Located in central Italy, Tuscany is famous for its spectacular scenery, awe-inspiring architecture and pleasant climate, making it a popular destination for expats. There is a wide range of shopping options offering homeware to suit everyone.
There are a number of supermarket chains that, like their British counterparts, sell a range of houseware items as well as providing an opportunity to do the grocery shopping.
The French company Carrefour has a number of stores throughout Tuscany – locations include Florence and Lucca – stocking electrical goods, kitchenware and homeware. Co-op supermarkets and Ipercoop department stores can be found throughout the region, offering reasonable prices. There is a Famila store in Sinalunga, Penny Markets in Monteriggioni, and Sinalunga, as well as Eurospin stores in Sinalunga, Montepulciano, Colle Val D’elsa and Bettolle. Other stores include Sisa, Pam and Metro.
A familiar name in electrical sales for many British people is Euronics, which can be found in a number of Tuscan cities including Lucca, Florence and Siena. This shop sells a wide range of home appliances from Beko, Hoover, Nescafe Dolce Gusto and Kenwood to name just a few. Other options include Trony, Cobra and Unieuro.
There are also several department store chains that offer a range of homeware items.
Coin is a home-grown Italian department store that can be found in Florence, Lucca and Livorno. It offers a good selection of brands at reasonable prices as well as lovely, if expensive, linens. La Rinascente in Florence is more high-end, with a number of designer brands and a lovely rooftop café overlooking the Duomo.
For a sense of the familiar, IKEA has a store in Florence which opens daily from 10am to 9pm. The main restaurant closes in the afternoon (3pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday and 3.30pm to 6.30pm on Saturday and Sunday), but refreshments can be obtained at the bar and bistrot e bottega.
For those who love a bargain, there are a number of designer outlets in Tuscany. However, while the goods are discounted, they can still be on the pricey side.
Located about 30 minutes to the south of Arezzo on the A1, the Valdichiana Outlet Village is open from 10am to 8pm each day, offering a good selection of houseware brands, including Bialetti for coffee and kitchenware, C’è Bassetti for home textiles and Villeroy & Boch 1748 for quality china, glassware and kitchenware.
The Barberino Designer Outlet is conveniently located next to the A1 motorway, giving easy access from both Florence and Bologna. It is also open from 10am to 8pm and is home to more than 100 stores. These shops include Home & Cook, which sells a wide range of gadgets, and La Casa Italiana, which offers fine quality linens at low prices.
As would be expected, these outlets are located outside of the main urban areas but can be reached easily by public transport. You will be able to find the best routes on the relevant websites.
For the more adventurous, there are a number of antique markets offering more unique items. Most of these take place on set weekends during the month, although some are suspended during certain months. All are well worth a visit to soak up the atmosphere and hunt out a hidden treasure or two.
In Florence, the Mercato delle Pulci, situated in the Piazza dei Ciompi, is open daily from 9am to 7.30pm, but closes on Sunday and Monday during the winter. On the last Sunday of each month, this market becomes much larger and takes over many of the side streets around the piazza.
The historic market place Piazza del Mercato in Siena is home to a small antique and flea market on the third Sunday of the month, except August. It is housed in and around the unique tortoise shell shaped building known as Il Tartarugone.
Lucca’s antique market is considered by many to be the best in Tuscany for buying antiques. It takes place on the third weekend of the month, and is well known for furniture, prints and textiles.
The first antiques market in Tuscany started in Arezzo in 1968, and is held on the first Sunday and preceding Saturday of every month in the Piazza Grande, with more than 400 stalls offering unique items.
Every second weekend except in July and August, the Ex Breda factory in Pistoia plays host to a market specialising in antiques, bric-a-brac and contemporary art.
The market in Perugia takes place every fourth weekend in the Palazzo della Prefettura in the summer, before moving to Rocco Paolina in the winter. This is a great place to find ceramic goods.
Each city and town in Tuscany has a variety of independent shops where you can find traditional or unique items. Here, we make some suggestions for when you are in Florence.
For kitchenware, a visit to Dino Bartolini on Via dei Servi is an absolute must. Opened in 1921, this store stocks a huge selection of utensils and culinary apparatus.
If you are looking for something funky, unique and original, check out the Mio Concept Store on Via della Spada. This store has a fascinating range of designer objects for the home, many of which are upcycled objects.
Marioluca Giusti in Santa Maria Novella specializes in colourful acrylic tableware items. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is well worth visiting to see the spectacular, eye-catching displays.
Also in Santa Maria Novella is the showroom of Richard Ginori, a Tuscan ceramics company that was established in 1735. It is not cheap, but the quality makes it worthwhile.
For traditional items handcrafted from olive wood such as chopping boards, pepper grinders and cutlery, visit Coltelleria Artigianale di Fabio Figus.
When are you planning your shopping trip, remember that some of these shops will observe the traditional riposo (siesta) in the early afternoon and many will be closed on a Sunday.