Tuscany is one of the best places in Italy to shop for gifts. Although, this may be challenging for a tourist to find these unique handcrafted products. Here are some tips that will help you to make your shopping a lot easier.
- Choose Tuscany’s larger towns and villages. It is important to know that artisans always choose big cities and villages to make a profit. So, you are more likely to find working artisans in well-trafficked towns like Florence or Siena than small towns or villages.
- Pay attention to shop hours. It is wise to remember that most of the shops in Tuscany completely shut down between 1pm and 3pm. So, in order to avoid disappointment choose morning hours to shop or very late afternoon.
- Buy directly from the source. While many artisans set up workshops in town, cheesemakers and vintners often sell directly from their farm or vineyard. Depending on the time of the year, you might even get a peek at the production process.
- Know which Tuscan souvenirs to look for. Some crafts are especially honored in Tuscany. These products include: leather goods, housewares, olive wood, scarves, paintings, jewelry and ceramics. Tuscan towns like Florence and Arezzo are well-known for their gold jewelry but you should be aware of high prices. Florence also offers the largest selection of leather goods like handbags and wallets. Prices may vary considerably according to the quality of the leather and the handwork of a master. If you aren’t an expert on Italian ceramics, it can be confusing to pick the best one. Different areas like Daruta and Montelupo command premium prices, so you should visit small shops instead. This way you’ll have the possibility to find a unique piece of ceramics made by local craftsman.