by Lisa Marie Davis, Marist Italy MA 2013-14
Love shopping? Me too! One of my favorite things about living in Italy is observing Italian fashion. I use the word observing because I am, like most of you, a student, which means that my funds are extremely limited. I spend my days browsing Via de’ Tornabuoni to admire the latest fashion trends to then go to H&M or Zara and try to recreate a more affordable look. While these fast fashion corporations are affordable, they are by no means quality made. I cannot even tell you how many pairs of shoes I have thrown out or shirts that have unraveled, and I feel like I am throwing my money away! So how do you shop the styles without burning a hole in your pocket?
“Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?”
Yes! Let’s pop some tags. If you have lived in Florence for a bit you have probably notice the many vintage/ “thrift” stores in the center, but what you quickly learn when you enter is that they are beyond pricey and their proceeds are not supporting a cause. Where is the GOODWILL and SALVATION ARMY of Florence? Where are the thrift shops that actually give back to the community? Well last week I stumbled upon L’Aurora Onlus, a charity shop in the center of Florence.
L’Aurora Onlus was founded in 1989 by a small group of volunteers to serve the homeless and marginalized Florentine people. It survives today through the continuous efforts of working volunteers, donations and revenue from their charity shop (they have never received public funding). They are invested in promoting cultural solidarity in the historical center of Florence, by bridging the gap between cultures, generations and ethnicity to create a mutual understanding and respect. They believe in the absolute respect for the dignity and fundamental rights of the person, regardless of any differences. While they offer many services to all marginalized citizens, they primarily work with women, offering housing, legal and medical care, lunches, shower services, therapy and much more.
So about that charity shop… It’s located in an old church on Via de’ Macci 11, 50122 Firenze (side street behind Santa Croce). I mean, seriously, ONLY in Italy will a thrift shop be surround by fresco paintings that are over 5 centuries old; it’s incredible! I spent about 2 hours looking at all of their merchandise; they have everything from clothing, shoes and bags to toasters and dishware. So stop wasting your money on clothes you will probably leave or throw away in Italy and GO CHECK IT OUT! Last time, I was there I bought a pair roller blades for 10 euros!
**** Please remember this charity shop before you return home to the USA and think about donating your used items here.