I am planning on coming to Italy in April for about 3.5 -4 weeks.
I will be trying to cover as many parts as possible in the time I have there. So far Tuscany, Venice, Rome, Milan, Florence and the Amalfi coast are on the list to visit.
I would love to know where the locals shop for clothing, leathergoods including shoes, fabric, food etc including markets. I dont want to be stung at the high priced tourist traps.
Any help and advice is very much appreciated.
Also, any highlights of places or sights to see would be great.
Thanks in advance
My wife and I are actually also trying to plan for an Italy trip.
Have you booked anything yet?
We have just started looking for the best places or best times or even best fares.
We have gone to Portugal last April and we prefer to rent a car and just be carefree during our trip as opposed to booking everything day by day and have everything planned out.
We have a general plan and that is to choose certain cities and from there we drive and enjoy everything at each location.
Italy is large so we want to make sure we hit certain points. I don't want to make this a 1 time italy trip, however, I'm looking for suggestions from anyone that has been there or done their research thoroughly.
I see that you have at least chose a couple locations. We are looking at 2 weeks on our time. Please advise about your findings.
Florence has a FABULOUS leather market!!
From what I have experienced, most of the markets are both local and touristy. But you can tell just by looking at them (the magnets and shot glasses are a dead give-away!) But generally, if you ask someone they are more than willing to help you out, and guide you a little out of the way to delicious little restaurants and shops.
Being a ship crew member, we were always looking for something off the beaten path, trying to stay away from all the passengers for the day. We just asked locals where to go. They understand, they won't blame you for wanting to avoid the tourists!!
that's so funny....what cruise ship are you a member off?
I sailed Turkey/Greece/Italy/France/Monaco/Spain/Morocco/Portugal and crossed the Atlantic on the MSY Wind Spirit, which is one of three small sailing yachts owned by Wind Star Cruises, a division of Holland America (I say small, only compared to the big ships, these sailing vessels are still over 300ft long)
I also travelled Greenland, Iceland, Bermuda, New England, Eastern Canada onboard the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator.
On the MS Norwegian Dawn I sailed NYC - Florida/Caribbean
And my very first ship was the MS Volendam, Holland America Cruises, in the Caribbean/Mexico/Alaska.
I'm a pro at dodging the tourists in port!
Thanks for the post - that is exactly the kind of information i'm after.
I guess i will need to brush up on my italian before getting there to be able to ask the locals more.
We are at a similar level of planning as you. We have only just decided to go.
Here are a few web sites that i've been loking at for ideas on places to see and things to do, hope they help....
I will be there probably the same time you will be there. End of April.
Have you found reasonable fares? etc... Would like to speak with you more in detail about this. Maybe a chat session of some sort.
A little Italian won't hurt, I got by with none!! Lol...I just would say..."I would like a restaurant, NO tourists!!" and they'd just smile and get me to follow them. They always appreciate the effort put forth to speak their language, even if they laugh and tell you just to speak english. I have had such wonderful experiences with the Italians. Enjoy your trip!!
where do italians use to buy??
Surely not downtown (even if the commercial roads are crowded in saturday afternoon...we do this to watch people more than for shopping). Downtown you'll find the big fashion chains such as Benetton, Zara (spanish fashion very cheap), H&M (swedish fashion ultracheap).
If you'll have a car, choose for famous italian designer outlets close to Milano, Firenze and Rome:
Armani has a great Outlet 20 km north of Milano.
Prada has a great outlet close to Arezzo.
Alessi has a very good outlet close to Lago d'Orta (80 km from Milano).
and so on.
Ask me if you need the adress...
I personally buy at open markets, which are almost in every city a time or two times a weeks. (in the biggest cities you'll find more than one open markets).
The leather open market in Florence is San Lorenzo market. The Florentine area is very famous for leather.
If you go to an open market just have a look round, there are a lot of clothes and shoes, the prices are good, but you need to be aware that not all is really italian...check the label to see if is China made or local made!