Leather jackets in Florence can be found everywhere, so how can you know the best place to shop?
I classify leather jacket shops in Florence into two categories: 'standard shops' and 'a cut-above' shops.
A typical scenario in a 'standard shop' goes like this.
You go into a shop and the jackets are priced at around €350, but the shop-assistant tells you that it’s 50% off so you can get the jacket for €175…. !
You may even be able to haggle a bit and get the jacket for €165...
This is a typical game, marking up the prices on products that are popular with tourists (bags, gold).
Generally speaking though, you can expect to spend about €165 - 175 for a leather jacket in a standard shop.
Standard shops are often run and operated by non-Italians, although the jackets should be made-in-Italy (check the label).
'A cut-above' shops are usually run by locals who have a history of working in the leather industry and who produce their own jackets which are of higher quality.
A higher quality jacket will be made of softer and lighter leather and will have a more uniform color, more polished finishings, neater seams, and will likely be more comfortable to wear.
These jackets will usually have start prices of about €250 – 300.
So, where to buy a nice leather jacket in Florence?
Read below for tips for buying standard or a cut-above jackets.
Buying from a market stall or from one of the countless ‘standard’ shops may mean dealing with some shady characters….
Here are some handy tips:
Don't be impressed by the typical trick of the vendor holding a match to leather to show that it doesn’t burn!
This is the oldest trick in the book and means nothing...
In actuality, it would take much longer to show a burn mark than the few nanoseconds a sales person waves the flame under the piece!
One of the best ways to tell if the leather is good quality is to feel it.
Leather should be soft, not rigid.
Also, take a part of the jacket (a sleeve) and mush it into a ball with your hands.
Good leather should pop back without much difficulty and without forming lots of wrinkles.
Avoid sellers who seem like 'smoothies'.
You know, they have a relative who lives in your same area, what a coincidence!
Or they too have the same jacket that you’re considering buying – in several colors of course...
You get the idea.
Trust your instinct and vibes – real professionals, even at the markets, don’t try to push people into buying and will be more laid back and let you shop in peace.
There's no reason to feel pressured into buying from anybody, since the VAST majority of standard leather dealers all have the same articles at pretty much the same prices.
Just go elsewhere if the attitude of the seller is off-putting in any way.
There are two main areas: the San Lorenzo market and piazza Santa Croce.
At the market you should look around the many stalls that sell leather jackets, but also the shops in the surrounding streets.
Many stall owners also have shops nearby, so the jackets at the stalls are similar to jackets in shops around the market.
A reputable shop on a little street off the market is:
Michelangelo Leather, via G.B. Zannoni 9r, tel. 055 28 54 97.
This store has a large selection of jackets at fair prices and offers good customer service.
Alternatively, go to piazza Santa Croce and the nearby streets.
The selection is very similar to San Lorenzo so if you’re short on time, just choose one area to look around (San Lorenzo has the greater number of stalls/shops and is just slightly cheaper).
Via S. Giuseppe, leading away from piazza Santa Croce (looking at the statue of Dante, it's the street parallel to the church on your left), has the shops with the lowest bargain rack prices since this is the corner of the square that fewer tourists get to.
Apart from offering goods that are a step up quality-wise, these shops have long-standing professional reputations, an added guarantee.
The attitude of the vendors and the service you will receive in the shops below will be worlds apart from shopping for a lower-end jacket.
If you want a special souvenir from Florence and a jacket that will last a lifetime, go for 'a cut-above' jacket.
where: via Guicciardini, 11r (near Ponte Vecchio)
store hours: 10 – 7, Sundays and holidays (10:30 – 6:30)
phone: 055 29 20 31
Although this shop is on a touristy street, it’s not just for tourists.
In business since 1983, La Pelle has built up an excellent reputation in Florence.
The shop owners Aldo and Sonia sell jackets of their own production so their styles are exclusive to the store.
They have a wide range from classic cuts to trendier looks at competitive prices.
If you're indecisive between a lower-end jacket and a 'cut-above' jacket, this shop is the perfect middle road.
La Pelle offers great value, a very wide selection and the guarantee of purchasing from long-standing leather professionals in Florence.
Tip: for women there is a final pieces rack near the store entrance with some great bargains.
where: via Porta Rossa, 65r (nearish p. Santa Trinità)
store hours: 10 – 7 (closed Sundays)
phone: 055 21 03 19
In business for over 30 years, NOI is a team of Florentine gentlemen whose passion is leather.
Nino, Francesco and the others want nothing more than to find you the perfect jacket.
They have a very large selection of pieces of the highest quality, each one more lovely than the next: chic reversible jackets, nappa leather jackets that are soft as butter, light and soft as a feather shearling coats, the list goes on.
Just to let you know, these guys are salesmen so be prepared to be wooed.
Although not overly pushy, they may seem a bit brash.
I’m not saying you’re going to get an aggressive sales pitch, just that these guys are 100% sure that you will be satisfied with one of their jackets and they want you to feel the same (there’s a guest book where you can see how many people - some well-known – are thrilled with their NOI purchase).
There is definitely room for bargaining on prices here so put your haggling shoes on.
Prices: top quality and shop reputation make for higher-end prices, jackets start at about €350
where: via Torta, 16r (a tiny side street near Santa Croce)
store hours: 10 – 7, Sun. 2 – 7 (Mondays not always open)
phone: 055 26 81 45
This is a workshop/shop.
The owner, Mirko Michele, designs, cuts, sews and finishes the jackets (and also other articles of clothing) on the premises.
The area with goods on display is miniscule, but as you walk in, just on the left, is a final pieces rack with jackets for under €200.
These jackets are much higher quality than the standards you find all over town, but the catch is that these are one-off pieces so either they have your size or they don’t…..
At this shop you can also have a leather jacket custom-made for you.
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