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“Florence is the kind of city that despite its small size, can collect hidden spots that even seasoned locals might never know about. I imagine that the reason being that Italians as a culture are less apt to share these secret places that they love. Hence why they remain somewhat mysterious and hard to find. Which if I’m honest, is a little more exciting at times. Another reason is that many small businesses just don’t invest in marketing themselves online because they don’t wantto or don’t know how. Preferring the ‘word of mouth’ approach that has madeItalian goods so famous in the past.

It can seem ‘strange’ to some of my Americana friends but as I live here longer, I sort of get iteven if I do wonder how some places can financially stay in business. While there are manyshops that are very special, all around Florence, I want to focus on neighborhoods. Of course this means I need to start with ‘home’, the area I can’t shut up about, my previousoltrarno ‘other side of the river’ or ‘Rive Gauche’.

After talking with my friends over at Palazzo Belfiore, which by the way has some truly amazing apartment vacation rentals just steps from my favorite piazza della passera, I knew I needed to write this post. While I don’t dare say anything here is a ‘hidden  find’ – let’s get real here, almost everything has been ‘found’. These spots are places that are special to me that I think people would enjoy knowing about. They also happen to be pretty budget-friendly with a few exceptions.

One thing to keep in mind is that this area keeps to the Italian tradition of closing for lunch (from around 1 to about 3 or 4pm) and stores are often closed on Mondays. I also recommend checking out my post about the artisan craftsman that make this area of the city famous and which are one of the many reasons I wanted to live in this neighborhood.

Maria Pace – Creative Clothing

Location: via romana 22r. This store that sells clothing for women, all in a variety of interesting shapes and textures and happens to be one of my favorite little hops in Florence. The quality is good and the prices are very reasonable, it almost reminds me of the style of Dixie (a major brand in Italy). The kind of place where you can get a long tunic or wool sweater, they also carry a range of interesting accessories – I adore their necklaces.”


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