With number of shopping centres, boutique shops, open-air markets and streets, shopping opportunities in Italy are plenty. Be it fashion clothing, jewellery, accessories or furniture, everything is available in the country. Of all Italian cities, Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence are the best shopping destinations.
Milan is undoubtedly the main shopping centre in Italy as most of the renowned designers like Armani, Prada, Valentino, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana are based here. Quadrilatero d'Oro is the most popular shopping centre in Italy that has streets like Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant'Andrea, Via Monzani and Via della Spiga. All these streets are lined up with stores of prestigious brands like Versace, Louis Vuitton, Tanino and Fratelli Rossetti, to name a few.
Via Sant'Andrea Street in this shopping centre is best known for fashion accessories and designer boutiques of Chanel, Kenzo and Cesare Paciotti. Via Manzoni is famous for the flagship stores of Armani and Gucci. Other popular shopping centres in Milan are Piazza San Bablia, Piazza Cavour and Piazza Duomo.
After Milan, Rome, the capital city of Italy, is known to be a shopping haven as several outdoor flea markets, flagship designer stores and boutiques can be found here. Be it haute couture or antiques, tourists can find everything in the Roman streets and shopping areas like Via Condotti and Via Cola di Rienzo. For designer brands like Fendi, Valentino and Bulgari that originated in Rome, one can visit boutiques at Via Frattina, Via Sistina, Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti.
Porta Portese, one of the largest flea markets in Italy as well as entire Europe operates in Rome. Tourists can shop for antiques, second-hand clothing, artefacts, jewellery and furniture from this market. Flea markets at Via Sannio, Via del Corso and Via Nazionale are also popular in Rome.
Florence, another popular shopping destination in Italy, is known for leather goods. San Lorenzo Market is considered the best for leather items in Florence. Other souvenirs that can be brought from Florence are designer apparels, gold and silver jewellery, Murano glass and Venetian masks. For international designer brands like Gucci, Pucci and Ferragamo, the Santa Maria Novella district is popular.
Flea markets around Mercato Centrale, Mercato Nuovo and Piazza Santo Spirito in Florence are frequented by tourists for vintage clothing, jewellery, pottery and ceramics. However, some of the best jewellery stores in Florence can be found in Ponte Vecchio.
Venice, popularly known as the City of Masks is known for Carnevale masks, pure silk, linens, laces and other kinds of textiles. The Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marc have most of the designer boutiques like Armani, Laura Biagiotti, Missoni, Prada and Versace. One can shop for home furnishings at Gran Viale that is located in the Lido district. For antiques and glassware, the Murano district is famous.
Every region in Italy specialises in one or the other product, like Naples for ceramics, Vicenza for jewellery and Sicily for olive oil. Italy is famous for its wine as it is one of the foremost producers of wine in the world.
For wine shopping, Tuscany and Piedmont regions are considered among the best places in Italy. Although, wines of other regions like Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Campania and Basilicata are also famous.
There are two official sale periods in Italy, when all the shops offer heavy discounts for six weeks. January is the time for winter sale, whereas the summer sale starts in July. Apart from the sale season, most of the shops in Italy often offer up to 70% discount to the shoppers.
Shops in Italy are from 9 am to 9 pm, but the shops close for lunch from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. All the shops in Italy are closed on Monday mornings, but shops in key tourist areas are open every day. Supermarkets and departmental stores in Italy are open from 10 am till 7:30 pm and are closed on Sunday mornings.
VAT is known as IVA in Italy and is imposed on every kind of purchase. Generally 20% VAT is applicable on shopping in Italy. Apart from accommodation, food items and merchandise, other products are levied for 4% to 10% VAT. Tourists from countries other than European Union can get VAT refund on minimum purchase of 213.71 USD.
At the time of departure from Italy, tourists can get VAT refund at the airport's VAT refund desk. The original bill and other travel documents are required for getting the VAT refund. For avoiding the hassles of VAT and VAT refund, tourists can also shop at tax free shops that are marked by 'Free Shopping' or 'Euro Tax Free' sign on the window.
Me and my wife, from Pune,are planning to London sometime in July/August to visit my daughter. On our way we want to see Italy: Rome 2N, Pisa, Florence 1N, Venice, Padova 1N, Vatican: Vatican City, Switzerland: Lucerne 3N, Engelberg, Lauterbrunnen, Jungfraujoch, Interlaken and France: Paris 3N tentatively. Would like to know the best tour operator who provide service with value for money. I would also like to have comments about;
1. Thomas Cook
3. Cox and Kings
Look forward for an response,
My husband and I will b going to Italy, Pavia, to be precise which is 35 km south of Milan.
I would like to travel on my own while my husband is preoccupied with teaching at the
University. Can u help me out with some website/tips onthe safest and
cheapest method of travelling in Italy? Are there any travel outfits in
Italy catering to the lone traveller? Also are there any cheap motels,B&B
joints,hostels willing to accomodate a single person or later a family of 3?
Look forward to your responses.
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