Shopping in Italian

Traveling through Italy, pay attention to the time for shopping. Some stores have a day of rest (giorno di riposo), and most stores will be closed Monday morning, opening in the evening directly. Generally they open at 09:00 in the morning and close at 13:00 hours, then after lunch shops open again at 15:30 in the afternoon and close at 19:30 from Monday to Saturday. 

Most shops are closed on Sunday but you can find at least one shop open; shop opening hours are not rigorous in many cities in Italy. 

A misconception is that all stores will close in the afternoon, but it really depends on where you are in Italy, and what time of year.

Especially in crowded city centers, many stores should remain open through the afternoon, overall the big ones.

Sales in Italy: What You Need to Know

  • “SALDI” is the magic word you need to know. You’ll see it everywhere, so you’ll learn it quickly.
  • The specific dates for each sales period change each year, and they vary by region, so you may find the sales already in full swing in Milan but a few days away in Rome.
  • Everyone puts inventory on sale – that means everyone, including those high-end designers.
  • The summer sales period in Italy also coincides with one of the most popular months for tourism – July. “I saldi estivi” begin in July, usually near the start of the month, and last through about mid-August or until inventory is gone.
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Pharmacies:

Opening hours are determined by law, every pharmacy counts with a card in which Opening hours are indicated as well as the emergency phones. Usually pharmacies are open from 8:30 to 12:30 in the morning and from 15:30 to 19:30 in the afternoon unless the pharmacy is an “open pharmacy” (farmacia di turno) and it is open also at night, holidays and Sundays. 

CASH WITH YOU

Most Italians pay for things on a day to day basis with cash  from their morning coffee to dinner that evening and everything in between. For those who have grown accustomed to paying for milk and bread at the grocery store with a debit card, it can be a little jarring when the waiter at a bar balks when you hand him a Visa.

Italy, I think, is not the land of customer service. If something is an inconvenience for a shopkeeper – such as paying the Visa fee – he’d just as soon not have the machine at all. This works in Italy, because it’s already so cash-centric. Anyway: don’t worry – almost every hotel in the country (and certainly all the big ones) and the most of the restaurants take cards, as do train stations.

Banks: are only open in the morning and for one hour in the afternoon: generally open 8:30AM to 1:00PM and then 2PM to 3:30PM.  In the small villages if you need a bank it’s better going in the morning!

PHRASEBOOK

Cartoleria = stationery shop

Contanti = cash

Edicola = newsagent

Farmacia = chemisty

Fruttivendolo = grocery

Gioielleria = jewellery

Libreria = bookshop

Macelleria = butchery

Negozio d’abbigliamento = Clothing store

Orario di apertura = opening hours

Panetteria = bakery

Pasticceria = confectionary

Pescheria = fishmonger’s

Saldi = sale

Quanto costa? = How much does it cost?

Quant’è? = How much?

Posso pagare con la carta di credito? = Can I pay with my debit card?

Pagare – to pay

In contanti –  in cash

Mi piace = I like it

Non mi piace = I don’t like it

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