Vanilla to vibrators: sex shops in Florence
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Vanilla to vibrators: sex shops in Florence

A guide to the sex shops in Florence, with information on what they are like and where to find them.

Thu 01 Feb 2018 10:25 AM

Florence boasts quite a reputation for the romance-related, yet this seemingly vanilla city is no stranger to spice. Its range of sex shops is fitting to its smaller scale, meaning there’s no room for picky here. From modest shops to raunchier spaces, this ABC sorts through the lewd to offer options whose hospitality makes even R-rated content approachable and shame-free.

Tasteful temptation: Perché l’amore è un arte

Ph. Alice Fischetti

As its name suggests, this shop takes the seedy out of sex shops and puts classy in its place. Perché l’amore è un arte is a one stop shop for first-timers and Florence’s tasteful crowd. A selection of stylish lingerie and more moderate toys deck the entrance (think candy undies), which is swiftly swapped for high-quality BDSM gear, including handcrafted leather collars, cuffs and whips. The adjacent salon, neatly located off the street, sports a wall of curated appliances, from design vibrators to a range of more racy costumes and attire. The shop tempts you in discreetly, as its bright interior and kinky windows only hint at what’s inside: without a storefront unveiling the heat of its offerings, visitors feel comfortable strolling in. And despite its smaller size, female staffers keep the space stress-free by attending to every customer with discretion and care.

Borgo Albizi 65R

Smooth in Scandicci: Le Tentazioni

Ph. Alice Fischetti

This Scandicci sex shop, run by smooth-talking sexologist Antonio, is catered to the ladies, vaunting an array of costumes, lube, massage oils, vibrators and more for its 90 per cent female clientele. (Fun fact: Antonio sells strap ons to women more than any other toy.) Located a short walk from Scandicci’s main square, Le Tentazioni is a favorite among Florentines, and for good reason. Besides Antonio’s respectful and informative approach (“I love eroticism and I hate porn,” he explains), the tiny shop boasts both classy and raunchy selections, from stylish plugs to in-your-face DVDs. Its more risqué selection means modesty takes a toll, though only for a short while: beyond the initial façade, the well-lit, open-concept space offers a comfortable refuge for shoppers—and far from passing eyes.

Via Piero Calamandrei 9

Automatic loving

For many, the thought of looking someone in the eye and saying, “I’ll take this one!” is enough to avoid sex shopping altogether. But if you’re feeling flushed about kinky tastes, Florence offers a staff-free option. At Sex Lovers Sexy Shop H24 (remarkably not a Star Wars erotica droid), peruse all the goods you like in a 24-hour self-service shop with no personnel in sight. And though unsupervised sexy areas generally beget Florence’s sketchier crowd, the refined wine-red walls, modern machines and SMS shopping hotline makes this spot ideal for a reserved and classy clientele. As the shop likes to say, “commit the oldest of sins in the newest of ways”. And don’t forget your tessera sanitaria (Italian national healthcard) for this one, as a swipe is required to enter.

Viale Petrarca 44

Sultry seduction: Stranamore

This sexy shop is fit for a queen. Owner Franco greets guests with a cheery smile that puts nervous newcomers at ease. Like other shops in Florence, Stranamore focuses on the female crowd: women’s products are today’s biggest sellers, hence the wall of high-end vibrators and lack of overtly pornographic material. Besides Franco’s laid back and no-shame approach, the shop is neatly organized into well-defined sections with an initial foyer, making shopping for specific products a breeze. And in a sultry corner tucked behind a 70s-style beaded curtain, you’ll find that sex-shop staple of DVDs to peruse, though placed out of sight as to soften the room’s general aesthetic. The selection is limited but carefully considered, based entirely on client demand.

Via Aretina 275/e

Erotic for everyone: Sexy Shop Kickdown

If tasteful and modest are your sex-shop musts, then beware, this shop isn’t for the faint of heart. With apparently the largest erotic DVD collection in Florence, Sexy Shop Kickdown has absolutely everything you can think of (and things you probably couldn’t imagine). The store’s goodies are set up as a labyrinth of mirrored-glass cases, where admiring objects isn’t so unlike perusing a museum. Despite its rather crude (and overwhelming) décor, the kind-hearted staff explains the ins and outs of sex toys like a well-prepared Florentine tour guide. This fetish/LGBTQ-friendly store may appear a bit intense at first, but its high-quality offerings (USB-chargeable vibrators, extensive BSDM section, Eros Veneziani lingerie and latex attire) have kept this favorite running for over 18 years.

Via Francesco Baracca 3

In Italy, providing or exposing pornography to minors under 18 is illegal, meaning anything beyond design vibrators and modest gear requires an 18+ sign and tinted windows.

Practice safer sex in Florence with this TF guide to sexual and reproductive health resources.

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