Prices in Italy soared with the introduction of the euro, but a strong artisan tradition means that even if you won't find the cheapest goods there, you will probably find the best. Shopping in the international fashion capitals of Milan, Rome, and Florence can be a near-religious experience. But Prada and Gucci stores in the big cities sell items for about the same as (or more than) everywhere else in the world. The intrepid should lay hold of a map and a car and drive to the outlets (Gucci and Prada among them) outside Florence. They're not easy to find, but for fashionistas, the bargain prices will be worth it. Other areas of Italy have their own specialties. Venice and the island of Murano are both known for handblown glass. Tuscany is a center for marble, carved into elegant sculptures or in great slabs for the portico back home. Lombardy produces wonderful pottery and handmade violins. And from Piedmont you can get elegant handmade gold jewelry.