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What to Buy in Italy: Fun Italy Souvenirs to Bring Home

What to Buy in Italy: Fun Italy Souvenirs to Bring Home

When shopping in Italy you’ll discover an incredible range of souvenirs that allow you to take a part of your trip back home with you.

But with so many choices (and a lot of worthless tourist traps), it’s hard to decide on which will be the best gifts to take home for your friends and family.

Luckily I am here to give you an honest guide to the best authentic souvenirs to represent your time in Italy.

Tips for Shopping in Italy

Shop for local products by region – Certain products like ceramic and glass come from specific regions and buying those in their local areas will mean you get more choices, lower prices, and more authentic souvenirs

Learn some shopping phrases in Italian – learning a few phrases can get you a long way when shopping in Italy. Here are a couple to start you off:

  • I’m an “X” American/British size = Sono una taglia “X” Americana/Inglese
  • How much does it cost? = Quanto costa?
  • Where is the fitting room? = Dove sono i camerini?
Bustling evening Christmas market in Italy, a go-to place for festive Italy souvenirs.

Make sure you have space in your luggage – nothing is worse than trying to pack after a fun shopping spree and realizing that you have to leave some items behind (or buy a second suitcase). If you know you want to do a lot of clothes shopping, plan for these at the start of your trip and pack lighter so you don’t end up with way too many clothes during your trip.

Look for “made in Italy” stamps – Italian brands are known for their high quality and craftsmanship, but not all Italian brands are actually made in the country. To ensure you are buying a quality product, check the labels to see if it is actually made in Italy.

Claim your VAT tax refund – if you are not a European citizen and purchasing goods over €160, you may be eligible to get up to 22% back because of the tax refund scheme. Take your passport when shopping and ask at the checkout. They will fill in a form and give you some to sign for the refund.

What to Buy in Rome, Italy

What products is Rome famous for that you can buy as souvenirs? If you’re looking for a gift from Rome specifically, there are plenty of slightly more unique options than the standard Colosseum fridge magnet. 

Cobblestone alley lined with quaint shops, ideal for buying unique Italy souvenirs.

Designer clothes – While Milan may be the hotspot for designer clothes in Italy if you aren’t visiting the capital of fashion in your Italian itinerary, Rome may be the next best place to buy designer clothes from huge brands. 

Religious art and other souvenirs – Being home to the Vatican, many people make the pilgrimage to visit Rome every year on a spiritual journey. That means there is plenty of religious art to purchase alongside other catholic souvenirs, such as rosary beads. 

Pecorino Romano – This ancient cheese is produced in the Lazio region around Rome and is a great souvenir for the foodies amongst us. La Tradizione is a huge cheese store that has countless different Italian cheeses for you to choose from, just make sure it’s labeled with “DOP” if buying Pecorino Romano as this certifies that it was made in the Lacio region with traditional techniques.

Football merchandise – For any football (or Soccer) fans amongst your relatives, picking up any merchandise from Italy’s top teams Roma and Lazio would be much appreciated. Both have brand stores in Rome

Perfume – Giving perfume as a gift is as ancient as Rome itself and today there are countless stores where you can buy specialty scents designed specifically for someone special in your life. 

Roman Coins – If you’re looking to bring home a little piece of history from your trip, why not take home a real Roman coin? There are several dealers that sell ancient Roman coins but start by having a look around the Piazza di Spagna, in particular Filatelia Numismatica Centrale. 

What to Buy in Florence, Italy

The city of art has a huge number of different things to buy but some of the most authentic come from its surrounding region of Tuscany. If you are driving in Italy you may want to visit the smaller towns for the best experience, otherwise, each of these can be found in Florence too.

So here is an easy-to-read list to help you pick some local specialties to take home. 

Mother pushing a stroller in a vibrant shopping alley, a perfect setting to explore what to buy in Italy.

Handmade toys – Pinocchio springs to mind as the most famous storybook character from Italy and in the story he was actually carved out in Tuscany Village. What better gift is there for kids than a handmade toy from this special region? 

Artworks – As I already mentioned, Florence is known for its world-class art galleries. But even if Michelangelo’s David isn’t quite in your price range, there are still hundreds of local artists selling gorgeous paintings of all styles and prices. 

Designer goods – If you thought the designer shopping ended with Milan and Rome, you will be in for a surprise because some of the world’s biggest brands are actually located here in Florence. Don’t miss a visit to the headquarters of Gucci or Salvatore Ferragamo.  

Artisan Knives – The Tuscan town of Scarperia has a strong history of knife making and thankfully, you can find these beautiful artisan knives here in Florence. These knives are made entirely by hand using techniques passed down throughout the generations. 

Ceramics and pottery – Seeing all the beautiful buildings and intricate decorations, it’s probably no surprise that Tuscany is also home to beautiful ceramics and pottery studios. You will have no problem finding any item you want in a traditional style by simply strolling the streets of Florence. 

Leather goods – Another thing to add to the long list of products that Tuscany is famous for is leather goods. Here you can buy anything from shoes, belts, wallets, and bags to more unique items, but can rest assured that it is all beautifully crafted in the region. 

Olive Oil – Bringing the Mediterranean vibes home is easy with a fresh bottle of Tuscan olive oil. Made mostly from Moraiolo and Frantoio olives which are the locally grown variety, you can pretend you never left your vacation through your cooking at home. After all, many traditional Italian foods start with olive oil!

Tuscan Truffles – To add to your cooking experience, make sure to pick up some delicious Tuscan Truffles. Eating these delicious fungi dates back to Roman times and when you taste them, you will realize why they can be so expensive! Picking truffles can also be a fun day trip from Florence!

Jewelry – Thanks to the large number of artists in the city, it’s no surprise that here you can also buy some exquisite jewelry from some of the best artisans in the world. Head to the little shops on the Ponte Vecchio for the most iconic experience.

Florentine marbled stationery – While the art of marbling paper originally came from Turkey, it has been practiced in Florence since the 16th century. For anyone looking for a unique gift, you can even participate in workshops to make it yourself. 

Wooden trays – You will come across these intricately decorated wooden trays in nearly every souvenir shop in the city and if you’re traveling Italy with a child, you will have a hard time saying no. The best of these trays have been hand-crafted using techniques from the 14th century. 

What to Buy in Venice

Each of the Venician islands has a slightly different history which means we have many different traditions to pick from when choosing what to buy in Venice 

Here’s a rundown of each of the most traditional souvenirs to buy in the city of Bridges. Plus, make sure to check out my other tips for visiting Venice before you go!

Hand-held traditional Venetian mask, a classic souvenir showcasing the cultural artistry of Italy.

Burano Lace – The island of Burano has long been home to the most famous lace makers in all of Europe so why not buy this beautiful fabric from the best? You can visit Burano Island if you want the most unique experience of buying it from lace shops in central Venice. 

Venitian masks – If you are visiting during carnival you simply have to purchase one of the amazing Venitian masks for sale. With hundreds of different designs, you can easily find one to suit your personality and either use it for decoration or fancy dress once you’re back home. 

Murano Glass – Known as a status symbol reserved for the wealthy, Murano Glass is made by the most skilled artisans on one of the Venitian Islands. To make sure you are getting the real deal, look for the “Vetro Artistico Murano” trademark to make sure it’s authentic.

Marbled paper – Similarly to Florence, people have been practicing the art of marbled paper in Venice for centuries, and buying it here is just as legit as in the Tuscan capital. You will probably find a mix of both Venician and Florencian styles, but which you choose is simply down to preference. 

Gondolier’s hats – If you’ve been to Venice then you have probably taken a romantic gondola ride, and what better way is there to symbolize your time in this incredible city than bringing home your own gondolier’s hat? You can hang it on the wall as a decoration or use it for your next trip! 

Fine fabrics – Continuing on the trend of luxury, another great thing to buy in Venice is some beautiful fabrics. Other than lace, the city is known for creating a wide range of textile fabrics with intricate patterns such as rich velvet. 

Buranelli/Bussolai – The taste of Venice! This delicious butter cookie is a great gift unique to Venice that you can take home from your trip to share the taste of Italy with your friends and family. If you’ve gone on a Venice food tour, you probably know what I am talking about already.

Other Souvenirs to Buy in Italy

If you’re visiting some other cities during your trip or simply want to buy more unique souvenirs than we’ve already gone through, here is a quick list of some other famous products produced here in Italy. 

While I will give you the traditional origins of each one, you can pick all of these up in most large cities at souvenir or specialty shops. 

Display of colorful ceramic fruits, a popular choice for those wondering what to buy as souvenirs in Italy.

Limoncello – Originally from the Amalfi Coast, this delicious alcoholic drink is made from lemons and is the perfect summer aperitif. If you’re visiting Positano, it’s a must!

Sardinia’s Torrone – This delicious nut and nougat sweet, is originally from Sardinia. The best place to buy it is at Pattada at The Bottega di Torrone which is a famous shop that uses a 300-year-old recipe.

Espresso cups (Tazzina) – If you love coffee then you will have to agree that Italy knows what they are doing when it comes to espresso. Pick up an authentic espresso cup or two from its birthplace.

Gold Jewelry – Vicenza is best known for its gold jewelry creations and they even have an international boutique jewelry show every year. 

Italian wine – With so many different wine regions in the country, it can be hard to pick which delicious beverage to take home. Visit a specialized wine shop to discuss your preferences with the staff to find the best one for you. 

Italian pasta – Nothing beats the incredible flavor of handmade, traditional Italian pasta. While this souvenir won’t last long, it will certainly be a delicious memory! 

Cured meats – Prosciutto, Pancetta, Lardo, the list goes on of all the incredible cured meats you will find throughout your time in Italy. Take note of your favorite ones and take them home with you. 

Balsamic Vinegar – Traditionally, authentic balsamic comes from the region of Modena or Emilia Romagna. Look for the “DOP” (Protected Designation of Origin) stamp to make sure you are buying an authentic product. 

Perugia tablecloths – Appearing in many important historical paintings, Perugia tablecloths have become a sign of important events and are often used as altar clothes in churches as far back as the 12th century. 

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