Shopping in Florence
In Florence each area of the city was characterized by a certain type of work, each controlled by the powerful Corporazione delle Arti. There were sculptors' laboratories, leather goods makers, blacksmiths and goldsmiths. The corporations were based on strict rules and only the legitimate children of a member could join the profession. In this way, art and techniques have been handed down through the generations to the present day. Some old stores are still working today, such as the Antica Officina di Santa Maria Novella, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, where it is possible to buy essences and perfumes made to formulas that were created in the 16th century for Caterina de' Medici, and liqueurs that are still made today following the antique formula used by the Dominican monks. When walking along the Ponte Vecchio, you can see the famous Florentine goldsmiths' shops, while the handmade shoe makers are spread around the city. This Florentine tradition became famous thanks to Salvatore Ferragamo, shoemaker of the stars, whose creations can be admired in the museum carrying his name.
Food and Wine
If you want to buy local products, there is an endless choice of products such as tasty cheeses and salami that attract food-lovers from the delicatessen shop windows. Moreover in most shops it is possible to taste and buy refined wines and fine extra virgin oil in many wine-cellars around the city.