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How to: Shop in Italy

Ciao bella! I just got back from my 10-day Italian summer vacation and I’ve brought some tips and tricks back with me on how to navigate the wonderful shopping scene in Italy. We are going to discuss all things Italian fashion, boutique shopping, tax refunds, and discounted luxury goods. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful, if and when you find yourself on the Amalfi Coast, the streets of Roma, or a little neighborhood in Napoli. 


The desirable thing about Italy is that you can find so many shops that make high quality leather goods for a fraction of the cost of big label brands. If you’re looking for something unique, in plenty of these stores you can find cobblers hand-making sandals. A pair of handmade quality shoes can be found for around 50 euros. The leather bags also available in these little shops can be incredible finds and are often a bang for your buck. These leather pieces are sure to last you much longer than similar products from fast fashion brands. I purchased the best pair of burgundy leather Mary Jane flats at one of these stores. I saw how similar they were to designer brands I had been looking at online. Once I tried them on I was shocked by how comfortable they were. I was tempted to buy several pairs, but my boyfriend Martin had to keep reminding me of how full my suitcase already was! Thank you Martin for the reality check, but I know how to navigate this situation…read my tip below! 

Pro Tip: When packing for Italy, you have 2 options. (1) Leave ample room in your bags for the purchases you’re sure to make. This is a challenge for me because, as I’m sure you are all stunned to learn, I am NOT a minimal packer. (2) Do what I did: once your suitcase is completely full and well over the 50 lbs limit, go out and buy another disposable suitcase for all of your new clothes and shoes. Trust me it’s worth it, because you are going to want to take advantage of everything Italy has to offer.

It’s worth mentioning that there were also many options for men. At these same stores there were so many styles of classic loafers to all-leather chelsea boots. These shoes are quality and so much less expensive than many brands we often see in the states. 

Contemporary boutique shopping in Italy was my personal favorite. It’s so interesting to me to see how Italian shop owners curate their stores. I found the perfect little Italian boutique when I was in Rome called “OfficinereD”. The shop owner was extremely helpful navigating us through the store. He also pulled a dressing room for me with his own recommendations. I have to say I normally am not a fan of when a store owner or employee pushes their own ideas, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. The Italians know how to dress. Italians almost never leave the house in their pj’s or sweats like we Americans do from time to time. They have an incredible way of looking so effortlessly put together. 

While there are many fantastic boutiques in Roma, another of my favorite shopping experiences can be found on the more extravagant and vibrant island of Capri. Capri has my heart… who’s surprised? But seriously, shopping in Capri is next level. As I was enjoying my morning cappuccino (or when I needed a more serious pick me up, a double espresso) from our hotel, you could look across the street through the glass doors of none other than Dolce and Gabbana. Needless to say I was in retail heaven. But for now let’s stick with local boutiques, there was one in particular called La Parisienne that was love at first credit card swipe. The stores in Capri were much more eccentric than in Rome. It was refreshing to see all of the colors and beautiful patterns that graced the garments.

If you are going to shop in Italy, I would stick to stores offering local leather goods, and small Italian boutiques. That being said,  it wouldn’t be a true Macey article if I left my “bougie ladies” hanging. If you have the same designer itch that I do, you should scratch it in Italy. I know you have  been eyeing that bag, why not treat yourself on your vacation!  After all, if you buy designer items in Italy they are significantly less costly than in the States. Girl math! You’re basically making money… It would be irresponsible not to buy the bag…right? Right! Fortunately for my boyfriend, he now knows the Prada on Via dei Condotti inside and out! This will really serve him well in his future jet pilot endeavors.  

Oh, and on your shopping sprees, bring your passport and ask each vendor for your tax free refund! At the end of your trip when you head to the airport you will be refunded a portion of what you spent shopping. Again, what a deal! It would be criminal not to take advantage of these savings!