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Window Shopping in Florence

Photo by Diana Dinverno

While exploring Florence, taking in the city's art and history, I came across another pleasure—admiring window displays. Business owners of every stripe—luxury retailers with international name recognition, small boutiques, book and paper goods stores, and even tourist trade shops—realize the power of a beautifully dressed window and leverage it at every turn. I lingered in front of shops with candy-colored leather gloves artfully fanned across shelves and cafe windows with assortments of mouthwatering sweets.

This presentation of children’s clothing made me hesitate even though no one in my family needed miniature apparel.

Photo by Diana Dinverno

Having no reason to purchase a gown, I bypassed this shop as well.

Photo by Diana Dinverno

Many businesses occupy small spaces, so if large windows front an establishment, passersby are treated with plenty of eye candy. Across from the Pitti Palace, we found a men's haberdashery with a footprint of no larger than 200 square feet, abundantly stocked with quality men's shirts and silk ties that could not have been more beautifully arranged. Lured by the store's charm, we crossed the threshold. Along two long walls, built-in wood-shelves that neared the ceiling, kept shirts organized.

"Do you have red ties?" my husband inquired.

The clerk pulled out one of the many deep drawers below the shelves and gestured. "Here, Signore, are the solid-color red ties." She opened another drawer. "Here, we have red stripes."

We discovered that every color and design had its own drawer. We left with the perfect red tie.

Several Florentine retailers turned out to be dog-lovers. One morning while crossing the Oltrarno (the part of the city on the south side of the Arno River), we found this cutie curled up on merchandise in a patch of sunlight.

Photo by Diana Dinverno

In another shop, the proprietor stationed a pup to greet customers. Are we open, mamma?

Photo by Diana Dinverno

Have I mentioned shoes? There must be dozens of storefront windows filled with finely crafted footwear and other leather goods. If you're into shoes (or leather bags) and plan to visit Florence, you'll be in heaven. Shoes are made in Italy. In fact, Florence is the home of a leather school. Foolishly, I purchased shoes before my last trip, so I had to be content with window shopping. What was I thinking?

We pressed our noses to one window in particular, a real estate agent’s listings in Florence. This, by far, was the most enticing display. On a future trip, perhaps we'll pop in to take a closer look.

Until then, I'll keep my mind's eye on this:

Photo taken at the Caffe Gilli by Diana Dinverno

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