> SlowTrav > Italy > Travel Notes > Shopping/Stores

Some of our Favorite Shops

Pauline Kenny

This is just a random selection of shops we liked in Italy: bookstores, linen stores, kitchen stores, pottery stores, etc.

Remember: If you are doing some real shopping, you must spend over 150 euro in one store to get the tax rebate. They give you a form, you hand it in at a special place at the airport. It is located past the checkin and you must have the goods you purchased with you - so they have to be in your carryon.

And remember, that stores close in the afternoon. In larger cities they may only close for an hour or two. In small towns they can be closed from 1pm to 5pm. They open again for the early evening. See my description of store hours in the Instructions for Visitors - Food Shopping section.

www.sottocoperta.net: This site lists offical "sale" dates in Italy.

Bookstores

These are stores with English language books, papers and magazines or stores with good hiking maps. I also like to buy a book of photographs of Italy on each trip.

Florence

Stores for hiking maps and books:

Libreria il Viaggio, Borgo Degli Albizi 41 (near Hotel Monna Lisa)

Libreria E.P.T., Via Condotta 42r

I am sure there are great bookstores in Florence, I just haven't been to one yet.

Siena

Bookshop SRL, Via San Pietro 19 (in the Gallery), www.bookshopsiena.com. This English Language bookstore opened in 2004. "Our selection of books includes nearly 3,000 titles (and counting) of up-to-date titles and a solid backlist in various categories: fiction, biography, history, science, lifestyles, and regional, to name a few."  Bookshop is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 7:30pm

Libreria Senese, Via di Citta, 62. This is the street that follows the curve of Il Campo, just north of Il Campo. On your right walking away from Il Campo. Some English-language books, magazines and newspapers. Good selection of books of photographs of Italy.

Librerie Feltrinelli, Banchi di Sopra, 52. This is the main shopping street leading to Il Campo from the north of town. On your left as you walk towards Il Campo. Some English-language books, magazines and newspapers. Good selection of books of photographs of Italy.

Pienza

On the corner of the main piazza, just before the entrance to the historic center, is a bookstore with a good selection of English language papers and magazines and some English language books. Piazza D. Aligheri, 7 - at the end of the block on your right as you face the town entrance.

Cortona

Cortona has a good bookstore on Via Nationale, the street that goes from Piazza Garibaldi to the main Piazza Repubblica. If I remember right, the store is on your left.

Rome

Touring Viaggi, Via del Babuino, 20. Rome has a great store with detailed maps of every region of Italy, plus many other maps and tour guides.

Ceramics

The obvious place for ceramics is Deruta in Umbria, but we found that town to be overwhelming. As you drive into town, the main road is lined with huge ceramic stores. The historic center is filled with small "artisan" type stores. We only looked at a few stores in the historic center. Everything was beautiful, but very expensive. In the end we bought nothing. There are also supposed to be good stores in some of the towns on the Amalfi coast.

Many of the more tourist oriented towns in Tuscany and Umbria will have a ceramics stores. Usually the quality does not seem to be good. This list is a few stores we found with ceramics of good quality.

Gubbio (Umbria): Prof. Valentino Biagioli, Fabbrica Ceramiche, Piazza della Signoria, 3. The main street off the piazza in Gubbio is lined with ceramics stores. This is a much nicer place to shop for ceramics than Deruta and the Siena stores. We chose this store because we liked the styles he did. We bought a little container to take home.

Radda (Chianti, Tuscany): Ceramiche Rampini, south of Radda on the road from Radda to Gaiole.
www.rampiniceramics.com
This is one of the best pottery makers in Tuscany. They produce beautiful, find dinnerware. It is quite expensive. It takes them about 6 months to prepare an order and they will ship it to you. They have several patterns to choose from (some based on very old designs, some modern) and, since each piece is custom made, you can decide how you want the pattern implemented. We thought it would be wonderful to get a complete dinner setting by mixing four of the patterns. But, all we did was buy two cups and carry them home. Example prices: large plate 90,000 lire ($55), medium plate 80,000 lire, mug 50,000 lire, etc. They have a showroom in Florence, Via Ginori, 9 (first floor) (near the Duomo and Via Cavour).

San Gimignano (Tuscany): Ceramiche Lotti, phone: 0577-942019. I have not been to this store, but I bought a potato baking pot made by this company from a US online store. The store sells garden terracotta (terrecotte da giardino) and fired crockery (stoviglie da fiamma).

See Travel Notes: Amy's Shops List for more great shops.

Linens

Arrezzo: Busatti, Corso Italia 48, 9:00-13:00, 15:30-19:30, closed Sunday, Monday, 1 week in August.
Linens store. A very small store with only a few things on display (potholders, table napkins, etc.). Mostly for sale was Busatti fabric by the meter. Recommended in Frances Mayes book.

Montefalco: Tessuti di Montefalco, linen store.
On main street across from the church with the frescoes. Larger version of same store in Spello (see that description).

Spello: Tessuti di Montefalco, Via Cavour, 5, Tel and Fax: 0742-301870
Linen store on the main street across from the church with the frescoes. Small store with a good selection of fine fabrics made into household articles; placemats, table napkins, table cloths, towels, bedspreads, sheets, curtains. You can order exactly the fabric, color combination and style that you want, and they will ship them to you. The woman who runs the store speaks English. There is another store (larger) in Montefalco across from the church with the frescoes in that town. This is the nicest linens store that I have seen so far in Italy. We bought some cotton napkins and had some made to order and shipped (but they shipped the wrong color - oh well).

Leather

Florence: NOI, Via Delle Terme, 8, tel:055-210319.
Jane from CA, Fall 2001 and ColleenK from MA, 2000: These two members of the message board highly recommend this store with high quality and very well priced leather jackets. Jane even exchanged hers by mail for a different size.

Florence: Miracle, via dei Pecori 35/R, tel:055 274 1000.
Barb from KY recommends this store. Tell him Shannon's mother-in- law sent you! Owner is Ash Hemati. Barb was able to exchange a purse by mail.

Leather Shops

REDI on Via Vacchereccia, 14r, Florence
Donna from Florida, fall 2003: While I was in Florence, last summer (2002), for 3 months, I had a mission in mind, to find the best leather shop. I wanted quality, design, and fairness in price. I visited quite a few shops, but stopped looking when I stepped into a shop, called REDI, at Via Vacchereccia, 14r. It's right down the street, off the Piazza della Signoria (the square where the Uffizzi is), where the Rivoire Caffe is on the corner.

Not only did they have the finest leather and styles, but, the gentleman (Raffaele Silletti) who helped me, was extrememely helpful and courteous. I would only ask for him, because he had a keen sense of style and his honesty was much appreciated. I tried on so many things and he was a great asset in helping me to decide which things looked the best. I wanted to buy everything in the shop because I had yet to see such fine quality. The prices he extended to me were more than fair. He owns the factory, where they make the clothing, so these high end products can be bought at very reasonable prices. He also carries other leather accessories and has two more shops, in Florence.

I highly recommend this shop. It was definitely one of the most pleasurable shopping experiences I've ever had! Don't forget to insist on having Raffaele help you. If he's not there, they will call him, and he will arrive within minutes!

Other

Florence: L. Parenti, v. Pisana, 146 A/r
Maureen from Boston: I'd like to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug my friend Lucia's store in Florence. She has great jewelry and an amazing selection of watches and clocks.

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