vintage empire, which includes vintage Burberry, a wide array of men’s and women’s apparel, and an impressive selection of sneakers. Have a question? The friendly staff are happy to help you search through the neatly presented stock to find just what you’re looking for-and what’s in your price range. The Borgo Albizi store focuses on sunglasses and menswear, while the via del Giglio, 41r (055/215828) location has designer brands, women’s active wear, and bags. But act fast! Officina Vintage is popular among young Italians; your favorite mid-60s Burberry trench coat could disappear!



Melrose, on via de’ Ginori,18r (055/2670030), is a treasure trove of vintage clothes. You just have to search for them. By taking advantage of the store’s now-popular practice of selling by the pound, it is possible to purchase a good amount of quality items, though lots of sifting is necessary. However if you are a slave to trends, Melrose offers a wide array of hip garments that could make for excellent statement pieces. For a great deal, this is the spot. Just make sure to give yourself sufficient time to search for the perfect outfit.



For both men and women, Desii Vintage (via de’ Conti 18/21r; 055/2302817), is a tailoring dream come true. With cast-offs from fashionable Florentines’ closets, Desii for women offers a variety of Italian brand names, including Gucci and Versace, many with the tags still on. Accessories such as bags, scarves, and sunglasses from the 1950s and 60s also abound.



Nadine (Lungarno Acciaiuoli, 22r; 055/287851) is an established name in Florence’s vintage scene. If you are in Florence for only a short visit and are sightseeing near the Ponte Vecchio, Nadine is literally a minute away. The attentive staff has compiled a comprehensive stock of classic brand names and pieces to go along with them: Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, Fendi and Ferragamo are all represented here, with trademark dresses, coats and accessories such as gloves and scarves. The store is so well-known that designers from fashion houses purchase or rent iconic garments to serve as inspiration for future collections. Shopping at Nadine is a true experience.



For a completely different environment, trek to the other side of the Arno to check out Ceri Vintage (via dei Serragli, 26r; 055/217978) in the Santo Spirito area. Ceri Vintage offers a shopping experience that deserves to be called super hip and cool. Entering the store, you might think you are in Brooklyn or Greenwich Village, but the clothes are wholly Italian. The store’s owner and curator, Danilo Ceri, scours vintage fairs and stores to create harmony in his trendy collection of industrial, military and work wear. From distressed denims to period dresses and antique textiles, Ceri collects clothes from the 1800s to the 1960s. He has succeeded in constructing a real shopping gem in Florence. While some might criticize it as being too stylish (who needs a vintage store to look like an art installation?), Ceri Vintage is without a doubt the product of well-researched passion for vintage clothes.



Pitti Vintage (Borgo Degli Albizi, 72r; tel. 055/2344115) is a seemingly quiet vintage boutique that in fact has a vibrant feel to it. Living up to the name ‘Pitti,’ the store’s stock borders on the expensive, with 1960s blouses ranging from 60 to 100 euro. The 1950s eveningwear, designer collections and accessories are the stuff of a Mad Men wardrobe and a main draw for many shoppers.


From the hip and trendy to the elegant and chic, there is so much for the curious to see. These are just a few of the many centrally located stores selling vintage fashions. Both visitors and residents can easily integrate a peek into Florence’s stellar vintage boutiques with a day of visiting museums, restaurants and monuments. Feed your fashion appetite for less!





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