general Gift Certificates (Italy)

Nov 12th, 2005, 01:40 PM
  #1  
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general Gift Certificates (Italy)

My best friend is traveling to Italy in a couple of weeks and I would like to get her a gift certificate that can be used by any merchant (or at least most of them), restaurant, cafe, etc., if possible. I checked a previous thread from Nov 2003 but that involved airline & hotel gift certificates. I'd like to help my friend enjoy your stay by treating herself to something she might not otherwise do/afford to do. Any ideas??? Thx in advance!!
JazzyChick is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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Hi JazzyChick, not sure how you would do that. Does Visa or MC have gift certificates? Amex does (or at least did) but Amex is not accepted a lot of places in Italy..or at least that has been my experience. One time I gave a friends daughter a card with money in it, with a note wishing her a beautiful trip and suggested that she use the money to buy herself a piece of jewelry in Italy, which she did. But that was back when the lira was in use and the US dollar was so strong.

If you purchased your friend an AMEX gift certificate I wonder if she could cash it at one of the AMEX agencies in Italy for cash (Euro) of course. I hope someone here has a better solution..you are a nice friend!
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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Oops, I meant to say, to enjoy *her* stay. Also, I left out that she'll be primarily in the Tuscany/Chianti region. Her tour group's itinerary allows her ample time to do her own thing.
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Nov 12th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Hey, LoveItaly! Somehow I knew you would reply as you so kindly did to my Napa posts. Great idea to check into Visa or MC gift certificates. I wonder if they might have gift "cards" that are like credit cards - perhaps with no need to exchange for cash. I know that we did this for someone here in AZ - we bought them a Visa gift card to a mall - and it's used as a credit card. Thanks for the idea, LoveItaly!
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Nov 12th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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Hi JazzyChick, your most welcome. I really didn't think I had much information to offer, hopefully you can work this out. Would you be kind enough to post back on this thread and let us know what you found out. I would personally be interested. Thank you and take care.
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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Visa Travel cards are not a very good idea since there are so many fees and a loss on the exchange rate. Your friend would not get full use of your gift $.

I think the most practical solution is simply to give her a check she can deposit into her own checking account. Then she can get cash as she needs it from any ATM machine in Italy.
janisj is online now  
Nov 12th, 2005, 06:16 PM
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JC - I did a simple google on your request and found these two sites:

http://www.waf.it/mall/mall.php?neg=waf&cla=1113

http://www.initaly.com/gift.htm

What a wonderful and thoughtful idea; I hope your friend enjoys! Salute
viaggio_sempre is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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Hmm, might be useful, might not. Hope you find what you are looking for.
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Nov 16th, 2005, 09:20 PM
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Viaggio_sempre -- I did discover the InItaly.com site but had not seen the first one you suggested. Thank you! After looking into all suggestions (and how soon I'd be able to get them as I had only a few days), I decided on a Visa gift card (I wonder if this is the same as the travel card that Janisj mentioned). I quadruple-checked that they could be used in Italy. If something happens to the card, at least my friend could get it replaced - unlike if someone stole her cash, travelers checks, etc. I paid more in US dollars to get a reasonable amount on the card, but it was worth it to me. Incidentally, the fee was waived because I had a "new guy" at the bank counter who took so darn long to process the card that he felt bad and nixed the fee. Anyhoo, I presented the card to my friend yesterday who was ECSTATIC over it! She had been talking about how she wanted to buy little holiday gifts for people while in Tuscany - so I whipped out the card and said, "Well, I hope you get yourself something while you're there." I told her to take herself out for a great dinner & wine, or get a spa treatment overlooking a vineyard, or buy a special piece of jewelry... something only she can enjoy. She leaves tomorrow morning (11/17) so I'll post again to let you all know if she was able to use the card successfully.
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Nov 16th, 2005, 11:12 PM
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Hi JazzyChick, I imagine your friend was thrilled, and again what a lovely thought. It sounds like you got the problem worked out. Take care!
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 30th, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Hey, guess what?! The VISA gift card worked! My friend (and I) were so excited that it did. She bought some very expensive, "heavenly" bath oil from an apothecary/monastery in Florence. <sigh> (I should have asked her to pick some up for me!). In any case, she was thrilled, and now I know that VISA gift cards work there (hint for any friends reading this post for when my hubby and I visit Europe next year!!).
JazzyChick is offline  
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