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Leonora Jun 8th, 2009 04:53 AM

Unique things to buy in Italy?
What are your favorite inexpensive but unique items to buy in Italy?
Splurge items?

CKE2512 Jun 8th, 2009 05:08 AM

Anything leather, shoes, jackets, keychains, purses.

Leonora Jun 8th, 2009 05:12 AM

Are everyday (not collector) fountain pens widely available?

ILUVPARIS Jun 8th, 2009 05:44 AM

Murano glass (usually a small necklace or earrings), pottery, leather sandals, lace tablecloths from Burano. Too many things to name!

qwovadis Jun 8th, 2009 05:44 AM

have bought pens out of murano glass they are special

also venetian mardi gras plague masks are fun

Limoncello of course...

merl Jun 8th, 2009 06:14 AM

Don't know if you wear specs but I always look for great frames and come home and have my prescription put in them. The more cutting edge and unusual the better. Its something I use everyday and they are a good conversation starter when people comment on them.

kfusto Jun 8th, 2009 09:07 AM

I agree about the frames - selection is great and they have a far more interesting selection than any shop I have seen here in the US.

I am a fan of Prima Classe handbags and pick up one on each trip as a rule. Very hard to find in the USA and the selection in Italy is very extensive.

laurie_ann Jun 8th, 2009 09:38 AM

I like kitchen accessories. I have pasta server and lasagne server from two different Italy trips.

packed Jun 8th, 2009 09:52 AM

Pashminas, scarfs,and funny enough, knives--the kitchen steak variety with the rounded edges are good for cutting vegetables, etc.

Lexma90 Jun 8th, 2009 10:27 AM

Unique - that's difficult, as so many items are available all over. I'm more likely to purchase items that I would actually use, and have value because I think of where I bought the item every time I use it.

I'm not much of a shopper, but I've purchased several items made of Murano glass in Venice, and never seen anything like them here in the U.S. One of them, funny enough, was a cheap pendent that I bought at the Milan airport as we were leaving, for about 3 Euros.

A fun, cheap item, especially enjoyed by my kids, are placemats with photos of the destination. Again, they recall pleasant memories.

I don't have splurge items - the other necklace I bought in Venice was about $60, which probably isn't a splurge for most people.

I love to buy scarves, but I don't consider them to be unique (though very special to me). Funny enough, several people have commented on the 5-Euro scarf I bought from a stand in Paris one year because it was unseasonably cold when we were there!

crefloors Jun 8th, 2009 11:19 AM

I always buy scarves in Europe, the selection is so much better than any store I have been to in the states. I think it's because almost everyone, everywhere, in Europe wears scarves, not so much here in the US.

azzure Jun 8th, 2009 12:33 PM

For my friends with dogs, I bought Pompeii-style "beware of dog" clay plaques, with the warning given in either Italian or Latin. Very cute. Got mine in San Gimignano.

RSTravelers Jun 8th, 2009 12:56 PM

The handmade pottery in Tuscany is wonderful. Also perfumes/lotions, good chocolates, handmade paper note cards, dried seasoning mixes for crostini, bruschetta, etc., dried porcini mushrooms, jewelry, a kitchen towel, calendar, Xmas ornament if you can find them, and I'm one of those who likes a souvenir refrigerator magnet. A splurge item was an $80 murano glass boat purchased on the island of Murano and a leather purse from Florence. Leonora, you should find fountain pens in a stationary shop and also letter openers. Don't take the opener back in your carry-on, however, as I speak from experience....this was an embarrassment just days after 9-11. I guess my only excuse is being kind of numb after the whole tragedy.

Leonora Jun 8th, 2009 02:25 PM

Re: the glasses frames. I've just finished a year long quest for frames that resulted in frames my husband has deemed ho hum. You can bet that I'll be picking up some cool frame in Italy.

LoveItaly Jun 8th, 2009 02:59 PM

Hi Leonora, if you are going to be looking for small "thinking of you" gifts for people back home I have found that the beautiful leather bookmarks that are sold in Italy make wonderful gifts, if of course the people you are buying for read be it books or magazines. I have a lot of the Italian leather bookmarks that are around 25 years old and they are as lovely as they day I bought them.

A lot of Italian tea/dish towels are lovely. My daughter has a beautiful collection that were her Roman mother-in-laws. For yourself or someone special you can find beautiful tableclothes also. Write down the measurement you need before leaving home and convert that into the metric system so you know the size to buy. I have bought beautiful ones at the various outdoor markets and they are still so lovely.

If you have the time and if you sew or know someone that does, check out the fabric stores. Italy has such beautiful fabrics. You can buy fabrics for covering sofa and chair and/or bed throw pillows when you get home. Or to use for table runners.

All above mentioned items are sure easy to pack in your luggage when flying home and will be enjoyed for decades.

Senga Jun 8th, 2009 06:47 PM

We purchased leather purses and belts, a Murano ornament, a gorgeous brilliant red porcelain rose, lemon honey, lemon/orange marmalade and fruit jelly candies.

tuscanlifeedit Jun 8th, 2009 07:15 PM

Where are you going in Italy?

A splurge item for me would be something in 18K Italian gold.

mcrankin Jun 8th, 2009 07:24 PM

I just returned from a 5 1/2 week trip in Italy....some of the things I bought were: a lovely umbrella with Michelangelo's artwork on it (I wish I bought more as they are great souvenirs)and easy to store in the suitcase and they are a conversation-starter. So you can always talk about your trip!!! I purchased it in the Piazza Navone at one of the kiosks. I also love to purchase those white cottony aprons and distowels (5 euros each) with Italy drawn on the front with the different little towns. I always pick these up and they don't take much room in the suitcase....also key chains and also those little kitchy knick-knacks of the Colliseum or gladiators as my grandchildren get a kick out of them.

Cries_Van_Notebook Jun 8th, 2009 08:03 PM

Kitchen witch in Florence.

Pot-pourri and almond paste hand cream from Farmacia Santa Maria Novella in Florence.

A lace tablecloth from Burano in Venice.

Sermonetta gloves from the Piazza di Spagna in Rome.


travelenthusiast Jun 9th, 2009 06:45 PM

Our splurge was a beautiful Murano glass vase that we bought from one of the factories that give demonstations on glass blowing. It was personalized with our last name and the date on the bottom. My husband also bought a very nice leather briefcase that he used for work.

An inexpensive treat was a bracelet that had glass round balls all the way around it. I really liked it but it tarnished quickly. As on all of our vacations, we bought a Christmas ornament. I looked all over Venice and eventually found an ornament of Santa on a gongola.

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