(Editor's Note: Recently we put out a call for article about LGBT travel from our community. This article was sent to us through that program. We bought it, we love it. Do you have an article you'd love to have us publish? Read this article. I look forward to reading your articles.)“You are the homosex?” asked a stout young Italian woman, hanging outside of the unopened bar with her giggly girlfriend. I turned to my friend – we’d definitely found the gay bar. That night, which began rather unimpressively, culminated in the offer of a threesome from a seventeen-year-old. We politely declined. Other clubs weren't on the agenda, as online reviews seemed to suggest many were of the backroom variety and we didn’t want to risk tainting the beauty of Florence with impromptu grope sessions. So instead of penning an article on Florentine gay nightlife or a comical lack thereof (the latter seems to be my specialty), I’m writing about another favorite pastime of the vacationing gay: shopping. I embarked on an exhaustive vintage scavenger hunt – all in the name of journalistic integrity, of course. A lot of online resources are devoted to the female shopper, but don’t let that discourage you. From thrift shops to well-curated emporiums, Florence has something special for anyone.Although I crafted a thorough shopping itinerary, I was most pleased with the places I found by happy accident. My first stop (and one of those happy accidents) was Verabis vintage (Via Maggio, 33r). Run by grandmotherly Vera, who sweetly asked me to “fan” her store on Facebook, Verabis is little more than a particularly charming charity shop, but the lack of designer labels means lower prices. Despite the limited inventory (only accessories for the men) I came away with a satisfying little haul – an unexpectedly sophisticated faux-leather bag from the seventies and a pair of eighties Gianfranco Ferre sunglasses, not to mention an assortment of gorgeous little things that had been missing from my wardrobe without me even realizing it. I wore half of it out the next day (plus some clothing) and was stopped in the street by an Italian style blogger – what better measure of a successful shopping excursion?The next day I stumbled upon Stondo (Borgo Della Stella, 7r). In addition to an extensive selection of men’s outerwear the store also has its own line of accessories, including hats. I picked up a tan fedora and, feeling like Cary Grant, continued on my way. Ceri Vintage (Via dei Serragli, 26r) was the first store that looked like a contemporary urban boutique, rather than a well-stocked storage unit. I was fascinated by the store's extensive selection of army surplus and tried on a German U-boat officer’s jacket before deciding on a well-preserved vest from the 1940’s. It looks like the inspiration for most of what Rag & Bone does and will make a wonderful conversation piece.At the interestingly named Street Doing (Via dei Servi, 88r) I picked up a seventies Fendi muffler, despite owner encouragement to invest in a pair of wide-legged brown velvet pants. “They’re very important,” he stated, repeatedly. “And unfortunately very ugly,” I thought to myself. The store had a solid men’s selection and, if I understood the owner correctly, they’re opening a burlesque next door. Or maybe they'll just have a selection of women's lingerie? If only I spoke Italian.I ogled silk ties by Gucci, Celine and Yves Saint Laurent in Epoca Vintage (Via de Fossi, 6r), but was won over by a skinny electric blue leather tie labeled, “made in W. Germany”. Epoca carries a great variety of men’s clothing including vests, knits and outerwear. Melrose (Via dei Ginori, 18r) also has an impeccable men’s selection. They stock Levi’s 501s in every size, all the way down to twenty-five. I picked out a perfect-fitting pair that makes me want to coo, “nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s – er, Levi’s.” I also found a gorgeous Lama and acrylic coat with faux-fur trim. When I handed the coat to the owner so I could peruse the store’s (also great) jewelry selection, I turned back to find that he’d put it on and was checking himself out in the mirror. “Did you want this?” he asked.Every traveler, shopaholic or not, should plan to spend a few hours at the Tuesday morning Cascine Market. Where, amidst a sea of vendors hawking the generic and identical, I stumbled upon a man selling knits from J. Crew and Woolrich and vintage flannel coats from Pendleton. For me, most pieces were about five sizes too big, but I consoled myself with extra-soft Ralph Lauren flannel. If you’re feeling lush, supplement your vintage finds with pieces from one of the many shops selling gorgeous handmade leather goods or locally-sourced cashmere. Shopping Florence is one of the best ways to experience an integral part of the city’s culture – style! So wind your way down a narrow backstreet (or write down the addresses from this story), and don’t forget to bring along a reusable shopping bag or two – or three.Sean Santiago is a freelance writer, photographer and designer currently based in Europe. A graduate of James Madison University, Sean just finished a yearlong self-termed “growth period” in China, where he taught English and served as a freelance style editor for Redstar magazine. To follow along on his misadventures around the world and for daily musings on people, places and things, visit his blog, The S.S. Santiago.

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