a VirtualTourist member
I will be coming to Florence in First week of November. What best I can buy from Florence to gift my parents, friends?
What are the office hours in Florence,Italy as I will be on business trip hence want to spen quality time in evening
I can recommend you to by some Italian shoes as gifts for your parents.
office hours are same like in all Europe.
Shops stay open until 7-8pm so you'll have time after work to have a look round.
I would not suggest you buy shoes. People need to try shoes on to ensure they are comfortable and in my experience Italian shoes tend to be rather narrow (sizing varies from country to country). The same applies to leather jackets : the person really should be there to try it on.
You know your parents' and friends' tastes best ...and we don't know your budget or the weight you can carry home...but I'd suggest these possibilities:
* leather bags
* leather gloves
* typically Italian foods e.g. olive oil, florentines, amaretti & other biscotti, cheeses, cold meats and suchlike. The stalls in the Mercato Centrale will vacuum-seal meats etc to ensure they travel well. (Check your own country's import regulations before your visit.)
* tablecovers, teatowels or drinks coasters with Florentine scenes
* a stove-top moka coffee-maker for making espresso plus some packets of ground coffee
* If money is tight and weight restricted go for fridge magnets, key-rings and small reproductions of famous works of art. Those, plus scarves, are very easy to pack, not too expensive and weigh very little.
In Florence think of leather handbags and jackets... or gold chain/jewelry... but many items to choose from with very helpful clerks in the shops. Have fun!
I'm sure the OP will find the detailed information and ideas, all written by VT locals and visitors in the Florence travel guide useful:
[original VT link]
There is a separate section about shopping, which may help:
[original VT link]
My own Florence pages and tips (I've visited 4 times so far) are here:
[original VT link]
The office time in Italy is from 8 am to 12 or 12:30, then is break for lunch which last 1:30 hours, reopening at 13:30 or 14:00 and closing at 17:30 or 18:00. In case of business meetings it can last longer but usually not after 20:00.
It all depend on how much you are willing to spend. Florence is not cheap town and high quality goods is expensive, especially if branded. It is most likely that you will have pretty limited time for tour of the shops.
A good gift for man can be a bottle of fine wine, I suggest Barolo or Brunello from Montalcino. Such wine, of descent quality, cost from 30 to 100 euros. The pricey bottle cost up to 1.000 euros and more but it is madness to pay so much. Silk tie or nice shirt are also a suitable gift for a man, medium quality costs from 50 to 100 euros.
Your mother would be probably very happy to buy her gold jewelry, check for it at one of numerous shops at Ponte Vecchio.
I agree with the other members on both shopping advice and office hours, especially leics who very near described the contents of my own suitcase on many occasions.
Everyone wants shoes and jackets and these are fine if you know exact measurements (I've done it successfully many times but you must be EXACT, and Italian shoe sizes do tend to run smaller and narrower, much like many clothing sizes) or are shopping for a person who is not too large in general. Leather gloves are a great gift too, but again, knowing a hand size is important. Leather is a great thing to buy in Firenze and Italy in general, and bags and belts are another good option too.
A friend of mine who's very into jewelry loves shopping there for what she says is some of the best quality and pricing on gold & coral (specifically angel skin) she's seen and for jewelry in general if your budget permits or it's what's required.
Personally I'd stick to general things like meats and cheeses if you can take them back, wine if you can wrap it well, same goes for olive oil, and chocolates are of course the easiest. Biscotti aren't a bad idea, especially if they're to be consumed immediately. Scarves are an excellent cheap option and there's such variety as well, shawls too, and coffee-related gifts are always well received in my experience too.
Kids are pretty happy with anything, but I always loved little painting replicas, figurines, or nice leather bound notebooks/diaries, and I'm sure there are plenty of adults these would appeal to as well. I even remember buying many very nice, not-so-expensive knives in the mercato in the center of Firenze while growing up and they made great gifts too, so if these are still readily available they're great. Happy shopping!