Shopping in Italy

Whether you are searching for fashion, jewelry, furniture, glass or leather, no expense account is safe when shopping in Italy. The main cities for shopping are the main ones on any travel itinerary: Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence all offer the most prestigious designers and manufacturers in the world.

Milan is without doubt one of the main centers for shopping in Italy and the numerous districts in the city provide nearly every consumer good you could imagine for sale - whether you are looking for high fashion, antiques, furniture or home accessories, shopping in Milan will provide it for you at any price. Fashion definitely trumps budget while shopping in Milan - so much that you'd think that the city gave away free money at its gates. Still, Milan can accommodate most any budget. There is enough variety in many of these boutiques such that you can easily take home a few reminders of your Italian vacation for a reasonable price. As one of the fashion capitals of the world it is only to be expected that its piazzas offer a wide assortment of leading designers. Armani, Gucci, Prada, Valentino and Versace all have stores within the city.

The next stop on any Italy shopping tour is Florence. Florence resembles Milan, shopping-wise, as it offers high fashion boutiques and numerous leather shops. Where Florence makes a name for itself, however, is the wide variety of top jewelry, gold and silver goods that defy imagination and budgetary constraints. Other shops located on the Ponte Vecchio offer famous handmade shoes, jewelry, leather goods and silver goods. Cheaper - but still highly regarded - pieces of Florence's famous products are also available throughout the city, and can be found on nearly any Italy shopping tour.

Nearby Siena can't match Florence in selection, but can offer many of the same products for lower prices. The jewelry is just as immaculate and the gold is no less impressive. The streets of Siena also showcase many different kinds of ceramics and have a renowned selection of discounted leather goods that rival the best of any city in Italy. Siena's most famous export is everywhere, though. You can hardly walk a city block without running into someone selling one of the region's fine Chiantis - and the low, low prices bring tourists from all points nearby to peruse the selections available.

Venice's most visited shops are located between the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco - many of Italy's most famous designers have their stores here. Other Venetian trademark goods include Murano glass, Carnevale masks, lace and silk.

Like the city, shopping in Rome is varied. For the most part though, Rome's shops seem to cater to a more egalitarian crowd than the other major cities. The city's most exclusive and high-end boutiques reside within a stone's throw of the famous Spanish Steps. These shops, like the high percentage of those found in the famous shopping districts of Italy, are designed for the obscenely wealthy. Rome is full of remnants of the past - from the ruins to the art to the ancient cathedrals and town squares – and the shopping is no different, with a vast accumulation of antiques awaiting your perusal. The interminable street of Via del Corso is a focal point of any Italy shopping tour, and contains a number of chic boutiques (and plenty of less-chic ones for the budget conscious) that cater mostly to the vibrant Roman youth. Rome also has the widest selection of neighborhood markets, where you can casually peruse everything from fresh fruit to hand-crafted goods.

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