Bargaining 101 – The Florence Leather Market

It’s always tricky shopping at the leather markets, lots of pressure to get what you want at the best price and lots of salesmen.  it’s true that Florence makes some of the best leather in the world, after all it is the home of Gucci so don’t miss the markets on your trip.  It you are looking for small leather goods, gloves, belts, wallets or purses, you can find an ample selection and if you are a good bargainer, you can get some amazing deals.  Out friends at Go Global  have some amusing tips for how the be a master bargainer!


Before entering the market discuss a game plan with your travel companions. What are each of you looking for, how much are you willing to spend, etc. Shopping through the leather market takes a full team effort.

Go in with a budget in mind and stick to it like your life depends on it. Only want to spend 50 euro on a purse? Refuse to let yourself go above that.

Bring cash in smaller bills (5s and 10s). A lot of the vendors take credit cards but as soon as you flash that card they assume that the sky’s the limit. Also, if you already have cash on you you won’t be as tempted to hit the ATM to splurge on that fabulous leather coat you just need. Trust me, you don’t need it.

Once you have your eye set on an item act generally disinterested in it. Look it over, put it down, ask your friend about it, don’t be too sure. But DO hang around the stand so that the vendor can see that you might want something. Once he comes over the game begins.

While maintaining a look of disinterest ask him how much it is (“Quanto costa?” in Italian). He’ll say his highest price. Act outraged. Then, mentally, figure out the 3/4ths cost of what he said (for example, if he said 100 euro figure 75 euro). if that 3/4ths price is above your budget then walk away, as this number will most likely be close to what you actually pay for the item. If it’s too much walk away immediately and don’t look back (no matter how many times he yells “bella, bella, come back” at you). If that is still in your price range then the the game continues.

Insist that the item is not worth that much. Examine it CLOSELY (even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s all for show) and offer him half the price (depending on the item). He will act just as outraged as you were in the beginning and will tell you about the quality of the leather, how this would sell for millions in the store, etc. Don’t blink an eye.

At the point say something about how much you like it but can’t afford it. Now, BEGIN TO WALK AWAY. If he’s willing to offer you the 3/4ths price the vendor will call you back. If he’s not he won’t.


At this point prices will be shouted out faster and he will drop is smaller increments (85 to 82 to 81, for example). Don’t let this intimidate you. If your budget is 75 euro then let your final offer be 70 euro. Let the vendor be the one to say the final price (in this case 75). Sign, look over the item, think pensively (at this point he might even lower the price more if he can tell he’s almost at a sale!) After a bit of this look at him and say “I’ll take it.”

All these tips worked for me! I was even able to bargain better than my tips, getting a pair of 130 euro boots down to 70! Definitely my favorite Italian purchase yet!

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