Essays about life in Italy, traveling in Italy, and more
Shopping in Assisi and Environs
I feel I am uniquely qualified to research and write an article about shopping in Assisi for two reasons:
Given these two details, is has to be something really special to lure me into a store in town, but luckily Assisi is full of lovely, offbeat little boutiques unique enough to tempt even the avid non-shopper.
Unfortunately, average run-of-the-mill souvenir hawkers specializing in what we affectionately call in our family “shitky-ditky” are both more numerous and more prominent near the monuments and churches, so at first glance it’s easy to miss my favorite specialty shops. If you are looking for pressboard crosses, friar salt and pepper shakers, or plastic replica medieval weapons, read no further ... you can find all that without my help. But if you have your heart set on bringing something home to remember Assisi by, which you won’t be able to find anyplace else on earth, you’ve come to the right place.
Food and Wine
Il Baccanale, Via del Comune Vecchio 2
I love this wine and gourmet shop. Luana (proprietor and friend) has a wonderful selection of both Umbrian and other Italian wines. She also stocks high end chocolate and coffee, top quality olive oil, pasta, and a whole range of jams, sauces, and condiments. She can help you with your selections and make up a gift basket to bring home with you.
Farmer Shop, Via San Francesco 4a
This great mix between rustic stone vaulted space and minimalist design furnishing sells products from a local agricultural consortium ... heirloom legumes, wild boar salami, hearty aged sheep cheese ... but their big seller is their organic, unfiltered, unpasteurised, bottle re-fermented beers from the San Biagio estate. You can sample before you buy!
Alice Laboratorio Artistico, Via San Francesco 8I
I can’t talk up the kids’ t-shirts Alice hand-paints enough … sunflowers, doggies, dinosaurs, poppies, whimsical scenes of Assisi. If you give her a couple of days (and she’s not too busy), she’ll even personalize the back with your choice of name painted in a rainbow of colors, a one-of-a-kind gift.
Franchi, Via Portica 15A
This shop is bursting with wooden toys and decorations ... Pinocchio in all sizes and colors, mobiles, wall clocks, rocking horses … toys from another era yet somehow ageless.
Alice Laboratorio Artistico, Via San Francesco 8I
Aside from her hand-painted t-shirts, Alice has jewelry, photo albums, paintings and prints, all in her lovely, whimsical style.
Claudio Carli Studio, Via San Rufino
Claudio Carli is a well-known local artist who works in both water color and oil … primarily scenes of Assisi and Umbria. I love his work (we have some hanging in our house) and even if you are not in the market for a work of art, I suggest you stop by his gallery and take a look.
Artestampa, Via S Francesco, 10c
Handmade woodcut prints of the monuments and backstreets of Assisi … much more charming than the ubiquitous posters.
Galleria d’Arte San Francesco, Via Fortini 10a/b
This antique shop has mostly big ticket furniture and art, but there are a few small, packable (or shippable) items which are fabulous ... primarily their antique prints and majolica tiles. Claudio, the proprietor, is affable and knowledgeable, and the space is chock full of beautiful, unique pieces.
Assisi has two wonderful jewelry designers with shops: Artigianato del Gioiello on Via San Francesco and Il Forziere on Via San Gabrielle dell’Addolorata. They both make lovely gold and silver pieces worked around precious and semi-precious stones, and also sell commercial lines (though I like their own work better). If you would like something uniquely “Assisan” to remember your visit, consider a gold tau - symbol of redemption much loved by Saint Francis.
Fashion and Accessories
I Colori del Tempo, Via Portica 6/b
A tiny boutique is crammed with scarves, purses, hats, jewelry, and some clothes. Most of their stock is in silk, wool, or cotton and in lovely hues and eye-catching prints.
Il Tapiro, Via San Francesco
This leather workshop has hand-made purses, wallets, belts, and jackets. The shop is owned by Mauro, who is passionate about his products and will treat you right. Florence is the place to go for leather, but if you’re not going to make it there, this boutique is runs a close second place for price and quality.
Paper and Books
Zubboli, Piazza del Comune
This is one of my favorite stores in Assisi, for both the beautiful antique wooden and glass show cases and the leather-bound wares in them. This shop has gorgeous hand-bound photo albums and journals, Florentine printed notepaper, fountain pens, and hard-to-find books about Assisi and Umbria.
Outside of Town
Terra Umbra, Via Patrono d’Italia 10, Santa Maria degli Angeli
A wonderful gourmet shop for Umbrian specialties....cheese, cold cuts and cured pork, truffles, and olive oil.
Duda Dida, Via Firenze 36, Bastia Umbra
This is an amazing toy store … fabulous European educational toys, dolls and stuffed animals, science and art projects … definitely worth the stop in an otherwise unexceptional town.
Margiò, Via Los Angeles 57, Santa Maria degli Angeli
A wonderful fresh pasta shop where you can get tagliatelle, cappelletti (with meat filling) and a number of different types of ravioli filled with the traditional spinach and ricotta to the more exotic truffle and sheep cheese made fresh daily.
Broccatelli or Brufani, Via Los Angeles 33 or 35, Santa Maria degli Angeli
These two cheese shops (oddly right next door to each other) have fabulous fresh local cheese, both cow and sheep.
www.ilbaccanaleassisi.com: Il Baccanale
www.luoghispeciali.it/ws/servizi/farmer-shop.html: Farmer Shop
© Rebecca Winke, 2010
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