Tourists enjoy exploring the sights and sounds of Italy for many reasons, but one thing this country is known for is its eclectic stores and shops. Here are some inside tips on shopping in Italy.
A fun souvenir for many travelers is the Carnevale (Carnival) mask. Carnevale is a pre-Lent celebration that is well known for its iconic masks. Nearly every shop in Venice offers a variety of them, from simple, inexpensive versions to masks that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Unless you have a safe way to transport the masks, it is best to consider the cheaper options. Prior to your trip, look online for examples of masks so you know what type you’re most interested in hanging on your wall back home. Then, when you reach Venice, be ready to shop around.
Throughout Italy, tourists are encouraged to explore the local flea markets for unexpected purchases.
In Verona, visit Via Mazzini for traditional shops with designer brands, as well as street merchants who are willing to bargain with their prices. Not far away, along Via Roma, just west of Piazza Bra, street vendors are ready to offer great prices for anything from trinkets to larger items.
For those who like to go antiquing, head to Piazza San Zeno on a Sunday in autumn to find the open-air antiques market. People from Verona and the surrounding areas come there to sell antiques, furniture, paintings, jewelry, and more.
When in Padua, you can wander the Market in Piazza Erbe to discover clothes, accessories, and even get a taste of local cuisine, such as roast suckling pig wrapped in bread rolls and flavored with herbs.
After you see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, head to the Piazza Dei Miracoli to find one of the largest concentrations of souvenir shops. This is where travelers can purchase their magnets, post cards, cup holders, and more.
When and How to Shop
Bargaining with prices is expected in many stores and shops. It may be useful to read about and practice this skill ahead of time to get the best offers. Remember that sellers are expecting to bring their prices down, so come prepared to negotiate.
The proper time to get a good price for summer clothing or shoes is during the “low season,” or the second half of August through the first half of September. Search for winter collections during December and January.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about shopping in Italy.