Being a savvy sightseer in Florence is all about being ‘streetsmart’—taking note of the shops, sounds, scents and smiles that add atmosphere to a given area and lend a street its spirit.
Crossing ponte Santa Trinita and veering onto via Maggio can feel like little more than ‘part 2’ of the pristine and pricey via Tornabuoni. But shake any misconceptions you may have of this street as stuffy. Sure, it’s tough to deny its dignified air, but there’s more to via Maggio than glamorous art galleries and antique shops. The variety in the short block from the Buontalenti fountain to the Browning residence just might surprise you.
VIA MAGGIO > The Don’t Miss List
1. Celeste p.za San Felice 1 – Vintage shop
2. Catellacci p.za San Felice 11/r – Kitchen and household items
3. Dolcissima Firenze (61/r) – Sweet treats
4. L’ATELIER VIA MAGGIO
(78/r) – A fresh new concept store on the far end of the street, L’Atelier is operated by three artisans, each with her own unique specialty. Depending on the day and on where your tastes lie, any number of items may catch your eye while window shopping: ceramic kitchenwares, children’s clothing, Caterina de’ Medici-inspired perfumes, velvet scarves and more. The majority of the merchandise is made strictly in-store, in an open workroom that highlights the finest of Florentine traditions.
5. And Company Shop (60/r) – Calligraphy & design studio, furnishings, accessories, more
6. MARIO BEMER
(68/r) – Bespoke men’s shoes are Mario Bemer’s bread and butter. The Florentine artisan has a loyal following all over the world, from Tokyo to Tampa. Investing in a made-to-measure pair of shoes doesn’t mean swiping your credit card and then ceasing all contact with this calzolaio: Bemer can make necessary adjustments as feet and posture change over time. If the ultra-luxe custom footwear is beyond your budget, Bemer offers ready-to-wear options as well.
7. VERABIS VINTAGE
(33/r) – Filled to the brim with top hats and tablecloths, purses and penny loafers, this hole-in-the-wall has a personality all its own. Jackets, tote bags, muu-muus and more decorate the walls and dangle from the ceilings. Rifle through the racks and you’re likely to spot Gucci blouses and grandmothers’ castoffs within a few inches of each other. Digging is the name of the game in this delightfully disorganized shop: amid the sequined bowties and polka-dotted socks, you’re sure to score some real treasures.
8. Bar Patrizia (31/r) – Quintessential ‘corner bar’
(13) – Let there be light! This historic chandelier and lamp showroom has been headquartered on via Maggio for 55 years. Spanning an eclectic mix of shapes and styles, and modeled after centuries-old prototypes, Albizzi’s elegant light fixtures are nothing short of regal. Orb-like structures, Russian-inspired chandeliers and even golden candelabras all give the store its characteristic glow. (Bulls in china shops, beware).
10. St. Mark’s (16–18r) – Anglican church and cultural hub
11. Dexter (7/r) – Unisex boutique
12. Vincent Croce (4/r) – Womenswear
On the edge of via Maggio at piazza San Felice 8 stands Casa Guidi, the fifteenth-century residence where poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning spent time until she passed away in 1861.