Florence Shopping List

When DP returns home from one of our trips, his bag rarely weighs even one kilo more than when we left. I will admit that I am the shopper in the family. My favourite little somethings to bring home are jewelry, ceramics, and art pieces – items that are made in the place we have visited and that will remind us of our travels.

But when we travel to Florence, even DP leaves extra room in his luggage. Florence is a shopper’s city and, best of all, it boasts the kinds of markets with which we fell in love in Mexico. Sure, you take your chances (just try returning an item at the San Lorenzo Market) but the prices cannot be beaten.

Here’s what goes on our shopping list:

Sun dried tomatoes

These are sun dried tomatoes purchased inside the Central Market. DP buys them in half kilo bags that have been vacuum sealed. We have twice taken some home to our families in Canada (DPs father is wild for them) but on my last trip home, the Canada Customs agent informed me that the tomatoes (even when sun dried and vacuum sealed) are strictly a no-no. We will be enjoying our tomatoes in Barcelona from now on.


Welcome to Europe, centre of the scarf universe. Even if you have never been a wearer of scarves yourself, you may find it interesting to witness the ways in which European women (and men) “finish” their outfit with a scarf. To make it elegant or classic or funky. The scarf is never merely functional, a warm bit of stuff at your neck (as I’m afraid it sometimes is in my beautiful Great, White North). The stalls at the San Lorenzo Market carry gauzy spring scarves in pastels stripes, sumptuous wraps for winter, and silk scarves at affordable prices. You may find yourself becoming a scarf person yet!


I am a collector of bowls. I understand that this is not the most sensible item to be acquiring in multiples (while living thousands of miles from my home country) but I can’t help myself. The San Lorenzo market has a number of stalls selling locally made ceramics but I favour the small shops surrounding the market. On our last visit, in August, I bought a large bowl with this lemon and vine design. DP approves.

Olive Oil

There is something magical about olive oil from Tuscany. You can actually taste the mushrooms and other earth-growing things from the region in which these olives were harvested. On each of our last three trips to Italy, we bought a bottle (or two) of olive oil from restaurants in which we ate. In August, anticipating this particular purchase, we actually packed bubble wrap and tape so we would be able to transport the oil home safely in our luggage. Here’s our collection of Italian olive oils, in our kitchen in Barcelona.

What is on your shopping list when you travel to Florence?


  1. Europe IS the center of the scarf universe! When I lived over there for a couple years, I came back with a whole bag full of cheapie scarves picked up in markets all over the continent!When I go to Italy, I always come back with jewelry from market vendors.

  2. Okay… you have inspired me! We are travelling to Italy in December with four students from our high school and I am going to pay closer attention to the jewelry for sale at the market. I admit that I got a little spolied living in Mexico for seven years… so much great (and affordable) silver!

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