Shopping in Italy is an art and Italian fashion is great! La moda italiana can be very good entertainment while you are visiting the country. We’ll touch base about the 5 most important questions you should ask before stepping in any shop.
#1 WHERE can I do some good shopping in Italy?
I bet you are very much looking forward to doing some shopping in Italy. Well, you are in the right place. Depending on the size of the city you are visiting, you basically have four options: you can go to the Outlet stores, Centri commerciali (Shopping Malls), Grandi Magazzini (department stores), or negozi (high street shops). Let’s proceed with order:
Outlet stores in Italy are simply called Outlet. Just like everywhere else in the world, outlet stores are big size shopping centres, where famous brands liquidate close-out stock at reasonable prices. Along with close-out, all the brands usually create a collection for outlet stores only, in order to refresh the windows and increase sales. Outlets are mainly concentrated in the northwest and central Italy.The Serravalle Design Centre, is the biggest fashion outlet store in Europe, one and a half hours driving away from Milan.
Centri commerciali are concentrated in big cities’ outskirts. They can be compared to American shopping malls, usually smaller in size. The good thing is that in centri commerciali you can find very strong local brands at good prices. For example, the region of Veneto, near Venezia, is home to great valuable brands like Benetton, Diesel, Sisley and others. They can be found in centri commerciali and they regularly apply discounts. Cities like Milano, Torino, Roma, Bologna or Napoli are surrounded by several centri commerciali. Every mid size city has at least one.
Grandi Magazzini were born in Italy before the centri commerciali as fashion distribution model. Traditional Italian grandi magazzini (literally big warehouses) can range from low cost to tier-one brands and are located inside the cities. The tip of the pyramid of the Italian Grandi Magazzini is the historical La Rinascente in Milano’s Piazza Duomo, where all Italian luxury brands have their shop-in-shop corner. You can’t say you went shopping in Italy if you didn’t go to La Rinascente. PS: we haven’t been paid to say that…
Negozio (pl. negozi) is the Italian word for store, so remember it when you are there. The English verb “to negotiate” has something to do with the concept of negozio but don’t be fooled by the language. Italian store managers don’t like to haggle, unless of course you spend some good money and ask for a discount. Again, depending on where you are, the range of negozi selling apparel, footwear and accessories can be exclusive or very popular. In main cities, Italian luxury brands have their own districts.
From Milano’s Via Montenapoleone or Via della Spiga, to Roma’s Via dei Condotti, every Italian city has its own luxury shopping streets. Shopping in Italy, out of usual itineraries, could be a great surprise, so look at the maps like this one below, but take a chance and follow your instinct. Take a side street, get lost in the cities. You could find the bargain of the year in unknown places.
Negozi are all over, shopping is good everywhere, but In the following cities, the classic fashion shopping streets are:
- Milan: Piazza Duomo, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Montenapoleone (which along with Via della Spiga, Via Sant’ Andrea and Via Borgospesso creates the “quadrilatero della moda”, the “fashion square”), Via Brera, Via Torino, Corso di Porta Ticinese, Via Torino and the more affordable Corso Buenos Aires.
- Rome: Via Condotti, Via Frattina, Piazza di Spagna, Via del Corso, Galleria Alberto Sordi, Via Nazionale, Via Giubbonari
- Florence: Piazza Signoria, Via Tornabuoni, Via de’ Calzaiuoli, Via della Vigna Nuova, Ponte Vecchio
- Naples: Riviera di Chiaia (and all adjacent streets), the Vomero area, Galleria Umberto Primo
- Venezia: San Marco’s square