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Shopping in Italy....with US Dollar exchange rate infavorable.

Shopping in Italy....with US Dollar exchange rate infavorable.

Old Sep 24th, 2007, 03:10 PM
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we paid 240e for a very nice venetian mask a year ago in a small shop that was noted in the InSight Guide. Its beautiful and they shipped but with the exchange rate, it was probably close to $300 with shipping included. Just a FYI - one of those things we really wanted to buy and knew we would never find in the states.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 10:45 PM
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Here is what I would buy if I were going to the places you mention in your post-- in Florence I love to buy Florentine paper, especially the handmade papers which are unique to Florence and SO beautiful. There are paper shops along the streets just off the main thoroughfares in central Florence, including one adjacent to the duomo which carries stationery with elegant designs. My favorite shop is called Carte because it carries the photo albums which are covered with handmade paper as well as the handmade notecards, etc. I had to buy an extra suitcase to bring the albums, etc. I bought in August back home.

For the best value for money in the paper category in Florence, buy the printed paper available in kiosks outdoors. This inexpensive paper is presented in such a way that the notecards and envelopes form a little book. The colors and designs say Florence even though the papers are not handmade.

In Florence my son bought ties from Ateseta. There are many Ateseta shops in Florence and the ties are absolutely beautiful. The selection varies from shop to shop in terms of design. The shops also carry exquisite men's shirts. My son bought some ties for himself and some ties to give to his brother. I have to say that back home, the ties look even better than they did in the shops. Beautiful ties are expensive anywhere but these silk Italian ties definitely cost less in Florence at Ateseta than in the United States.

In Venice I love the glass from Murano. I bought inexpensive glass earrings there with the distinctive Venetian gold swirl in the glass, and I love them. I also bought lovely, half round lampshades for wall lamps in my dining room. I had been looking for these for years, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them in a shop window in Venice. I think of Venice every time I turn on the lights!

In the Turin area, and especially at the Turin airport, I buy Caffarel Gianduja chocolates. They are very difficult to find in the United States. They're expensive enough in Italy because they are a delicacy, but when I did find them through mail order in the United States, they cost even more.

If there is an outdoor market while you are in Italy, I would highly recommend that you go. Some markets are full of goods imported from the same countries that send us goods, but there are always products that are Italian made and it's fun to look for them. In general, prices are less at the outdoor markets than at shops.

At a market in the Alps, I bought a wonderful Italian sweater for less than it would have cost in the U.S. At an outdoor market in Asti, I bought a tablecloth I love.

In the Alps at an outdoor market, I have bought handmade slippers and beautiful wooden, locally made decorative containers that can hold small objects. I like to keep the Caffarel chocolates in the wooden containers.

Have fun on your trip! And don't forget to take an extra suitcase or carry-on or bag of some sort to bring your purchases home. Otherwise, you too will be buying another suitcase in Italy. It sounds crazy but in recent years we have bought almost every suitcase we own in Italy because we love to bring back more than we take.

Have a great trip,

canyonjane is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2007, 07:08 AM
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<<Forget about the exchange rate. What you need to know is the value of an item or what it would cost at home.>>

Precisely, and remember value is also what it means to you.
Luisah is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Thank you all for your advice.

I wasn't aware that the authentic Venetian masks were over 200E.

Jane, thx for the in depth descriptions of your finds.

adventureseeker is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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Authentic Venetian masks can be had for a lot less than 200E... a very basic mask can be had for 20 Euro or so.

Just make sure to look for a real maskmaker and not a tourist shop selling purchased masks. Bottega dei Mascareri on the Rialto Bridge is a good place to start.

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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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A lot depends also on how much time you are thinking of spending time in Europe in the future. Europe is such a major part of my life these days I hardly ever bring home anything except unusual food items unless something REALLY special catches my eye. I can find far better bargains on Prada and great Italian wines and so forth here in the USA without the hassle of lugging stuff home.

But if this is the trip of a lifetime, or a first visit, or the only time you think you'll be in Italy, well, buy what appeals to you and what you can afford without breaking the bank.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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The first time I went to Florence, my mom bought a gorgeous leather coat. Since neither of us would buy something like that at home and it really summed up her experience on that trip, it was worth it to her, but she hardly wears it.

Both of us bought gold jewelry in a shop on the Ponte Vecchio, which we both wear very often. Again, it wasn't necessarily a bargain, but all of it was Etruscan designs, and not something we'd find at home. I've returned to that shop on subsequent trips and bought more, I love it so.

The second time in Florence, I bought two beautiful leather handbags that I use almost all the time. The next year I went back the same type of bags were almost twice the price but I still would've bought them as they were beautiful to me and typical of the leather crafting I saw in Florence.

Finally, on my last trip I totally splurged and bought hand-crafted leather shoes. They are absolutely gorgeous and I wear them often at work. Another style/fashion I'd never find at home and I paid a crazy amount for them, but when I saw them and tried them on, I knew I had to have them. I don't regret it for a minute.

So, I guess what I'm saying here is if you see something that really strikes you and seems like you won't get it at home, then go for it. I hate coming home lamenting over what I left behind!
amyb is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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>I wasn't aware that the authentic Venetian masks were over 200E. <

We have 4 very, very nice hand-crafted and hand-painted, traditional papier-mâché masks that cost us about 100E each in Venice.

ira is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2007, 10:44 PM
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amyb, could you please post the name of the jewelry shop that sells Etruscan gold jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio ?

enpleinair is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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They sell those Venetian masks at TJ Maxx for $14.99. My mother-in-law has two hanging on the wall in her dining room. She bought them at a TJ Maxx in Rochester, NY.

marginal_margiela is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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There are $14.99 authentic Venetian masks, there are $200 authentic Venetian masks, and there are $2000 authentic Venetian masks. Like many artist's items they come in all price ranges.

Suggesting the cost of one is like saying "in Paris water color paintings from the artist cost $50."
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Old Apr 25th, 2016, 06:38 PM
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amyb, could you please post the name of the jewelry shop that sells Etruscan gold jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio ?
shopaddict is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2016, 06:47 PM
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I had to laugh when I saw the thread title - I wondered what the OP was smoking . . . Then realized it is a NINE year old thread.

I'm sure amyb will see shopaddict's question, but I doubt the prices the same in 2016
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