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Shop 'til you drop...Italian shopping tips! 
larry


Joined: 17 Oct 2005
Posts: 773
Location: Tampa, Florida
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Shop 'til you drop!

Italian shopping tips

Italian fashion is, dare I say it, second to none. No one else even comes close (sorry France, you are a distant second). You will see the best of the best when it comes to the fashion industry: Armani, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, Versace, Zegna, etc. When you see "Made in Italy," or "Fabbricata in Italia" you can rest assured of the quality and craftsmanship of the item you are buying. The cities of Rome, Milan and Florence have become very important centers for the fashion industry and dictate many of the trends we see here in the United States, Canada, and all throughout the world.

When shopping in Italy, many of the store-fronts will have their items prominently displayed with the corresponding prices attached. You can usually expect fine service when you enter into one of these boutique-type stores. Don't be offended if the proprietor hovers around while you browse, they are not watching to see if you will shop-lift...they just want to be available should you have any questions. You can expect to pay pretty inflated prices in these type of stores, unless you go during a sale. Look for either of these signs displayed in the window: Saldi (sales) or Sconti (discounts). The winter sale season usually runs from January to mid-February. The summer sale season runs from July to early September.

Italy does have a couple of department stores. The more notable ones are Standa and Rinascente (formerly Upim). Most of them will sell some clothing, food items and can come in handy if you want to pick up a nice inexpensive bottle of wine, olive oil, etc. There is also Mercatone Uno, but they are more for electronics, Italian furniture, etc.

Italy offers great deals on silk, leather, gold, crafts, ceramics, etc. A great place to find a bargain is usually in the open-air markets of some of the larger cities. Various neighborhoods of Rome, for example, will have their market on different days of the week. They tend to be similar to the flea-markets that you find in the United States and Canada. You can find great deals from shoes, food, to the kitchen sink, and other assorted items that you probably don't need. And sometimes you can haggle with the proprietor, although not always.

Some of the smaller towns will have these markets open one or two days a week. A lot of these vendors will then move to the next town on the next day for that new town's slated turn. For example, Town A may have their open-air market on Tuesday. Town B, 5 miles away, will have it on Wednesday, etc. When you get to your hotel, ask what day is the next market gathering.

Another thing to keep in mind when shopping in Italy, is that cash is king. Although many merchants now accept credit cards, it is not always the case. You should always ask: “Si puo’ usare la carta di credito?”. Also keep in mind that Visa and Mastercard are the cards widely accepted, and to some extent American Express. You can leave the Discover Card and Diner’s Club card at home. Contrary to popular opinion, you can leave home without the latter three.

Italy also has an excellent network of ATM machines. The Cirrus Network and HONOR system are all prevalent in Italy. Chances are that an ATM is always nearby. It is not necessary to carry traveler’s checks as once was customary. Check with your bank to be sure that they have ATM’s in Italy, but more than likely they do. The withdrawl will appear on your statement at a favorable exchange rate, less some nominal fee for the transaction.

You should also note that in Italy when shopping for an item that the prices indicated INCLUDE the sales tax. Which can be a good thing, being that Italy (and the rest of Europe) imposes an IVA, or value-added tax which is about 19%. You are eligible to claim a refund if you meet certain conditions on certain items.

So despite the strengthened Euro against the Dollar, there are still bargains to be found in Italy. It just takes a little diligence and planning, and you can come home with some fantastic Italian merchandise. “Buona Spesa”, or Happy Shopping!


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pizzaguy30


Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Philippines
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I totally agree that Italian Fashion is definitely on top in the industry with the biggest names that include Armani, Gucci and Versace. I think nothing even comes closer to Italian fashion designers and brands, that's for sure! Very Happy

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ThatsItalian


Joined: 03 May 2012
Posts: 20
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pizzaguy30 wrote:
I totally agree that Italian Fashion is definitely on top in the industry with the biggest names that include Armani, Gucci and Versace. I think nothing even comes closer to Italian fashion designers and brands, that's for sure! Very Happy


I was thinking almost the same thing. I think Italy is supposed to be the fashion capital of the world, right? Then, a close second is France? (But I know this forum is about Italy.)

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MinnesotaThom


Joined: 05 May 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Minnesota, USA
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I wonder if I could ever even afford to buy any of the designer pieces, especially the haute couture. I have bought very few brand name clothing items in my lifetime.

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Racheal


Joined: 08 May 2012
Posts: 13
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Well, if I go to Italy and I see some items on sale I probably would take the opportunity to buy them if I could. I am going to make sure I have enough spending money when I go to the fashion capital of the world-for sure. Smile

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Shop 'til you drop...Italian shopping tips! 
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