What to Buy in Italy: Best Souvenirs to Bring Home

What to Buy in Italy: Best Souvenirs to Bring Back Home

Buongiorno, treasure seekers! Are you wondering what to buy in Italy during your enchanting journey? You’ve landed in the right place.

Dive into this guide as we discover the most captivating souvenirs from Italy and learn what to buy to keep a piece of this enchanting country forever with you.

Quick Picks: Essential Souvenirs to Bring Back from Italy

If you’re pressed for time but still want to grasp the essence of Italian souvenirs, this section is for you.

Below is your quick list of top picks of traditional Italian items that will give you a taste of the country’s celebrated craftsmanship and heritage.

We’ll explore each category of things to buy and the specific regional specialties further in the article.

Quick List of Top Italian Souvenirs

  • Food and Drinks:
    • Olive Oil 
    • Balsamic Vinegar
    • Artisanal Pasta
    • Limoncello
    • Italian Wine
  • Fashion and Accessories:
    • Leather Goods
    • Designer Clothing
    • Italian Shoes
  • Artisanal Crafts and Decor:
    • Handmade Ceramics
    • Venetian Glass
  • Cultural Keepsakes:
    • Venetian Masks 
    • Italian Cornicello 
    • Stationery
    • Music Boxes

When you return from your trip to Italy, you should have no trouble transporting most of these Italian souvenirs in your checked luggage.

When buying Italian souvenirs, ensure they are authentic and preferably handmade, as this also supports the local artisans. 

Italian Specialty Foods and Drinks

Your taste buds are in for a treat with the country’s culinary delights. From the finest wines to the richest chocolates, every region offers something unique that’s waiting to be discovered by food enthusiasts like you.

Gourmet Food Souvenirs from Italy

best Italian olive oil brands
  • Olive Oil: Italian extra virgin olive oil is a staple in any foodie’s pantry. When shopping in Italy, choose oils from regions known for their olives, such as Tuscany, Puglia, Liguria, Umbria, or Sicily.
  • Balsamic Vinegar from Modena: Authentic balsamic vinegar, especially from Modena, is a sweet and tangy addition to any pantry. Opt for aged varieties for a truly luxurious taste.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese: Italy has a vast cheese assortment, but Parmigiano Reggiano should top your list. Look for the DOP label, which signifies its authenticity, to ensure you get the real deal.
  • Cured Meats: Prosciutto, salami, and other cured meats reflect the country’s mastery of charcuterie. They make for delicious souvenirs or ingredients for your homemade Italian dishes.
  • Artisanal Italian Pasta: Crafted using traditional methods and local ingredients, Italian pasta offers an authentic taste of the nation’s culinary artistry, making it a perfect souvenir for any food enthusiast.
  • Truffle Products: Whether it’s truffle oil or preserved truffles, these earthy delicacies are a must for lovers of gourmet Italian flavors.

Best Quality Italian Wine

Vino Italiano (what to buy in Italy)

Italian vineyards produce some of the most renowned wines globally. When exploring Tuscany, you’ll want to look for bottles of Chianti, a classic and quintessential choice.

Beyond Tuscany’s famous Chianti, consider other wine regions such as Piedmont for its robust Barolo and Barbaresco wines, Veneto for the delightful sparkling Prosecco, and Sicily for the rich flavors of Nero d’Avola.

Each region offers unique tastes that showcase the diversity of Italy’s winemaking heritage.

Limoncello: A Must-Buy in Italy

What to buy in Italy: traditional Italian Limoncello

This lemony liqueur is a must-buy in Italy, particularly from the Amalfi Coast, where the finest lemons are cultivated.

When selecting Limoncello, look for bottles that specify natural ingredients without artificial flavors or colors. Opt for traditionally crafted versions to have a genuine taste of the region.

Additionally, the higher the quality of the alcohol base, the smoother the Limoncello will be.

Limoncello offers a delightful sip of Italian sunshine and makes a great gift from Italy, perfect for sharing a taste of your travels with friends and family.

Sweets and Treats

  • Chocolate: Take home the finest Italian chocolate, such as those from Perugia or Turin, which reflects Italy’s rich tradition in confectionery. Look for artisanal brands for a pure taste of Italian craft.
  • Sweets: Traditional sweets like Italian biscotti or taralli can be found in bakeries throughout Italy. These sweet treats are perfect for an edible souvenir.

Suggested Read: 10 Most Popular Italian Traditional Desserts

Fashion and Accessories

You’re in the epicenter of high fashion and exquisite craftsmanship in Italy. Expect to find an unparalleled selection of leather goods, designer clothing, and stylish footwear that’s both sophisticated and durable. Here’s where to start:

Italian Leather Goods

Italian leather market in Florence
Must-do in Florence: shopping at a leather market

The leather industry in Italy is world-renowned, and for a good reason. When you’re looking for the best in leather goods, be sure to check out places known for fine handbags, wallets, and belts.

Designer Clothing

For the fashion aficionado, Italian designer clothing is akin to wearable art. Scour the boutiques of Milan or Rome for statement pieces by the best Italian fashion designers and brands.  

These pieces hold their value for years and convey a sense of timelessness appropriate for any high-fashion wardrobe.

  • Women’s Fashion: Elegant dresses, tailored suits, and stunning evening wear.
  • Men’s Fashion: From sharp Italian suits to casual yet sophisticated sportswear.

Footwear Essentials

Italian shoe brands are famed for their design and durability. In cities like Florence and Rome, you will find many shops boasting a selection of footwear from high-end brands to artisanal cobblers.

  • Women’s Shoes: Heels by Valentino or ballet flats for elegance and comfort.
  • Men’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo loafers or brogues for a polished look.

Artisanal Crafts and Decor

In Italy, purchasing handcrafted treasures offers more than mere possession; it’s an investment in artistry and tradition. 

Ceramic and Glass Artistry

What to buy in Italy: handmade ceramics

Italy is renowned for its exquisite ceramic and glass art, particularly from regions famed for these crafts.

Ceramics: Look for artisanal ceramic pieces in the vibrant shops of Tuscany or Umbria. You’ll discover everything from ornately painted plates to rustic terracotta pots, sold at different price ranges.

Murano glass, known for its exceptional quality and vibrant colors, is a prestigious choice that reflects the pinnacle of glass-blowing skill. When visiting Venice, consider securing a piece of this luminous artwork as a stunning focal point in your home.

Home and Lifestyle

Bringing Italian elegance into your home goes beyond décor. It’s about cultivating a lifestyle infused with beauty and refinement.

  • Home Decor: Incorporate a touch of Italian luxury with handcrafted home decor items. Look for unique porcelain figurines, or acquire delicate Burano Lace for an elegant table setting.
  • Classic Italian Moka Pot: Embrace the essence of Italian coffee culture with a classic Moka Pot, the traditional Italian way to brew rich, espresso-like coffee at home. Choose from sleek stainless steel or charming aluminum models to suit your kitchen aesthetic.

Souvenir and Memorabilia

When visiting Italy, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire a variety of unique souvenirs and memorabilia that encapsulate the country’s rich culture and fashion.

These items serve as mementos and reflect Italy’s artistic heritage and meticulous craftsmanship.

Venetian Masks

A selection of Venetian masks in a store in Venice
A selection of Venetian masks in a store in Venice

Venetian masks are a must-buy, quintessential symbol of Venice’s cultural history. These intricately designed pieces come in various shapes and sizes, from elaborate full-face masks to more subtle eye masks.

They are adorned with feathers, gold leaf, and gemstones, making each a distinct work of art.

  • Where to find: Venture into the boutiques clustered around Venice’s main square, Piazza San Marco, and the Rialto Bridge area.
  • Tip: Look for handmade masks that local artisans have crafted for authentic keepsakes.

Fridge Magnets and Collectibles

Fridge magnet from Positano, Amalfi Coast

If you’re looking for smaller mementos to remember your Italian trip or gifts to take home, fridge magnets depicting famous Italian landmarks are always popular and easy to find.

Collectibles such as miniatures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or Roman Colosseum can also serve as charming reminders of your Italian adventure.

  • Variety: Look for magnets featuring classic Italian icons, including the Colosseum, gondolas, or favorite Italian dishes.
  • Places to find: Souvenir shops throughout the country, especially in tourist hotspots, will have various playful collectibles.

Stationery

Florence is renowned for its exquisite paper and stationery, reflecting centuries of artisan craftsmanship.

Seek out items that use traditional Florentine techniques like marbling and gold leaf detailing, perfect for those who appreciate the art of writing and elegant designs.

Italian Cornicello

The Italian cornicello, a small horn-shaped amulet, is deeply rooted in Italian folklore as a symbol of protection and good luck.

Typically made from red coral or gold, these amulets are found throughout Italy, particularly in Naples. Choose authentic, handcrafted pieces to ensure quality and cultural authenticity.

Music Boxes

In Sorrento, music boxes are meticulously handcrafted from local woods, often inlaid with intricate designs.

Look for boxes that play classic Italian tunes to capture the essence of the country’s musical heritage—a charming and melodious keepsake.

Regional Delights and Specialty Products

Now that we’ve explored what to buy in Italy let’s delve into a helpful summary by geographical region.

This way, you can tailor your purchasing decisions based on the areas you plan to visit. Each offers unique products that epitomize the best of Italian tradition and craftsmanship.

Tuscan Treasures

Shopping on Ponte Vecchio: the quintessential Italian shopping experience.
Shopping on Ponte Vecchio: the quintessential Italian shopping experience

In Tuscany, a region rich with artisanal goods and gourmet products, Florence stands out for its exceptional leatherwork. Consider a handcrafted leather bag or wallet as the perfect Italian souvenir from this city.

Additionally, Tuscany is celebrated for its Chianti wines—make sure to pick up a bottle directly from a local vineyard. For a quintessential Italian shopping experience in Florence, visit the iconic specialty shops along Ponte Vecchio.

Roman Finds

While visiting Rome, you’ll encounter a wealth of culinary delights and historical replicas. Essential purchases include artisanal pasta and Italian extra-virgin olive oil.

For a tangible piece of history, consider choosing a replica of a Roman statue, a miniature of the iconic Colosseum, or a hand-painted ceramic piece, each embodying the city’s rich heritage.

Venetian Crafts

Souvenir shop in Venice
A souvenir shop in Venice

Venice is renowned for its exquisite glasswork. On the Venetian island of Murano, skilled artisans craft stunning pieces, from jewelry to decorative vases. These creations, known as Murano glass, make for a unique gift.

Don’t miss out on the intricate lacework from the island of Burano, another Venetian island where this delicate craft thrives.

As mentioned earlier, Venetian masks are considered among the best Italian souvenirs. They are famous for their intricate designs and historical significance in Venetian culture.

Umbrian Gifts

With its charming towns like Perugia, Umbria is the place to acquire fine textiles and ceramics.

Umbrian linen is prized for its quality—consider bringing home tablecloths or napkins. The region’s ceramics, often hand-painted with intricate designs, make beautiful and practical souvenirs.

Southern Italy Specialties

In places like Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, you can find vividly painted ceramics and lemon-infused products such as limoncello, a sweet lemon liqueur perfect for savoring the taste of the Mediterranean.

When visiting Sicily, explore the bustling markets for unique souvenirs such as Marsala wine, intricately crafted marzipan fruits, items made from Etna lava stones, and traditional puppet theater figurines. Each embodies the island’s rich cultural and geological heritage.

Tips for Shopping in Italy

Here are some tips for shopping in Italy: Explore local markets, consider shipping logistics for your purchases, and look for items with the “Made in Italy” label, a hallmark of quality recognized globally.

Navigating Local Markets

A local food market in Palermo
A local food market in Palermo, Sicily

Local markets are some of the best places to buy souvenirs, offering a distinct taste of regional specialties and local craftsmanship.

As you wander through these vibrant bazaars, carry cash, as many vendors do not accept cards. Be ready to haggle, especially in open-air markets, but do so respectfully; it’s part of the experience.

Markets typically operate in the morning, so plan to start your day early.

  • When to shop: Mornings for the best selection.
  • Payment tip: Carry Euros in cash for easier transactions.

Understanding Shipping Options

If you’re considering shipping items home, explore shipping options early in your trip. The weight and size of your purchase will influence the cost.

For heavy or large items, inquire about international shipping services directly from the seller—many offer this service and may negotiate on customs fees.

Shipping checklist:

  • Weight of item(s)
  • Size and fragility
  • Costs (including potential taxes and customs fees)
  • Tracking services
  • VAT refund calculator (to get a refund on some of that tax-free shopping if you’re not a European Union citizen)

Shipping costs can be high, so include this in your budget for substantial purchases. For peace of mind, consider adding transportation insurance.

Things to Buy in Italy FAQ

Treasure hunting at an Italian market
Treasure hunting at an Italian market

In this section, you’ll find curated answers to common queries about the unique and quality items you can purchase while traveling through Italy, ensuring you bring back the perfect mementos and gifts.

What are some of the best souvenirs from Italy for travelers to bring home?

Souvenir shops in Italy offer a vast array of items. Popular Italian souvenirs include artisanal leather goods, Murano glass, local wines like Chianti, traditional ceramics, extra virgin olive oil, and handcrafted marzipan sweets.

What luxury items are worth purchasing while visiting Italy?

Luxury seekers will marvel at Italy’s world-renowned leather goods and high-end fashion pieces. A visit to Milan, the fashion capital, may yield designer clothing and accessories that are both timeless and cutting-edge.

Which Italian food products should tourists buy from local supermarkets?

Don’t miss the chance to buy authentic Italian olive oil and traditional balsamic vinegar directly from local producers. These staples of Italian cuisine offer a taste of the country’s culinary soul to savor back home.

Which small and unique Italian items make the best gifts for friends and family?

During your time in Italy, consider purchasing handcrafted stationery from Florence or artisanal soaps and fragrances that embody the nation’s natural beauty and artisan skill for thoughtful and distinctive gifts.

What are the best-selling products unique to Italy that make great souvenirs?

Italy is a treasure trove of unique products, from Murano glass creations to lesser-known regional wines. These artifacts reflect the history and culture of their locales, making them ideal souvenirs to remember your trip by.

Before You Go…

Eager to find more enchanting Italian treasures? Dive into our guide, 75 Italian Gifts for Italy Lovers, and discover the perfect items to capture the spirit of Italy.

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