People who complain about Florence being too touristy and crowded have likely never been to the “other” side of Florence– right across the Arno river, the Oltrarno. I used to be one of the people. On my first visit to Florence, my sightseeing was limited to a tiny circumference in the center, where I was […]
The Top Souvenirs from Italy: What to Buy
Italy is one of my favorite places to shop for souvenirs, but it can be tricky to know what to buy. Tourist spots in Italy can be crowded with vendors selling the worst kind of tourist tat. The top souvenirs from Italy embody a sense of place— whether you’re shopping for cheese off an Italian farm in Tuscany, or bringing home souvenir ceramic plates bought directly from the artisan’s shop in Florence. Other top Italian souvenirs to look out for are crisp Italian linens and Italian wine from a small family vineyard that doesn’t export beyond their property line. Italian souvenirs can also remind you of the culture– like a palio souvenir reminded me of the closeness of contradas. And some souvenirs from Italy can be just for fun– our guest contributor shares how his top souvenirs from Italy included mini replicas and statues of Italian landmarks.
No matter where you find your own top souvenirs from Italy, don’t forget to mind the opening and closing hours. In some smaller hilltowns, they are serious about shutting down for several hours mid-day so plan accordingly to avoid disappointment.
I was a little lost in Florence’s Oltrarno quarter. It might have by design, because I was only half-heartedly looking for my destination. As usual, I was hoping something more interesting would distract me first. It didn’t take long for something to capture my attention. I looked to my right and saw an open doorway […]
I had this romanticized idea of the Italian Lake district for years– narrow stone lanes framed by blooming flowers, grand terraces along the water, and of course, the home of George Clooney. With expectations sky high, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the reality was a let-down. But after an all-too-brief visit, I can happily […]
I’d gotten tired of hearing about the purple pasta cooked in red wine– my friend Amy just couldn’t shut up about how good it was. Amy had sampled this dish in Florence years ago and had been longing to go back ever since. While I was fine with adding it to our itinerary, I remained […]
It’s pretty much undisputed that Milan is a shopper’s paradise, heaving with designer fashions, but I wondered whether Milan is also a souvenir shopper’s paradise. While I knew the fashion scene here is bar none, could I find anything unique here that I couldn’t be found in their Madison Avenue outpost? And just as importantly, […]
I have a fascination with border towns– those places that effortlessly hug two cultures and somehow combine the best of both worlds. The Northern Italy region of Lombardy is already distinct from the rest of Italy– swap olive oil for butter and pasta for polenta and risotto, for starters. But if you head all the […]