the area around palazzo strozzi is full of upscale stores and top designers, such as armani and moschino. around ponte vecchio and the duomo are your mid-range, high street affordable stores, like zara and h&m. and of course, there are stalls between the duomo and via nazionale which, if you’re in the market for leather goods, will make your head spin.
but if you start looking out more closely, the city is dotted with unique independent stores which offer you the best of florence. i stumbled across boutique nadine completely randomly. it was a wednesday morning and i had made it a mission to find a new café to work in. somehow, though, i got the address wrong, and i started to wander aimlessly, feeling suddenly less in a rush to get some work done.
i saw a girl go in a dark boutique which, when looking closer, seemed to have pretty cool mannequins and vintage objects in the windows. not even questioning why the boutique was not lit, i followed her. i had officially entered vintage heaven. of course, i soon realised the store was not open, but she just smiled and told me to browse as she turned on the lights and got the store ready.
i won’t describe to you everything i wanted to buy – there were simply too many things. i stayed in there for almost a whole hour, mesmerised by everything in the boutique, trying things on occasionally.
to cut a long story short: i bought the most amazing necklace ever. there is a real butterfly in it, albeit dried up and glued to a kind of cushiony black thing. see photo below. it was not inexpensive (in fact, generally speaking, the store is not that cheap – but that’s only because everything in it is so amazing). but i have worn it every day since. it’s my new signature piece (i bought a heavy, dangling red apple 6 years ago and have worn it almost every day. this butterfly is my new apple.)
so i bought the necklace and had a little chat with the shop girl who gave me additional tips about local cafés and bars. she pointed me to this website which recommends over a dozen unusual spots in florence, including boutique nadine. makes me think there is some sort of hipster mafia in florence.
via de’ benci, 32
(they have another store near ponte vecchio
but i’ve heard this branch is better)