When traveling I like to purchase things that are native to that area. I recently found this book, Made in Italy, by Laura Morelli.
The book is divided into the different regions of Italy. It teaches you about the traditional handcrafted products of each region. It explains how to tell the difference between the ‘real deal’ and the cheap knock-offs. You’ll get an idea about how much you should expect to pay for a good product and a listing of a few places to find the artisans and their wares.
This book is a wealth of information.