Where are the best shopping places in Italy? Let’s walk through the local boutiques and make a comparison with shopping in Spain

Где в Италии лучше заняться шоппингом

What could be more enjoyable than combining your vacation with active shopping? Shopping in Italy is extremely profitable: an abundance of boutiques and outlets, frequent sales, and discount systems.

To enjoy the bonuses, you need to correctly choose the time of the trip, know everything about the key retail outlets of the Adriatic Sea, and imagine their location.

We will not only make an overview of the Italian resort stores but will also tell you about tax refunds which are extremely relevant for a shopaholic.

When is it better to go shopping in Italy?

The best time for travellers to go shopping in ItalyIf the goal of your journey is a voyage through Italian stores, then you need to plan it in advance.

Sales season is the best time for a true shopaholic when it is worth purchasing:

  • underwear;
  • fashionable clothes;
  • quality shoes;
  • accessories;
  • jewelry;
  • antiques;
  • crystal;
  • furniture; and
  • household items.

When you go to Italy for a couple of days, please note that you can’t buy anything from the Italians on Sundays, the shops are closed.

Most outlets adhere to two types of operation:

  • from 08.00 to 13.00;
  • from 15.00 to 19.00.

Shopping centers, grocery and industrial stores may be an exception, but they are of little interest to anyone – we are not going  to Italy to buy sausages.

By the way, the tiny private shops can also be closed on Saturday afternoon or Monday morning. So, it is better to go shopping from Tuesday till Friday.

There is also a “dead season” in Italy named Ferragosto. This kind of vacation falls in the second half of August.
Enterprises, institutions, factories, outlets, boutiques and small shops stop working. You can’t even have a cup of coffee anywhere.

Forbidden dates

There are (state and national) holidays when the chances of making a purchase in Italy are equal to zero. Here are the days:

  • January 1;
  • January 6 (Christian Baptism);
  • May 1 (Labor Day is respected in Italy);
  • June 2 (Italians celebrate the Republic Holiday);
  • August 15 (local people honor the Mother of God);
  • November 1 (the day after the Halloween);
  • December 8 (Catholic Immaculate Conception); and
  • December 24/25 – a two-day Christmas.


Italians themselves call sales with the resounding word “Sconti”.

There are two types of seasonal sales:

  • winter sales (January 7 – March 1);
  • summer sales (July 10 – August 31).
Discounts reach a reasonable limit of 15-70%.

However, the size of “bargains” depends on a number of factors, such as the localization of the store and the popularity of the brand.

Proven brands focus on loyal customers, so discounts are not advertised, and you will not find hefty posters with the words “Sconti” in the windows.

Shopping in Italy – sales periodThe “bargains” level is determined by window dressing. If you see a draped shop window – hurry to Liquidazioni (total sale) and enjoy discounts of 60-80%. The crowd will certainly be at the entrance to the store, where you will also see the police officers on duty.

With regard to fashion clothing, the exact dates of sales are planned and announced in advance.

Here is the sales schedule for the largest resorts on the Adriatic coast

  • Ancona: January 5 – March 1 (in winter), July 7 – September 1 (in summer);
  • Bari: January 5 – February 28 (in winter), July 7 – September 15 (in summer);
  • Venice: the same period in winter, July 6 – August 31 (in summer); and
  • Trieste – from January 4 (in winter), from July 7 (summer sales).
An important note: the sales are while supplies last.
The practice suggests that all the best is grabbed in the first weeks, so there is no sense to go to Italy in the second month of the official sale.

Is it possible to combine shopping with a sea holiday?

Yes, it is. Moreover, each of the Adriatic resorts has its own range of goods, for which it is worth going on a long journey.

It is worth visiting Rimini to buy shoes, cosmetics and to visit wholesale sales.

Venice is rich in numerous souvenirs, antiques, and Murano glass utensils. Many interesting things are for sale in Bari and Ancona.

Renting an Italian villaIf you decide to go shopping on the Adriatic coast of Italy, you may need information about renting a villa in Italy by the sea. You will have a great rest and take the opportunity to purchase the best products at fake prices.
Do you want to travel freely in Italy by car? Find out the cost of renting a car in Rimini here. You will visit every corner of Italy, where your soul desires.

Varieties of stores

Shopping in Italy: Italian boutiques

The outlets of Italy stir unprepared imagination. Huge shopping centers with the areas calculated in kilometers, and non-obvious tiny shops are located there.

  1. Boutiques. They sell exclusive accessories, shoes and branded clothing created by leading Italian designers. Multi-brand boutiques sell products of several designers.
  2. Outlets. These stores also sell products of well-known brands, but on a more impressive scale. In fact, these are clothing shopping centers offering discounts to customers all year round. Occasionally, the “outlet” may refer to stocks and Spacci.
  3. Stocks. Discounted products are sold in these stores, mainly items from the last year’s collections. Discounts can reach 30-80%. As for the range; here you can find both mass-market products and elite models of clothing. From time to time you can even find the stocks of the collections that were shown on the podium.
  4. Shopping in Italy: SpacciSpacci. It is a variety of outlets directly selling factory products. In the Spacci you can find:
    • items from the current collections (discounts of about 10-30%);
    • “prototypes” (experimental samples);
    • defective goods (30-50% discount); and
    • last year’s models (30-70%) and even the stocks of fabrics not used in production.
  5. Outlet Centers. They are represented by the “settlements” of boutiques and shops, spread over kilometer squares.
  6. Craft stalls. Italians call these shops “artigiani”. Here you can buy amazing handmade things.
  7. Shopping Centers. The most famous shopping centers include La Standa, Coin, and La Rinascente.

Where is the best place to combine the sea and shopping in the Adriatic resorts?

Combining a beach holiday with shopping is a good thing. Let’s try to figure out what resorts can be called the “golden mean?”.

  • Shopping in Italy: RiminiRimini. This resort is famous not only for its cleanest beaches but also for glamorous boutiques. The prices for fashionable clothes, high-quality shoes during the period of sales drop to a minimum.
    If you want to make wholesale and cheap purchases, go to Gross Rimini (a wholesale center specializing in sales of shoes and clothes). Be sure to take a walk along Viale Regina Elena with a lot of cheap shops, and a hefty Le Befane shopping center nearby. Serious brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara, Versace are also presented in Rimini. Popular Standa and Coin department stores are located on Corso D’Augusta.
  • Venice. Immediately go to Piazza San Marco, which is adjacent to the popular Mercheri shopping district. The local shops sell old stationery – stamp paper and envelopes, leather notebooks, designer dolls, pens, hidden in glass cases.
    Classic shopping is possible in the Venetian suburb of Mestre where you will find accessories, shoes, and clothes. Local shopping centers gave shelter to the famous Armani, Valentino, and Prada.
    Do not forget to visit the Donatella Gloria outlet – the discounts there reach 50%. Near the Rialto Bridge, you can find shops with cheap shoes.
  • Shopping in Italy: BariBari. This city has a developed trade infrastructure with constant discounts in stores. Key shopping streets are Corso Cavour, Via Sparano and the Old Town. You can endlessly wander in the area.
  • Ankona. Most stores are located in the city center.
    It is worth visiting the GISA BOUTIQUE multi-brand outlet and boutiques of famous brands, such as Fendi, Dior, and Burberry.

Map of resorts for shopping

We offer a map of the Adriatic resorts in Italy, where you will find a wonderful vacation by the sea and excellent shopping opportunities.

Spain vs Italy: where is the shopping better?

Each of these countries has its advantages, but most travelers prefer Italy. There are several reasons for this:

  • friendly consultees in outlets;
  • the abundance of discounts;
  • cheap visa;
  • branded items at bargain prices;
  • huge range; and
  • museums and attractions (you can always mix business with pleasure).

Shopping in SpainSpain also offers a number of benefits:

  • tasty cheeses;
  • famous Spanish wines;
  • jewelry and clothing;
  • Spain is the birthplace of the Zara brand;
  • high-quality ceramics; and
  • Arab souvenirs and national goods.

The disadvantage of Italian shopping is the crowded and expensive accommodation. Spain is inferior to its neighbor in the number of outlets and large shopping centers.

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VAT Refund Points

Often, the tax is included in the price of goods and is 20%. This applies to the tourists who come from EU countries.

Our compatriots may receive the VAT refund (minus the administration tax). The amount of this payment is 14.5% of your shopping costs.

To get money, you need to go to a special point and present the following:

  • Tax-free (the amount must be at least 154.94 Euros);
  • receipt for the goods;
  • unopened purchase;
  • passport.
Customs officer marks Tax-free with a special stamp.

Now you can go to the Tax-free Shopping branch and get your money back. The bureaus are located at the train stations, at the airports, and they are also adjacent to the motorways. Here are some refund points:

  • Venice airport;
  • Bari harbor (Via S.Caterina);
  • Rimini airport.

Let’s summarize.

Thanks to the democratic visa regime, the abundance of brands, discounts and assortment, Italy is the undisputed leader of Adriatic shopping.

By choosing the right season, you can please yourself and your family with high-quality footwear, fashionable clothes and stylish accessories. The main thing is to take a bigger suitcase!

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