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Guide to shopping in Italy. Below you will find details on outlet stores in Italy as well as links to lists of recommended shops in Rome, Florence and Venice, as well as information on how to find bargains in Italy while shopping in Italy.
Despite the bad exchange rate between the Euro and other currencies, you can still find bargains in Italy. "Made in Italy" products that still offer great value for money, they may be more expensive than comparative products at home, but quality is there to behold. Italy is unique in many ways, it's Sales seasons are actually legislated by the government and any shop posting sales signs outside the official sales season can face heavy fines.
The winter sales season starts the first week of January, the summer sales around the second week of July, and the fall season sales around October. During this period you can find great bargains available on selected goods, although there are an increasing number of stories of shops that only put out their old-stock during the sales and that the advertised reductions are not true reflections on the original cost of the items for sale. In many Italian cities you'll find bargains out of season where you see the sign "Stock".
Until recent time, Italy was world production leader of counterfeit goods. Even today! You'll find plenty of illegal Gucci Bags and other fake products on sale on the streets of Italy. Beware of purchasing these products. You could purchase a fake Gucci bag for 15€, but if the Police or custom officials catch you in possession of that bag you might face a 5,000€ fine!
Window shopping in Italy is almost like a national sport, and you'll see some wonderful shop windows that in their own way are works of art. As a general rule, the more inspiring the display the higher the quality are the products. Try to avoid the blatant advertising in windows that "Scream" at passer-bys to enter. Most Italian women in particular won't even bother entering a shop unless they see something they like in the window. For a selection of high-quality shops and stores in Italy please refer to the links below:
Shopping in Rome - A selection of stores and shops in Rome, Italy. Rome is probably the best city in Italy to shop for general items and apparel as the prices in Italy for just about anything seem to get cheaper the further south you go and the choice in Rome is wide and varied to suit all budgets and tastes.
Shopping in Florence & Outlet Stores - A selection of stores and shops in Florence, Italy. The nearby outlet stores are nowadays famous through-out the world, but the city of Florence also has a fine selection of local designer cloth stores and other fine goods.
Shopping in Venice - A selection of stores and shops in Venice, Italy. The Venetians throughout history concentrated on selling luxury items to the rest of the world. And through that tradition, in modern-day Venice there are numerous artisan and specialist stores that draw admirers from around the globe.
In many of the Italian cities you'll find many street-markets that may contain some hidden treasures. At worst, they are great places for people watching as the Italians try to haggling for the best price. You'll find street-markets in Florence and Rome following these links.
Outlet stores are quite well established in Italy, and the most famous ones are located on the outskirts of Florence, but you'll also find other outlet stores featuring Gucci, Armani, D & G, Valentino in Milan and other Italian locations. Quite often you'll also find these famous brand names in regular stores as well at reasonable prices.
Tips for shopping in Italy
Italians are very personable people and shop owners are becoming more and more open to haggling over prices. But, even the most expensive jewellery and clothes stores are open to one kind of offer. In Italy, once you have settled on a price, play your last card - "How much will that cost if I pay you in cash". This should guarantee you a minimum of a 10% to a maximum of 20% discount on the agreed price.
Shops generally open around 9 a.m. and close for lunch at 12.30 p.m. Then, they re-open at 3.30 p.m. or later and stay open until around 8 - 9 p.m. Many shops are closed on Monday mornings. Though in tourist centres you'll find the souvenir shops in particular are open every day of the year. Always remember to take your receipt when you purchase something in Italy. It's against the law, yes! Italy has a law for everything, and if you're caught leaving a store without a receipt you can receive a heavy fine!
We offer a selection of shopping tours throughout Italy that include tours of the celebrated outlet stores where you can enjoy discounted prices on the leading Italian brand names such Gucci, D&G, Armani etc etc. These outlet store malls are located near Florence, Rome & Milan. As well as Artisan shopping tours through which you can purchase unique items manufactured by local specialists.