June 20, 2024

Guide to Fabric Shopping in Florence


Florence is one of my favourite cities in the world: the architecture, the history, the art, the food, it has it all! And, if you’re a keen sewist, it also has a fabulous selection of fabric shops. Florence is hub of fashion in Italy and as a result has a lot of very high-quality fabric stores which are amazing to visit and shop at when you’re in town. I put together this guide so you have a one-stop reference for fabric shopping in Florence – including opening hours, addresses, and fabric shopping tips!

I’m an enthusiastic fabric shop visitor but by no means a Florentine expert, so if you have any additional places to recommend or top tips to share, please add your thoughts below. Note, all info is correct as of May 2024.

General tips for Fabric Shopping in Florence

  • Getting around: Most of the fabric stores in Florence are in the historic center, which makes a walkable shopping trip easy – and very picturesque!
  • Opening hours: Many fabric stores have a 2 – 3 hour break in the middle of the day (Italians take lunch seriously), and are closed at least one day a week (often including Monday morning), so check opening hours before you plan your day.
  • Currency: Italy uses Euros, and all the stores mentioned happily take foreign credit cards. There are also many ATMs in the center if you’d like to get cash.
  • Tax Back: If you live outside the EU, you can get 13% tax back if you spend over Euro 70. I found most stores proactively offered this service, but if not, you can ask. They will need to see a copy of your passport to fill out the paperwork – a photo on your phone is fine. The store will give you a print out and a receipt in a “Global Blue” envelope – when you arrive at the airport for your return flight, first go to the customs window (at Florence Peretola airport, to the left as you walk into the building) to have your receipts validated, and then go to the currency exchange desk where they will either refund your card or give you cash. Note there are fees involved so you won’t get the full 13% back, but it’s still worth it if you did a lot of shopping!
  • Buying fabric: Fabric is sold in meters, and in my experience they are happy to sell in small units from about 10cm with a few exceptions (Antico Setificio being one). The fiber content and price of fabrics is typically written on a the end of the bolt or on a small label that’s tucked inside the roll.
  • Language: During my recent trip, all the stores had staff who speak English (and in some cases other languages). So while a “buongiorno!” never goes amiss, don’t worry about a language barrier when shopping.

FABRIC STORES IN FLORENCE

CASA DEI TESSUTI

Located right next to the Duomo, this historic store has been owned by the same family since 1929 and is now fronted by the very friendly Alessandro who’s happy to introduce you to his amazing wares and chat all things fashion and sewing. It’s a high-end store (featuring beautiful, draped mannequins in the window), with an old-school glamour, and wonderful to visit even if you’re not going to be purchasing. There are a wide variety of fabrics available, most notable a lot of haute couture specialty fabrics, many of which are manufactured specifically for Casa Dei Tessuti, and a big selection of suiting and shirting fabrics. I picked up some fabulous quality white shirting and look forward to making myself a luxe button-up shirt. Prices are definitely on the higher end, but so is the quality, so if you’re after top-end Italian fabrics, Casa Dei Tessuti is a great place to visit.

Address: Via dei Pecori, 20/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening hours: Monday 3 – 7pm; Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am – 1pm, 3 – 7pm. Closed Sunday.

Photo of storefront of Casa Dei Tessuti Florence

Fabric shelves inside Casa Dei Tessuti Florence

Adjustable mannequin in Casa Dei Tessuti, Florence

BACCI TESSUTI

Located right next to the Mercato Centrale near San Lorenzo, Bacci is the most “accessible” of the city center fabric stores, with a wide selection of fabrics, and a broad range of pricing (not exclusively haute couture). As with all the Florentine stores there’s a beautiful selection of silk prints, but there are also gorgeous coatings, a pretty large range of knits (not so common in some of the other stores) as well as varied selections of fabrics like linen, gabardine and cotton. I picked up a roll end of beautiful linen/viscose blend that will be a great summer top. If you’re looking to buy fabric, only want to visit one store, and don’t want to break the bank, Bacci would be my recommendation!  And as a bonus, afterwards you can visit the food hall upstairs in the Mercato Centrale and pick up an amazing schiacciata (sandwich) or two for lunch.

Address: Via dell’Ariento, 32/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening hours: Monday 3.30 – 7.30pm; Tuesday to Saturday 9 am – 12.45pm, 3.30 – 7.30pm; closed Sunday

Storefront of Bacci Tessuti, Florence

Storefront of Bacci Tessuti, Florence

Bacci Tessuti, Florence

 

VALLI TESSUTI

Perhaps the most high-end of all the stores I visited, Valli has a small but beautifully curated selection of haute couture fabrics (which you can see on the catwalk, on the video screen behind the desk!). Aside from enjoying seeing what wonderful yardage exists out there in the world, Valli does also have a fairly large selection of discounted remnants which make a purchase slightly more affordable. I picked up 2 metres of silk to make a top – a pricey but very personal souvenir from Florence.

Address: Via della Vigna Nuova, 81/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening hours: Monday 3 – 7pm; Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 7pm; closed Sunday.

Woman holding up shopping bag from Valli Tessuti Florence

Valli Tessuti Florence

Valli Tessuti Florence

ERMINI AGOSTINO

Just around the corner from Casa Dei Tessuti, Ermini is a small store which mostly focuses on suitings and shirtings, with brand names like Zegna appearing on the shelves. There’s also a small selection of Liberty and cotton prints, but I’d head to Ermini primarily if you’re after menswear or fabrics for tailoring.

Address: Borgo S. Lorenzo, 3, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening hours: Monday 3.30 – 7.30pm; Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am – 7.30pm. Closed Sundays.

Storefront of Ermini Agonstino fabric store in Florence

Ermini Tessuti Florence Ermini Tessuti Florence

 

ANTICO SETIFICIO FIORENTINA 

An astounding hidden gem which justifies its own blog post (read all about my visit here!), Antico Setificio is a historic silk mill in Oltrano, just south of the river in Florence. Visits are by appointment only, but absolutely worth it if you’re interested in fabric, looms, silk, history, or all of the above. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to see the very first “computers” and wooden machinery invented by Leonardo DaVinci still being used to weave complex and beautiful fabrics, which you will immediately recognize from the robes of people in renaissance paintings.

There is a showroom/store which is stunning but heads up: it’s very, very expensive. As in, I asked about one fabric, and it was Euro 1,000 per meter (!). The expense is entirely justified as these fabrics are hand-woven on looms from the 18th century and are used in the most luxurious garments and home furnishings in the world, including the Pope’s robes and mega-yachts. So if you’re in the market for Euro 4 million of upholstery for your mega-yacht it’s right up your street! But if you’re not quite at that life stage yet (just give it a bit of time, right?), it’s fabulous to tour the mill and learn more about the fabrics, even if you’re only going to be walking away with photos of the most brilliant emerald and navy chenille jacquard (SIGH).

Address: Via Lorenzo Bartolini, 4, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 1pm, 2 – 6pm. Closed weekends.

How to visit: Tours of Antico Setificio Fiorentina are by appointment only. They have a variety of tours including experiences where you can use a loom to weave your own fringing (which is what I did!), all the way up to “weaver for a day”. Contact them here for more details and availability.

Antico Setificio Fiorentino

HABERDASHERY AND NOTIONS IN FLORENCE

SAMBA MERCERIE (officially, “Haberdashery Samba Di Villani Carmela”)

Tucked away in an alley in the shadow of the Duomo, Samba Mercerie is a charmingly old-school, one-room haberdashery with a truly stunning button collection. There is a huge variety of vintage and modern buttons, including lots of unusual styles I haven’t seen elsewhere. There’s an ingenious system of sliding shelves to maximize their storage space, so be sure to gently push the yarn racks aside (or ask the shopkeeper to help you) to see the full rainbow of button colours. Samba also stocks pre-made tassels, as well as a range of standard notions from brands like Dritz.

Address: Via Santa Elisabetta, 10 R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 6.30pm. Closed weekends.

Storefront of Samba Mercerie Florence Buttons at Samba Mercerie Florence Interior of Samba Mercerie Florence

I had a fabulous time fabric shopping in Florence, and can’t wait to go back! I also heard about a famous textile museum in Prato (a short train/bus ride from Florence) that I’d love to visit next time.  Have you ever been fabric shopping in Florence? Do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear them!

Interested in other fabric store guides? Check these out:

5 thoughts on “Guide to Fabric Shopping in Florence

  1. Katie says:

    Amazing timing – I’ll be in Florence on Saturday!!! Thanks so much for this roundup!

  2. Flavia says:

    Love your travel guides Jenny! We also need a blog with your me made travel wardrobe, always fab!

  3. Erin says:

    I used your guide to fabric shopping in Paris last week. So much fun! I bought cottons and rayons in wonderful colors.

  4. Brenda Smith says:

    Thanks for venturing into these stores and documenting their wares. My favorite was Ermini Agostino for the totally charming and well-turned out older couple in charge, and the boxes of silk scarves at very reasonable prices. I bought many of my souvenirs here….but had forgotten it’s name. Thanks for including it!

  5. priscilla seybert says:

    WOW–heavenly–did you notice how clean the streets were? your fabric shopping blog is very enjoyable and informative. Make me want to go!!!!

Let me know what you think!