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Sammygrll Mar 28th, 2007 06:23 PM

What to bring back from Italy?
We''ll be staying in Rome in early May for a week...what are the ideal things to bring back home?
My husband would like to bring some wine back...but who wants to schlep that around?
What do you bring back...for your, etc?

Thanks in advance,


amandab Mar 28th, 2007 06:28 PM

I would definitely buy some glass. I know you will be in Rome and not Venice, but you can still get venetian glass in Rome. I bought some rosary beads from the Vatican for my daughter, even though we are not religious, and she was thrilled. Some stamps from the Vatican for my son. Just a couple of ideas.

Dayle Mar 28th, 2007 06:49 PM

Hi Sammy,

I think one of the very best things to bring back are dried porcini mushrooms! They are very inexpensive in Italy compared to the US and weigh nothing when dried. Keep a very long time too!

Buon apetito!

Trophywife007 Mar 28th, 2007 07:12 PM

Something leather. In my experience quality items (like gloves) can be found more reasonably there than here.


StCirq Mar 28th, 2007 07:48 PM

I just never *get* these types of questions, because why would you necessarily want to bring back what I want to, but anyway, what I bring back from Rome is dozens of food products - dried mushrooms, yes, and packages of pasta spices for pizi and olive oil and soap and balsamic vinegar and leather goods and cosmetics and whatever strikes my fancy at the outdoor markets that's transportable.

LoveItaly Mar 28th, 2007 08:43 PM

Well I "do" get the question especially if one is a first time visitor to Italy.

I wouldn't bother with wine unless you can't buy Italian wine where you live. I would seek out whatever catches your eye..what appeals to you Sammygrll. Olive oil can be wonderful and I have some in my kitchen right now but with the new rules I probably wouldn't bother again. Dried mushrooms, something I love, that is easy to bring home. A lovely piece of jewelry or a purse, jackets, belt, gloves etc. (make sure it is Italian leather and made in Italy versus from China or produced in a factory in Italy that does not hire Italian craftsmen). Venetian glass (again make sure it is not made in China or one of the Central or Eastern European countries etc), artwork that you like. Rosary beads if that is something that would be meaningful to you. Clothes if that is your interest.
Household items, coasters, trays etc. Do try to buy items that are truly Made In Italy by Italian craftsmen.
And have a wonderful trip!!

Tiff Mar 28th, 2007 08:51 PM


Enjoy, sammygrll.

tomassocroccante Mar 28th, 2007 09:16 PM

One of my favorite things is to buy something I like that I would like to have no matter where I saw it: in Vienna it happened to be a cashmere sweater from Scotland - I've had it 15 years and never forgotten where I bought it. (The best investment in clothing I ever made, too. I've worn it to pieces.)

In Rome last time I got a great winter scarf - saw it in a store window and it turned out to be the last one, they had to fetch it from the window for me. (Made in Italy this time) - whenever anyone asks where I got it, I'm taken right back to the time and place.

In Amsterdam I happened to see a great set of 4 crystal drinks glasses - they're wedgwood, but to me they're from the Netherlands. Of course, I misinterpreted the sign: I thought it said "half", as in half off for the set, but it actually said, "Each." Fortunately I didn't realize quite what I had done until the credit card bill arrived.

But something really local is great, too! In Orvieto we happened on a shop selling the ceramics of a modern maker, Maestro Paolo - highly recommended contemporary work advancing the tradition of Orvieto ceramics. What's nicer than a handmade carafe to serve Italian wines when you get back home? (I would second the notion of not bringing home wine - especially today, with carryon restrictions.)

I also second the idea of art - I enjoy finding great old prints or new work by living artists working in their own style, as opposed to the weary re-hashing of some bygone style.

ALSO in Italy, great paper products. They are easy to pack and the quality is great. Keep an eye out for shops with beautiful blank books, stationery, photo albums. This tpe of thing lasts for years and brings back a memory every time you use it. In fact, great friends brought me a photo album from Venice at Christmas, a real gem. But don't settle for soemthing you really don't intend to use - such things get stuck in a drawer to mystify your heirs ...

Finally - if there's something you like to collect or use at home, bring that: if you're a cook, stop in a housewares shop or grocery. If you play cards, look for special ones. If you like jewelry, perfume, hats ... get the thing you go for. Shoes in Italy, a chess game, towels. Then use it when you get home. Get yourself the quality handbag you'd love to have and USE IT, as opposed to an overpriced novelty bag that you're embarassed to carry. If you're a sports fan, look for local team merchandise for a change from your usual t shirts. But only if you like it enough to wear it!

Like I said, get something you would like to have anyway, not an "obligatory" item you really don't care about.

tomassocroccante Mar 28th, 2007 09:43 PM

To get really great stationery items in Rome, look for a stationery shop, as opposed to a tourist souvenir business, with their "florentine" leather address books, etc. Those are fine, but you will find really special stuff elsewhere.
My philosophy is to come u with one great thing for myself - even if it is expensive - rather than drag home a bunch of items that total the same amount and end up in a drawer.

LoveItaly Mar 28th, 2007 09:49 PM

You have received some great ideas Sammygrll and may I add one more. Tablecloths, napkins and kitchen teatowels can be wonderful purchases. They are easy to pack and something that will give you joy and reminders of your trip to Italy for years on end.

LoveItaly Mar 28th, 2007 09:50 PM

And I forgot to mention Italian silk scarves if you enjoy then. A timeless addition to your wardrobe.

Sammygrll Mar 29th, 2007 07:29 AM

Thank you all! Such wonderful ideas!!! I'm sooo excited! wine is a no go..that's fine...more room for
Thanks again!

PS...I heard they have vendors around, like the Colloseum, I'm assuming those are all made in China and it better to find a "leather store"...isn't there a farmers market on the weekends?

tomassocroccante Mar 29th, 2007 02:29 PM

There are indeed plenty of street vendors around selling stuff that is undoubtedly imported from wherever. If you want real Italian quality, you'll likely need to shop a department or specialty store.

I enjoy grying out a department store in European cities, just to see what they have, how it's displayed, etc. The standard is becoming pretty universal, and in the average men's dept you wouldn't be surprised to find Hilfiger, Polo etc beside the Euro labels (many of which we also see in stores here.) But there will always be things that feel special and have that flair - that fine Italian hand.

RE wine: friends of mine used always to bring home a couple of bottles of something GREAT, small vintages that don't make it to export, and things that were bargains there compared to the US price. But I do believe carry-restrictions for liquids means checking bottled items now, so you'd have to figure out a secure way to check them. Probably not practical at present.

nma Mar 29th, 2007 03:04 PM

I wish I had brought back more olive oil and more Brunello! We also bought leather in Florence (jacket and purse), wine and jewelry. I wear my earrings from the Ponte Vecchio everyday! I also have a necklace from Cinque Terre that I adore!

nma Mar 29th, 2007 03:08 PM

Scarves! I forgot about scarves! I bought one for myself and one each for my mom and sister! Love them!

hopscotch Mar 29th, 2007 03:32 PM

I would bring back the best cheese in the world -- creamy gorgonzola. But I don't know if gorgonzola is allowed by US Customs.

J_Correa Mar 29th, 2007 04:54 PM

In California, wineries have special boxes for checking wine as luggage when you go on the plane. Do they have something similar in Italy? I can't imagine we thought of it and they didn't - LOL.

chrispet Mar 29th, 2007 05:25 PM

I brought back so much wine, I just found it was so much better than anything I can easily buy here

SusanP Mar 29th, 2007 05:42 PM

As others have mentioned, I like to bring back food items or things that I will use or see every day. I love to bring back art that I can have framed and then see every day on my walls. I love kitchen items that I use regularly, and no matter how mundane the task, the Italian tool reminds me of great trips.

Generally I like to get things native to Italy, but I also bought some of the inexpensive pashmina scarves, and also a beautiful knitted pumpkin-colored scarf with other colors knitted in that went well with my winter jacket, and I get constant compliments on it. Just buy what strikes your fancy and you know will remind you of Italy. And of course, I always have to bring back Limoncello! :-d I can buy it here, but it costs twice as much. Just put it in a ziploc bag (the 2- or 2-1/2-gallon size holds a large bottle), wrap in bubble wrap and roll in some clothes and it makes the flight just fine!

risab Mar 29th, 2007 05:46 PM

leather gloves from Sermonetta near the piazza d'espana or the glove shop on Via dei Cestari near the Pantheon.

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