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Italy Shopping

100% Capri
29 Via Fuorlovado
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 7561

With other branches only in Rome and St. Barths, this exclusive home-furnishings label operates out of two shops that face each other across the lane. Linen is the material of choice, woven into beautifully finished sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, pajamas, and other cool bedroom, dining room, and bathroom accessories, plus a few shirts and blouses. In most of the home products, there are just three colors: white, khaki, and dark chocolate.

Open May to the beginning of October.

10 Corso Como
10 Corso Como
Italy 20154
Tel: 39 02 654 831

Milan's original multibrand fashion store—with the accent on original. Owner Carla Sozzani, sister of Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca, has stamped her formidable personality on this protean space, which also includes a bookshop, gallery, café-restaurant and designer B&B, all arranged around a leafy, cobbled courtyard. The boutique offers jewelry, housewares, and high-tech designer gadgets as well as a deft and imaginative selection of the latest men's and women's clothing and accessories by major players such as Prada, Gucci, Comme des Garçons, and Yohji Yamamoto. And pssst: If you'll settle for, or can't recognize, last season's collections, you can get them for half price at the newish outlet round the corner at 3 Via Tazzoli (39-02-2900-2674; open Fri.–Sun. only).

Abito, Le Gallinelle
76 Via del Boschetto
Italy 00184
Tel: 39 06 488 101

Wilma Silvestri and her daughter Giorgia have long been the first Roman port of call for fashion insiders on the lookout for great vintage pieces from designers such as Pucci and Yves Saint Laurent. The Silvestris have expanded to a former convent on this picturesque street in the boho-chic district of Monti (their original store, at nearby 76 Via del Boschetto, is dedicated to up-and-coming designers). This team continues to produce its own one-off designs using vintage materials, in addition to more classic linen suits. There's some great costume jewelry, too.—Updated by Lee Marshall

Open Mondays 3:30 to 7:30 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm and 3:30 to 7:30 pm.

Almost Corner Bookstore
45 Via del Moro
Tel: 39 06 583 6942

It would be hard to imagine how owner Dermot O'Connell could squeeze even one more slim volume into this tiny, long-established English-language bookshop in a picture-pretty alley in Trastevere. But you'll find all the latest fiction titles here, plus a host of works on art, architecture, history, and archeology—everything you need, in fact, to appreciate Rome's treasures to the utmost. The shop's bulletin board is a mine of information for anyone seeking lodgings or work in the Eternal City.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 8 pm, Sundays 11 am to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 8 pm.

1 Via Ponte Vetero
Italy 20121
Tel: 39 02 8699 8340

Antonia Giaenti strides into the forest of fashion on our behalf and comes out with an exquisitely edited selection, which goes on display in her elegant but unfussy boutique in the Brera district. One side is accessories, with desirable bags and shoes by the likes of Marc Jacobs, Valentino, and Gucci; the other is by Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, and others.

Aprosio & Co.
11 Via Santo Spirito
Tel: 39 055 265 4077

Now occupying chic new premises on the ground floor of a Renaissance palazzo in the Oltrarno, Aprosio continues to draw admirers from far and wide. All the jewelry and accessories here are made up of thousands of minute glass beads intricately crafted into necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, rope belts, and evening bags. Some of these are along fairly classical lines, while others are wild flights of imagination featuring a whole range of insects and other creatures.

Closed Sundays.

Arezzo Antiques Market

The Arezzo antiques market, Fiera Antiquaria (which takes place over the weekend that includes the first Sunday of each month), is arguably the best in Tuscany. Vendors take over the upper area of the city from the Basilica of San Francesco right past the duomo to sell antiques, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, crèche figures, prints, and silver ex-votos from churches (

Arredamenti Castorina
15/r Via Santo Spirito
Tel: 39 055 212 885

Family-run Castorina was established in the early 1900s as a restorer of wood and gilding. Today, the craftsmen not only restore but also reproduce every imaginable kind of wooden ornament and decoration, cutting, inlaying, turning, gilding, and silvering wood in a series of crowded rooms at the back of a small, intriguing shop in the Oltrarno. Come here for a lavish Baroque picture frame, a sphinx paperweight, a replacement leg for your Regency table, chubby golden cherubs to decorate the house at Christmas, or the ornamental finials to finish off that four-poster bed.

Closed Sundays and in August.

Assunta Anichini
59/r Via di Parione
Tel: 39 055 284 977

In business since 1912, Anichini, located just north of the river, is the oldest children's clothing store in Florence. The rails and shelves are filled with exquisite garments for elegant little people from newborns to 12-year-olds. The most beautiful clothes are made in-house under Anichini's own label, and all the intricate embroidery and smocking is done by hand. This is the place to visit for bridesmaid dresses, christening robes, or fairy-tale party dresses in velvet, silk, organza, shantung, and Liberty lawn; traditional sailor suits in crisp cottons and linens; tiny sheepskin jackets and fabulous romper suits.

79 Via Barberini
Italy 00187
Tel: 39 06 484 517

Forget Savile Row: Custom-made suits reach their apotheosis in Rome. Brioni has been tailoring the best for dapper types since 1945; this was the preferred tailor for the famous and glamorous who flocked to the Eternal City for the postwar dolce vita. There are off-the-peg garments in this flagship store in Trevi, but for the full lap-of-luxury experience, select your glorious fabric and have measurements taken in your hotel room. The finished product gets sent wherever you want it.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 10 am to 7:30 pm.

Brunello Cucinelli
6 Piazza della Chiesa
Italy 06070
Tel: 39 075 529 481

Italy's cashmere king has his home base in the tiny village of Solomeo, west of Perugia. Here, about 400 workers turn top-quality Mongolian cashmere into the almost 600,000 sweaters, jackets, skirts, and other womens' and menswear items that Cucinelli's company turns out annually. The "factory" is spread among the heavily restored houses of the village, and the outlet—where this year's collection can be picked up for 30 percent off retail prices—is right at the heart of things, in the main square.

Closed Sundays. Closed Saturdays after 12:30 p.m.

Calzaturificio Magli
33 Via Larga
Italy 40123
Tel: 39 051 601 5011

If you don't mind wearing last year's fashions, you can find Bruno Magli shoes (and bags, belts, and suede jackets) at a fraction of their boutique prices at this factory outlet in the eastern suburbs. About $78 should be enough to secure you a pair of classic Magli pumps; allow up to $125 for men's brogues.

Carthusia I Profumi di Capri
10 Via Camerelle
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 0529

This tiny shop has been crafting fragrances from local herbs and flowers since 1948. The scents are unique and considered collector's items by fans; the most popular is a floral blend called, naturally, Fiori di Capri. They also sell soaps and scented candles. The address above is that of the main showroom; you can also visit the factory store near Certosa di San Giacomo (2 Viale Parco Augusto; 39-081-837-0368).

Open March to October.

Degli Effetti
75, 79, 93 Piazza Capranica
Tel: 39 06 679 0202

Degli Effetti is a triumvirate of style with its women's outpost at number 93, men's at 79, and something called "neo millennium" at 75. All three exemplify a certain breed of Roman store—the staff are so cool and the displays so perfect that it's intimidating just to walk in, let alone ask for help. But design label junkies persevere! Among the offerings: for le donne, Miu Miu, Y3, and Pink Watanbe; boys can choose from Prada and Helmut Lang, and the neo millennials among us get to pick out James Perse shirts, Rogan and Habitual jeans, and other trendy/casual items. Just be prepared to drop your entire shopping allowance in one centro storico piazza.

Deruta Ceramics

Flanking the busy E45 superstrada about ten miles south of Perugia, the modern-day ceramics factories of Deruta are the successors of workshops that have been turning out the area's distinctive blue, yellow, green, and white glazed pottery since the 13th century. By the 1500s, Deruta bowls, jugs, and apothecary jars decorated with fruit and flower motifs were being exported all over Europe; these days, they travel the world. With more than 250 outlets to choose from, it's difficult to know where to start. The key thing, if you intend to have your purchases shipped home, is to check the small print of the shop's shipping agreement, as it has been known for items to take months to arrive (or to occasionally never turn up at all). Reputable manufacturers (all of which offer tours of their premises) include Ubaldo Grazia (181 Via Tiberina; 39-075-971-0201;; closed Sat. after 1 p.m. and Sun.), Antica Deruta (E45 road, Km. 73.8; 39-075-971-1171;; closed Sat. after 1 p.m. and Sun.), and Franco Mari (236 Via Tiberina; 39-075-971-1795;; closed Sun.).


Most of the big names in Italian design have their flagship stores in the grid of elegant and exorbitant streets that lie immediately beneath the Spanish Steps. Whatever your credit limit, you'll at least want to stroll along Via Condotti to drool over the window displays of fashion powerhouses Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Ferragamo, and Valentino. Parallel to Via Condotti, Via Borgognona used to be known as "Fendi Street." But with the 2005 opening of the new Fendi megastore in a 19th-century palazzo in nearby Largo Goldoni, only Fendi housewares and some accessories have remained on the old premises. Hit up the annual sales in August and January.

77 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 699 1460

10 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 696 261

Dolce & Gabbana
31 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 69992 4999

65 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 678 1130
73–74 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 679 1565

420 Largo Goldoni
Tel: 39 06 696 661
36–39 Via Borgognona
Tel: 39 06 696 661

8 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 679 0405

92-–95 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 679 0897

13 Via Condotti
Tel: 39 06 679 5862

23, 26–27 Via Bocca di Leone
Tel: 39 06 675 0521

Designers for Less

You've window-shopped along Via Condotti, your credit card has wilted, but your spirit's willing. So where do you turn? Rome's city center stock houses won't always have the outfit you're dreaming of, but a rifle through the rails at Il Discount dell'Alta Moda may turn up some heavily reduced Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, or Roberto Cavalli. Gucci bags are the main draw at sister store Il Discount delle Firme, along with significant markdowns on Alberta Ferretti, Versace, and others. The discount is generally 50 percent, rising to 60–70 percent during sales.

Il Discount dell' Alta Moda
16A Via Gesù e Maria
Spanish Steps
Tel: 39 06 361 3796

Il Discount Delle Firme
27 Via dei Serviti
Tel: 39 06 482 7790

Ditta G. Poggi
74–75 Via del Gesù
Italy 00186
Tel: 39 06 678 4477

Even if you're not planning to set up your easel in the Forum or sketch copies of Roman statues in the Capitoline Museums, you'll be fascinated by the wealth of materials available at this shop, which has been meeting artists' needs since 1825. Besides a vast range of pens, pencils, and paints, there are natural pigments of the kind Leonardo might have used, burins for engravers, and handmade papers of all weights and hues.

Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm and 4 to 7:30 pm, Thursdays 9 am to 7:30 pm.

Emilio Pucci
22/r Via Tornabuoni
Tel: 39 055 265 8082

Born in Naples, Italian aristocrat and ski champion Emilio Pucci set up headquarters in Florence, his family's historic power base, when his fashion house began to take off in the 1950s. You can still pick up all those swirling, swinging abstract cartoon prints, now being styled by British designer and party animal Matthew Williamson.

Closed Sundays.

173 Via del Babuino
Tel: 39 06 3260 0361

In this stylish store on the eternally elegant Via del Babuino, you can stock up on luxury stationery—both hand- and machine-made—from Cartiere Fabriano in a rainbow of glorious colors. Leather and cloth photo albums, guest or address books of rich paper, and fountain pens all make great gifts.

Factory Outlets
Serravalle Scrivia

Like Florence, Milan has a few out-of-town fashion outlet malls. One of the most popular is Italy's first outlet village, Serravalle Designer Outlet, around 55 miles southwest of the city on the Milan–Genoa autostrada. Designed as a twee mock-up of a traditional Ligurian town, the mall harbors more than 180 shops (including Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada, and most of the other big names). Closer to Milan (though it's in another country) is Fox Town (open daily 11–7) in Mendrisio—just over the border in Switzerland—where Gucci, Cavalli, Ferragamo, Prada, Loro Piana, and Missoni all have cut-price boutiques. Expect discounts of between 30 and 70 percent in both places on last season's stock.

16/r Via Tornabuoni
Tel: 39 055 292 123

Salvatore Ferragamo's rags-to-riches story is the stuff of fairy tales; born into a poor family (one of 14 children) in Naples in 1898, he emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 and soon started making shoes for movie stars. He moved back to Florence in 1927 and opened his workshop in the formidable Palazzo Spini Feroni, which today houses the company's headquarters and this large store selling everything from the classic silk scarves and daintily bowed court shoes to more contemporary designs. Footwear fetishists should not miss a visit to the Shoe Museum (entrance at No. 2; 39-055-336-0456; open by appointment or for temporary exhibitions), which includes styles worn by the likes of Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, and Marilyn Monroe, plus documentation on Ferragamo's personal life story.

Flea Markets

Each Sunday morning, the streets just outside the ancient Porta Portese gate fill with stalls and bargain hunters in Rome's biggest flea market. There's a lot of rubbish here—"designer" T-shirts and "Louis Vuitton" bags straight from the Far East—and the wily dealers who run the antiques stalls in Via Ippolito Nievo always get the price they want. But rummage in secondhand book stalls or among boxes of vinyl LPs, and you may find some gems. For clothes, new and vintage, the scrum of choice is in Via Sannio, just outside the walls by the Basilica of San Giovanni Laterano. Each weekday morning, and all day Saturday, push through the cheap tat out front to stalls in the dark interior for fascinating finds. Pickpockets love the crush at both, so be careful with your wallet.

Food Shopping in Tuscany

If you're staying in the Chianti area and have the chance to cook, a visit to Italy's most famous butcher, Dario Cecchini, is more or less obligatory (11 Via XX Luglio, Panzano, near Greve; 39-055-852-020). Cecchini not only has the best Tonna del Chianti (pork shoulder packed in salt and then cooked in wine, sold in a vacuum-sealed pouch) and salumi (cured meats) in the area, he's also a larger-than-life showman who is liable to recite Dante at you as he carves. At the end of 2006, Cecchini opened an informal restaurant, Solo Ciccia ("only meat"), just across the road from his shop, where the traditional Tuscan menu revolves around his meaty wares. In Siena, Morbidi is a good all-round deli, where you can pick up fine Tuscan olive oils, salamis, vegetable and olive pastes, and cheeses, including a selection from the family's own dairy in Monteriggioni (75 Via Banchi di Sopra; 39-0577-280-268).

Fortuny Tessuti Artistici
805 Giudecca
Fondamenta San Biagio
Italy 30133
Tel: 39 041 522 4078

Disembark at any vaporetto stop on the Giudecca (Palanca is nearest to the shop), head west, and keep walking. Right at the end of the Fondamenta San Biagio, in the shadow of the new Hilton Molino Stucky, you'll find this Aladdin's cave of sumptuous fabrics: great bolts of rich cottons and silks in colors fit for a pasha. Fabric was one of the many passions of Mariano Fortuny, the Spanish nobleman and polymath who lived in Venice in the early 20th century. He drew inspiration from an enormous collection of historic materials, mixing epochs and geographic provenance to create his own unique fabric designs. But while the results are here for all to see, his fabric-printing methods remain a closely guarded secret: If you even try to sneak through the pretty neighboring courtyard into the factory itself, you'll be asked politely but firmly to leave. If you want your own piece of Fortuny, you'll have to pay about $200 a yard here at the factory—still significantly less than what you'd fork out elsewhere.

3451 San Marco
Calle delle Botteghe
Italy 30124
Tel: 39 041 522 8574

For anyone with even a passing interest in interior design, a visit to Gaggio is essential. Proprietor Emma Gaggio, a fifth-generation designer from the family dynasty, creates lushly colored silk and cotton fabrics and has them hand-printed with patterns drawn from Venetian tradition. Gaggio fabrics adorn some of the world's most luxurious homes, boats, and jets; here you can purchase lengths of the stuff (from around $190 a yard) or have it made up into cushions, wall hangings, and lamp shades.

Giulio Giannini e Figlio
37/r Piazza Pitti
Tel: 39 055 212 621

This bookbinding and papermaking company was founded on these premises, just north of Giardino Di Boboli, in 1856 by the Giannini family; the business is still run from the workshop upstairs. While the papers used are not as original and interesting as those at Il Torchio, there is a great selection of leather and paper-bound books and albums, desk accessories, and greetings cards (look out for the charming Christmas versions).


To avoid the risk of fire, all glass furnaces in Venice were banished to the lagoon island of Murano in 1291. There they remain to this day, as anyone disembarking from the vaporetto in Murano and being hassled by furnace tour guides will find. But beyond the hard sell and the Taiwan-made glass animals lies a world of serious glassmaking. The maestri at Mazzega will allow you to watch them blowing their fine designs (if you call ahead to arrange it), while Barovier & Toso has a private museum of antique glass attached to its workshop (visits by appointment only). The wares at Marina & Susanna Sent's shop, which include these sisters' exquisite glass jewelry, is a cut above most others on the island. At the foot of the Rialto Bridge, the Attombri brothers incorporate antique glass beads and stunning beads of their own design into gorgeous one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets.

147 Fondamenta da Mula
Tel: 39 041 736 888

28 Fondamenta Vetrai
Tel: 39 041 739 049

669 Dorsoduro
Campo San Vio
Tel: 39 041 520 8136

74 San Polo
Sottoportico degli Orafi
Tel: 39 041 521 2524

Grazia Vozza Capri
38 Via Fuorlovado
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 4010

Creative jeweler Grazia Vozza and her twin sister, Marica, do amazing things with gold, semiprecious stones, amber, and freshwater pearls; their stylishly ethnic necklaces, earrings, bangles, and handbags are difficult to resist. New lines include some highly desirable Capri sandals with gemstone straps.

Open May to November.

12 Piazza XXV Aprile
Italy 20124
Tel: 39 02 624 1101

A sort of homegrown Milanese IKEA, High-Tech is a huge furniture, homeware, and stationery emporium housed in the Corriere della Sera newspaper's former ink warehouse. Prices are far lower than in the museumlike design stores around Via Durini, and while you're unlikely to take a sofa home, this is a great place to pick up gifts, from Alessi coffee-makers to Moleskine diaries.

Closed Mondays.

Hotel Photo
Ilaria Miani
35 Via Monserrato
Campo de' Fiori
Italy 00186
Tel: 39 06 686 3160

Ilaria Miani began her working life as a picture framer but has since branched out into a range of stunningly stylish furniture and housewares, such as the versatile Cube coffee table with lift-out trays in a selection of rich woods, multihued retro garden chairs, and her trademark Whatnot—adjustable shelves in wood and wrought iron. Miani first designed them to grace the villas she restores and rents out in the Tuscan countryside, but they look perfectly at home, and surprisingly urban-chic, in her smart Rome shop.

For Miani's insider perspective on the Eternal City, check out her itinerary for the perfect two days in Rome.

Open Mondays 3:30 to 7:30 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 7:30 pm, September through July. Hours vary seasonally; please call ahead.

Il Bisonte
31/r Via del Parione
Tel: 39 055 215 722

Bisonte's chunky leather bags (with the trademark bison motifs) are renowned throughout the world, and the business began in Florence. The current central premises are housed in two huge arched rooms, one dominated by a life-size model bison. Workmanship is of the highest quality, as are the hides used. A characteristically soft Bisonte bag will last for years and years if you take good care of it, only improving with age. Come here for suitcases, handbags, briefcases, accessories, gift items, and a range of clothing

Il Torchio
17 Via dei Bardi
Tel: 39 055 234 2862

The art of decorative papermaking originated in France several centuries ago, but a strong tradition of the craft has long flourished in Florence. Colored inks are added to a solution of gelatin and marine algae in a shallow tray; metal combs are then drawn through the liquid to create intricate marbled patterns. Il Torchio stocks some of the most interesting decorative paper in the city; you can see bookbinders at work and hunt for gifts among a fine selection of boxes, albums, stationery, address books, and other gift items.

Closed Sundays.

L'Arte del Sandalo Caprese
Via Giuseppe Orlandi
Anacapri , Capri
Italy 80071
Tel: 39 081 837 3583

For nearly 50 years, Antonio Viva's sandals have graced the feet of celebrities, including Jackie O. and Sophia Loren. The store stocks ready-made varieties, but if you can wait a few weeks, Viva will design (and ship) a custom pair for you, too.

L'Inde le Palais
6 Via dei Musei
Italy 40125
Tel: 39 051 648 6587

This alarmingly cool concept store is Bologna's answer to Colette in Paris. On three floors of a historic palazzo in the heart of the museum district, L'Inde le Palais is as much a fashion gallery as a clothing store, with gossamer evening dresses by Amen, Zagliani croc totes, and Fornasetti Tema e Variazioni plates displayed like paintings at the Uffizi. There's a perfume department, a bookshop and music store, and a limited-edition streetwear niche. Cafè le Palais is the store's shabby-chic grazing and imbibing annex, while just outside the city limits on the Via Emilia, L'Inde Loft is the warehouselike offshoot for home design items, where you can feast your eyes (and lighten your wallet) on store-brand linen and silk fabrics, vintage '60s rugs, antique chandeliers, and Vico Magistretti chairs—plus a smattering of clothes and accessories.

L'Olfattorio: Bar à Parfums
34 Via di Ripetta
Piazza del Popolo
Italy 00186
Tel: 39 06 361 2325

The walls of this discreet, elegant perfumery are covered floor to ceiling with glass flasks. Drop by, and expert assistants will steer you around the shelves until you find your perfect perfume match. For a fuller exploration of your tastes and requirements, call ahead to book a passeggiata olfattoria—an olfactory stroll through the shop. You might end up with a fragrance customized just for you.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 7:30 pm.

La Bottega dell'Olio
2/r Piazza del Limbo
Tel: 39 055 267 0468

The Tuscan countryside is renowned for its olive groves, and this little shop sells an original and interesting selection of all sorts of things to do with olives, their oil, and their wood. First and foremost is a fine variety of olive oils and other edible goodies, such as artichoke hearts preserved in oil. Then there are soaps, lotions and potions, candles, table linens decorated with an olive motif, and some beautiful olive wood breadboards, cutlery, and pestles and mortars. The best time to buy is from January onwards, as this is when the previous autumn's new bottlings begin to arrive.

Closed Sundays and Monday mornings.

La Bottega del Marmoraro
53B Via Margutta
Spanish Steps
Italy 00187
Tel: 39 06 320 7660

It's not difficult to imagine Enrico Fiorentini draped in a toga and chipping bits off marble blocks for proud consuls and exotically perfumed Roman matrons. This welcoming, raucous marble-working shop personifies the Roman craftsman—today and 2,000 years ago—and this tiny spot on an ivy-draped street, otherwise populated by chic galleries, is quite timeless. Fiorentini will make you a "classical" statue or (far easier to carry) lapidary inscription to order.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 8:30 am to 7:30 pm.

La Conchiglia
18 Via Camerelle
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 8199

One of the few remnants of the literary culture that dominated Capri in the early part of the 20th century, when writers and artists flocked here to take part in its supposedly simple, unspoiled way of life. Among the expats who settled here were the British literary lions Norman Douglas and Oscar Wilde; and even Vladimir Lenin took time out from penning revolutionary manifestos to sun himself here for a few weeks in 1908. La Conchiglia, one of three bookshops run by an enterprising local publisher, is a good place to pick up antique prints and maps or secondhand books about Capri—many of them in English.

La Fiorente
4 Via Roma
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 8377083

If Grazia Vozza represents the contemporary, creative side of the Capri jewelry scene, La Fiorente holds the flame for tradition. Consisting of three separate outlets on busy Via Roma, the Alberino family's mini empire has grown from a single shop, opened in 1946, to become the point of reference for visitors who are partial to a bit of sparkle. The main store, at Number 4, specializes in dazzling old-fashioned luxury items in diamonds and precious stones. At Number 3, Don Alfonso offers a more accessible range with a predominance of pearl, coral and turquoise, while La Fiorente Coralli at Number 13 is a showpiece for the Bay of Naples's coral-working expertise, with intricately carved cameos and table centerpieces alongside the jewelry.—Lee Marshall

La Parisienne
7 Piazza Umberto I
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 7750

Founded in 1906, La Parisienne is still the island's best source for Capri pants. You can buy copies of the originals worn by Audrey Hepburn or order your own; a custom pair (around €200) takes a day to make.

La Vetrina di Beryl
4 Via Statuto
Italy 20121
Tel: 39 02 654 278

It doesn't look like much from the outside, but this cramped emporium is a shoe-fetishist's dream. If you know about shoes, you'll know that the selection here is spot on, covering all the bases from more famous names such as Prada and Marc Jacobs to in-crowd designers like Alain Tondowski and Paul Harnden. Think extravagant, dressy, and oh-so-sexy.

Closed Sundays.

Le Farella
21c Via Fuorlovado
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 5243

The four Farella sisters were given a small machine loom by their mother in 1981. After working in a garden shed for a while, they opened this workshop-boutique where they make and sell their shawls, cardigans, sweaters, dresses, and bedcovers. Cashmere is a specialty, but the sisters also dye their own silk, linen, and cotton fabrics. Shawls and tunics are often decorated with delicate macramé borders.

Closed January through March.

Limoncello di Capri
79 Via Roma
Capri Town , Capri
Italy 80073
Tel: 39 081 837 2927

Invented almost a century ago by the Canale family, which still runs this business today, Capri's trademark liqueur made with local lemons can be sipped straight, mixed with vodka, or poured over ice cream (whichever you choose, it packs a wallop). A bottle makes a great souvenir or gift for friends back home.

Lisa Corti
14 Via di Pallacorda
Palazzo Cardelli
Centro Storico
Italy 00186
Tel: 39 06 6819 3216

Milanese textile designer Lisa Corti creates colorful bedspreads, cushions, curtains, and womenswear out of Indian organza, cotton, and velvet. Featured in Saks and John Derian, Corti also has outlets in Milan, Florence, and Istanbul, but her Roman store is really quite special, and well worth seeking out if you can get hold of a decent centro storico map. The shop is in the tiny lane where the artist Caravaggio once killed a rival after a game of pallacorda (a sort of open-air version of squash). Inside, the gray columns and white walls of what were once the stables of a Renaissance palazzo are enlivened by the full-on hues and patterns of Corti's vibrant textiles.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 7 pm; check for extended hours in summer.

Livio de Marchi
3157A San Marco
Salizada San Samuele
Tel: 39 041 528 5694

There's a wonderful sense of irony in Livio De Marchi's hyper-realist sculptures. Anyone happening across his shop⁄gallery near the San Samuele vaporetto stop is enticed by his neatly hanging jackets and hats, his dressing tables crowded with beauty products, his jars of artists' brushes, and his crumpled portmanteau suitcases—all carved out of yellow, knotty cembra pine from the Alps of northern Italy. Recent additions to his work include brilliantly colored pieces in glass—like some astonishingly real-looking helium "balloons"—designed by De Marchi and blown on the island of Murano.

9 Via Montenapoleone
Italy 20121
Tel: 39 02 7602 2848

It comes as a bit of a surprise to find this venerable coltellinaio (knifemaker) in the middle of the fashion strip of Via Montenapoleone. But Lorenzi, which began life as a humble knife-sharpening workshop in 1929, is actually full of desirable lifestyle accessories, from vintage tortoiseshell combs to silver hip flasks to a set of precision sculptor's chisels. Down the block is a small museum (visits by appointment only) dedicated to a collection of 4,000 antique razors (what the Web site calls "meaningful moments in the history of shaving").

Closed Sunday.

Luisa Via Roma
19–21/r Via Roma
Tel: 39 055 217 826

One of Florence's most interesting one-stop fashion stores, multilevel Luisa, next to the Duomo, is famous for its highly original and ever-changing window displays. Inside, you'll find a fabulous choice of cutting-edge designer collections for men and women from Italian and international, plus a few more cultish names such as Juicy Couture and Rick Owens. They also sell high-fashion shoes, jewelry, and accessories.

2762 Dorsoduro
Campo San Barnaba
Italy 30123
Tel: 39 041 522 4181

Designer Francesca Meratti's sleek housewares shop exudes minimalist style from every brushed-aluminium shelf. Her salad servers and sinuous carved bottle-stoppers come in a variety of exotic woods; her trays are in gorgeously textured slate; and her ceramic ashtrays are far too elegant to use for stubbing out cigarettes. Pieces by other European designers round out the collection: unusual jewelry with an ethnic slant, gorgeous textiles made into bags and scarves, and unique carved wooden bowls.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm and 3:30 to 7:30 pm.

1/r Via de' Guicciardini
Tel: 39 055 239 6526

Florence is a great place to buy gloves, and this tiny shop near the southern end of the Ponte Vecchio is one of the very best. The only glove shop in the city to produce its stock on site, it makes the exquisitely crafted guanti in a factory just behind the shop. Gloves come in every conceivable color from classic browns, black, and navy to the latest season's avocado-green and sizzling orange. Models range from simple, unlined styles to silk, wool, or cashmere-lined classics, from men's driving gloves to fabulously elaborate creations for serious dressing up.

Closed Sundays.

Capri Palace Hotel & Spa
2b Via Capodimonte
Anacapri , Capri
Italy 80071
Tel: 39 081 837 1426

The island's only "department store" is located in the Capri Palace hotel and stocks high-end designers (Valentino, Versace, Armani) plus precious corals and cameos made by the local artisans. You will also find stylish furniture and Capodimonte porcelain that the store will ship all over the world. Other Italian creations include Sorrento intarsia work and a range of funky Venetian glass tumblers by Carlo Moretti.

Closed November to March.


Every day is market day in Bologna. Locals and tourists haggle for fresh fruits and veggies, spiffy leather handbags, and antique furniture at these city-center street fairs. (Watch your wallet, though: Pickpockets have been known to shop there, too.) The largest and oldest—it dates back to the 13th century—is La Piazzola, a great place to pick up shoes, crafts, fabrics, and a huge selection of vintage clothes (Piazza VIII Agosto, every Friday and Saturday). On Thursdays, the same piazza is occupied by the Mercato del Collezionismo (Collectors' Market), where you can find everything from antique furniture to Kinder Egg toy collectables. For seafood and fresh fruit and vegetables, don't miss the Mercato di Mezzo (Via Pescherie Vecchie) and Mercato delle Erbe (Via Ugo Bassi) in the heart of the centro storico. There are nine regular markets and various seasonal markets selling holiday sweets and Christmas decorations. Check the tourism office's Web site for the entire updated schedule (

Hotel Photo

If the crowds of tourists start to make you feel like you're wandering through a theme park rather than a city, make for a market. Here, you'll find real Venetians doing refreshingly everyday things. The biggest, liveliest, and most colorful is the Rialto Market (pictured), which runs Monday to Saturday mornings at the northwestern foot of the Rialto Bridge. Squeeze past the purveyors of nylon soccer shirts in the Ruga degli Orefici and Ruga degli Speziali and strike north: You'll find row upon row of cheese stalls, meat vendors, benches piled with fruit and vegetables, and a Gothic-looking pescaria (covered fish market). All are swarming with sandpaper-voiced old ladies, young mothers using strollers to cut a swath through the crowd, and dapperly dressed professionals laying in supplies for the evening's dinner party. Moored at the far eastern end of Via Garibaldi and on the northern edge of Campo San Barnaba are two more quintessentially Venetian emporia: large barges that on weekday mornings groan under heaps of produce, while shoppers shout their orders from the fondamenta.

Hotel Photo

The rebirth of Venice's carnevale in the 1970s brought a resurgence of the ornately decorated papier-mâché masks worn for the festival centuries earlier. And though many of the mask shops you'll see in the city sell dodgy, Asian–made wares, there are some true mascarei (mask-makers), too. Ca' Macana and Mondonovo have the full range of traditional commedia dell'arte faces, from Harlequin to Pantalone and Pierrot, as well as the eerie blank-faced masks once favored by anonymity-seeking unfaithful husbands and nuns on the lam. At Papier Mâché, on the other hand, masks are inspired by the work of artists from Vittore Carpaccio to Kandinsky.

3172 Dorsoduro
Calle delle Botteghe
Tel: 39 041 277 6142

3063 Dorsoduro
Rio Terà Canal
Tel: 39 041 528 7344

5175 Castello
Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa
Tel: 39 041 522 9995

Mercato Centrale
Via del Ariento

Florence's central produce market is a feast for the senses and a must for foodies. Occupying a 19th-century glass and iron structure, the market houses deli, meat, and poultry stalls (pretty gory if you are vegetarian) on the ground floor, while upstairs, fresh produce stalls provide displays of seasonal fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors. Look out for Mario Conti's stall on the ground floor near the main entrance, which is packed with olive oils, balsamic vinegars (some of them aged for 100 years), dried mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, condiments, and chutneys. Nearby is the Perini brothers' mouthwatering shop, where you can buy cheeses, hams, and salamis and have them vacuum-packed for the journey home (open Mon–Fri 7 a.m.–2 p.m., Sat only in winter). And don't miss a visit to Baroni around the corner, the best food shop in the market, with an extensive selection of wines, cheeses, salumi, and plenty more. They can ship your purchases anywhere in the world (fax: 39-055-289-576).

Moriondo & Gariglio
21 Via Piè di Marmo
Italy 00186
Tel: 39 06 699 0856

Moriondo & Gariglio's dark red interior creates the perfect ambience for this chocolate-perfumed haven. For more than 100 years, the firm has been producing Rome's very finest chocolate, from the 70 percent pure cocoa variety to nutty pralines and treats with rich liqueur centers. Around Easter and Valentine's Day, the place gets seriously packed. Have a present for a special someone sealed into a sumptuously wrapped heart-shaped box.

Open daily 9:30 am to 1 pm and 3:30 to 7:30 pm, September through July.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella
16 Via della Scala
Tel: 39 055 216 276

Of the many herbalists' shops in Florence, this is the most famous. Occupying a stunning ex-pharmacy in an ancient palazzo with a frescoed 13th-century chapel, it's worth visiting for the setting alone. However, you will be hard put to resist some of the gorgeous goodies on offer, most notably what is generally acknowledged to be the best soap in the world. Many of the products (bath oils, body lotions, face creams, skin tonics, and so on) are still made to the Dominican monk, Angiolo Marchissi's barely modified 14th-16th-century recipes. Medicinal remedies include such curiosities as Aceto delle Sette Ladri (for fainting spells) and Acqua Antisterica (valued for its antispasmodic properties). You can now buy Santa Maria Novella scents all over the world, but nowhere can compare with the original store.

Outlet Shops in Tuscany

Fashion insiders know that you need to look beyond Via Tornabuoni in Florence and Via Condotti in Rome to find Italy's best shopping. A number of outlet malls hidden in the hills of Tuscany—especially in the Valdarno valley southeast of Florence—promise amazing savings on designer duds. Unlike in U.S. outlet malls, the goods here aren't manufactured specifically for discount sales; they're the real thing, marked down by 50 percent or better. Of course, outlet shopping is always hit-or-miss, but true shoppers know that the hunt is half the fun.

You'll need a car; otherwise arrange a tour through a travel agency that specializes in Tuscany (check our Travel Agent Finder for recommendations).

68 Località Levanella
Tel: 39 055 91 901

Trust Italy's most exclusive label to make its outlet store, just outside the town of Montevarchi, almost impossible to find, with signage so minimal that it feels like a treasure hunt. To get there, head south from Florence on the A1 Autostrada and take the Val d'Arno exit. Bear right, following the signs for Montevarchi. At the large roundabout, exit to the left, continuing toward Arezzo. Pass through Montevarchi and into Località Levanella. Shortly after the village, you'll see an Agip gas station on your right. Take the left at the flashing light immediately after it, following the signs for the Zona Industriale and "I Pellettieri d'Italia"—the official name of this huge gray and black warehouse with a sawtooth roof. Even when you've found a place to park the car, you're not quite in: First, you have to take a number from the ticket machine, then wait your turn, perhaps over a pricey cappuccino at the Prada bar on the corner, where an electronic number counter keeps you posted on progress. The reward is men's and women's clothing and accessories from both the Prada and Miu Miu labels at a fraction of the usual price (men's suits, for example, can be pcked up for a third of what you would pay in London or New York, sometimes less). The outlet is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday; smart shoppers know to avoid the weekend crush.

The Mall
8 Via Europa
Tel: 39 055 865 7775

This smart new open-air mall, way out in the boonies about 40 minutes southeast of Florence, features an ever-growing strip of outlets from Italy's top design houses (and others). The Mall now hosts Agnona, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Emanuel Ungaro, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hogan, La Perla, Loro Piana, Pucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Tod's, Valentino, Yohji Yamamoto, and Yves Saint Laurent. (Phew! Don't worry—there's a café where you can collapse after that retail workout.) From the A1 Autostrada, take the Incisa exit, then take a right toward Pontassieve on SS69. Continue into Leccio—past fields and cows and old Tuscan farmhouses—and look for the Mall on your left. (You'll also pass a smaller building containing Dolce & Gabbana and Fendi shops.) The Mall operates a shuttle bus from Florence; call to tell them which hotel you're staying in, and they'll pick you up (around $30 round-trip). Opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

9 Via Spadari
Tel: 39 02 802 3161

One of Italy's great delis, Peck has been tempting local gourmets since 1883 with its hanging ham displays, Parmesan mountains, and shelves stacked high with bottles of tangy green olive oil from all over Italy. Over the three floors of the flagship store you can also find wine, bread and cakes, smoked fish, sauces, and condiments from Modena balsamic vinegar to Cremona mustard, plus an upstairs tearoom that makes a useful pit stop for weary shoppers.

Closed Sunday and Monday.

Porta Portese

Each Sunday morning, Via Portuense and the surrounding streets just outside the ancient Porta Portese gate fill with stalls and bargain hunters in Rome's biggest flea market. There's a lot of rubbish here—"designer" T-shirts and "Louis Vuitton" bags straight from the Far East—and the wily dealers who run the antiques stalls in and around Via Ippolito Nievo make sure they get the price they want. But rummage a little deeper, in secondhand bookstalls or among boxes of vinyl LPs plonked on the pavement, and you may find some gems. Pickpockets love the crush, so be careful of your wallet. Cinephiles will recognize the location from the neorealist classic The Bicycle Thief.

25/r Via Roma
Tel: 39 055 213 077

There are several city-center branches of this chic one-stop shop, which stocks men's and women's fashions and shoes by Romeo Gigli, Armani, Prada, Miu Miu, Anna Molinari, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more. It also sells its own clothing line, shoes (definitely worth a look), and accessories. The Via Roma store is the biggest, but there are others at 72r Via Por Santa Maria (39-055-215-596) and 3–7 Via Martelli (39-055-239-8336). Raspini (17r Via Calimaruzza) is an outlet selling previous seasons' stock from the main stores, where you will find massive discounts on Raspini's own label as well as other major designers.

Riccardo Barthel
234r Via dei Serragli
Italy 50124
Tel: 39 055 228 0721

Barthel is the king of Italy's shabby-chic interior designers. His shop and HQ near the Porta Romana is a treasure trove of old copper pots, worn leather armchairs, antique Vietri floor tiles, picture frames, and other exquisitely tasteful domestic bibelots, with originals and reproductions merging seamlessly in the mix. You can buy single items, though the place is essentially a calling card for Barthel's thriving design consultancy. But for anyone interested in the new-old Tuscan country look, a wander around the designer's lair is a great source of inspiration.

Open Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 1 pm and 3:30 to 7:30 pm, and Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm, October through April.

Roberto Cavalli
83/r Via Tornabuoni
Tel: 39 055 239 6226

Local boy Roberto Cavalli's flagship store opened a couple of years ago, controversially taking over a space previously occupied by Giacosa, one of Florence's classic cafés. The mouthwatering cakes and pastries in the window have been replaced by Cavalli's brash rock-star creations. When you get fed up with shopping (or to recover from the price tag on that pair of skintight, sequined, and ripped-up jeans), pop next door to Cavalli's café, where you can perch on a leopard-skin ottoman and watch a catwalk show on the huge video screen while sipping a cocktail; you might even catch a glimpse of the man himself.

Roberto Ugolino
17/r Via dei Michelozzi
Tel: 39 055 216 246

Young shoemaker Roberto Ugolini's small workshop is just off Piazza Santo Spirito; you can watch him and his apprentices at work turning out exquisite men's shoes. From the first measurements to the finished article, expect to wait about four months, but the result will be well worth the patience required, and the shoes will last for years. Ugolini's models are mostly along fairly traditional lines: wingtips and monk straps with various degrees of decoration in a whole range of colors.

Closed Sundays.

15a Corso Magenta
Tel: 39 02 869 3314

No frills, no extras, just gloves of every style, color, and size. Leather, suede, chamois-lined, cashmere-lined: You name it, they have it, in this tiny old-fashioned shop on busy Corso Magenta. Prices—on charming handwritten signs in the window—are competitive, considering the quality of the workmanship. A good place to pick up gifts to take home, if you're confident of the size.

Scuola del Cuioio
5/r Via San Giuseppe
Tel: 39 055 244 533

Created as a vocational charity for war orphans, this leather school is located inside the cloisters of Santa Croce church (you can also enter through the church itself). Apart from perusing a wide range of high-quality leather goods (jackets, bags, luggage, accessories, gift items, and a great selection of change purses and wallets), all at very reasonable prices, you can actually watch craftsmen and their apprentices at work. You can also have goods custom-made in calfskin, ostrich, or crocodile in a huge range of colors.


Calagher (cobbler) Daniela Ghezzo took over the venerable Segalin shop in 2003 after learning the trade from the Segalins themselves—a father and son that had turned out some of Venice's most beautiful shoes since 1932. Some of the Segalins' more outlandish designs can still be bought at the shop, including their trademark gondola-shaped shoes. But you can also have less showy shoes stitched to order. Bespoke prices for men's and women's shoes can go up to €1,700 (about $2,200)—but you'll never have a more exquisitely made pair. Your custom pumps, loafers, or oxfords will take about a month to make, then Ghezzo and her team will ship them directly to you. Giovanna Zanella, another Segalin pupil, sells her designs in a rainbow-hued shop near the Rialto. Her handmade creations range from dazzling to outrageous: It takes a certain panache (and a generous credit limit) to wear what looks like a pair of exploding fireworks on your feet.

4365 San Marco
Calle dei Fuseri
Tel: 39 041 522 2115

5641 Castello
Calle Carminati
Tel: 39 041 523 5500

Shopping in Cinque Terre

When it comes to shopping in this part of Italy, you'll do better to contain the spending urge until you get to Milan, or even nearby Genoa. But what you can find in the Cinque Terre, in abundance, is local produce, especially wine and olive oil, both of which are cultivated on the steep terraces around and above the five villages. White wine has been produced here for centuries; the two main varieties, both obtained from a blend of bosco, vermentino, and albarola grapes, are the dry white Cinque Terre and Sciacchetrà, a delicate (and rather expensive) dessert wine made from partially dried grapes in the second half of October. Be wary of imitations, and if you're unsure, stick to the wines made by the local Cooperativa Agricola, which turns out perfectly correct, well-balanced examples of both genres. If you want something a little more refined, look out for two producers in particular: Buranco from Monterosso, and Bonanni from Riomaggiore.

Stock Houses

In Milan, even top models use the stock houses, the city's discount fashion barns, which are the final resting place of many of last season's unsold garments and accessories. Factory seconds can also make it into the mix, so check carefully for flaws. Discounts of up to 70 percent are often available. One of the oldest and most reliable stock houses is Il Salvagente, which also has a kidswear branch, Salvagente Bimbi (28 Via Balzaretti; (39-02-2668-0764). Neither outlet takes credit cards. Another good fallback is Dmagazine Outlet, which nestles cheekily up against the branded boutiques in the heart of the fashion district. There's another equally well-stocked branch near Porta Genova train station (13 Via Forcella; 39-02-8940-0052).

Hotel Photo
155A Via del Babuino
Piazza del Popolo
Italy 00187
Tel: 39 06 3269 5131

At the one-stop shopping mecca TAD—Rome's answer to Colette in Paris and Jeffrey in New York—you'll find a handpicked collection of shoes, clothes, and housewares that look as if they were pulled right from the pages of Vogue Italia. Though dresses from designers like Alessandro dell'Acqua and Chloé don't come cheap, you can often find pieces that aren't available stateside. Other standouts include the ethnic furnishings picked up by owner Marina Coffa on her travels, plus flowers from Tearose that'll make your hotel room that much more chic. You can even have your hair done at the on-site salon. After you make your way through the varied offerings, refuel at the store's hip cafe in a beautiful courtyard with marble fountain. They also have a discount outlet around the corner, at 5 Via San Giacomo.

Open daily 10:30 am to 8 pm May through September; 10:30 am to 5:30 pm October through April.

1 Via Caprarie
Italy 40124
Tel: 051 234 726

If you're food shopping, don't miss Tamburini, a gourmet deli and shrine to Bologna's full-on local cuisine. This spot has pretty much all the Italian salumi you could possibly want, from humble mortadella to prized culatello di Zibello. There are cheeses, too (including huge wheels of Parmesan); moist, aromatic torta di riso cake; and a vast selection of fine wines. At the back of the shop, a self-service lunchtime bistro called VeloCibo occupies the former salumeria workshop, where pigs were transformed into tasty treats—if you glance up, you can still see the butchers' hooks on their iron rails.

Tessitura Pardi
25 Via Ringhiera Umbra
Italy 06036
Tel: 39 074 237 8119

Umbria has a long tradition of textile manufacture and hand weaving, including embroidery and lace making (the latter concentrated in the Lake Trasimeno area). Founded in 1949, and based just outside the charmingly named town of Bastardo, Tessitura Pardi is one of the few local textile firms to combine industrial scale with handmade production values and traditional motifs (many designs are copied from ancient Umbrian models, some dating back to the 14th century). Linen and cotton are used to create delicate tablecloths, bedcovers, curtains, sheets, and runners. Pardi products are available in textile stores all over Umbria, but the main outlet is in Montefalco.

Closed daily between 1 and 3.

Testaccio Market

Clued-in shoe shoppers head to the fruit and vegetable market in Testaccio, where the whole western aisle has been colonized by stalls selling manufacturers' samples and last season's models at bargain-basement prices (Monday through Saturday mornings). On Saturdays, traders bring more men's footwear. The streets around the market in this friendly residential neighborhood harbor many more shoe shops, including an AVC outlet (66–68 Via Mastro Giorgio; 39-06-5725-0493). And while you're here, stock up for your picnic in the park off Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice.

Via del Governo Vecchio

Narrow, bustling Via del Governo Vecchio is not only unspeakably picturesque, it also boasts the highest density of one-off fashion emporiums in Rome, offering everything from the classiest secondhand garments at Vestiti Usati Cinzia (No. 45; 39-06-686-1791) to beautiful coats, sweaters, and embroidered wedding dresses designed by Luciana Iannace at Maga Morgana (No. 27; 39-06-687-9995 and No. 98; 39-06-687-8095). Patrizia Pieroni's daring conversation-piece dresses are at Arsenale (No. 64; 39-06-686-1380); you'll find strappy, spangly sandals at Jade & More (No. 36; 39-06-683-3936); Tempi Moderni has Art Deco necklaces and Bakelite brooches (No. 108; 39-06-687-7007); and there's outrageously ornate costume jewelry at Indecoroso (No. 67; 39-335-635-0096). When it all gets to be too much for you, take the weight off your feet at Shaki Restaurant, where meals, drinks, and snacks are served from 10 am to 2 am daily (No. 123; 39-06-6830-8796;

47 Via Marmorata
Tel: 39 06 574 2352

Enter this gastronomic temple at your peril. A sliver of piquant pecorino here, a mini-chunk of succulent salami there, and before you know it, you'll be opening your heart and your wallet to the charmingly cajoling salesmen behind the high, glass-fronted counter packed with every Italian deli specialty you've ever wanted to try—and quite a few that you've never even heard of. Claudio and Emilio Volpetti's goods are far from cheap but are always top-quality: There are cheeses of all ages and consistencies from up and down Italy's boot, a daunting selection of hams, and dozens of salamis, plus excellent bread, and a good though pricey selection of wines. For sit-down lunchtime self-service, check out the restaurant just round the corner at 8–10 Via Alessandro Volta, where you can sample a selection of the same goods, plus excellent pizza and salads.

Open daily 8 am to 2 pm and 5 to 8:15 pm.

Volterra Alabaster

One of the largest alabaster deposits in Italy is found near Volterra, and the semi-translucent stone has been quarried and carved here since Etruscan times. Shops all over the city sell lamp stands, paperweights, and other objects, some very beautiful. At the Cooperativa Artieri Alabastro, right in Piazza dei Priori, about 30 artisans show their wares (39-0588-87-590; At Rossi Alabastri in Piazza della Pescheria, you can see the craftsmen carving in the adjacent workshop (39-0588-86-133;

Wine Shopping in Tuscany

If you're just interested in buying, most Tuscan towns (not to mention the smallest villages in the major wine districts) offer ample opportunities. In Siena, the encyclopedic shop of the national wine institute, Enoteca Italiana, is currently closed for a makeover; it will reopen TK ( Siena's other enotecas are not that inspiring; better to head for Montalcino, where the Enoteca La Fortezza, in the medieval Rocca (castle) that dominates the town, has a huge selection of the two muscular local reds, Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, and plenty of other bottles from all over Tuscany (Piazzale Fortezza; 39-0577-849-211; Other wine shops that stand out from the crowd include La Vena di Vino (30 Via Don Minzoni; 39-0588-81491; in Volterra, and Enoteca Vanni (7 Piazza del Salvatore; 39-0584-491-902; in Lucca.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.