shopping italy street markets

Shopping at Street Markets in Italy

Over the many years of planning custom Italy itineraries for clients, we’ve realized that travelers often have misconceptions about shopping Italy street markets. Many imagine a souk-like maze of stands that sell a bit of everything for one-stop art, clothing, souvenir, and food shopping…and all of it produced locally. Most Italian markets, however, are rather small and focused on one or two specific types of goods, often of dubious quality. 

how to shop at italian street markets

A recent client wanted to allocate four hours in her itinerary one afternoon to “do some street market shopping” and sent along a list of items she wanted to purchase that included shoes, belts, glass, ceramics, souvenirs, t-shirts, watercolor paintings of main sights, scarves, and postcards. After we had a conversation about Italian street markets, she realized that this wasn’t the best strategy to get through her list. We suggested that she hire a personal shopper for a couple of hours to check off her list, and then spend time browsing a local street market without a list of must-haves.

Italian street market shopping

If you think you’d like to try your hand at shopping at street markets in Italy, here are eight things to know before you go: 

Florence street markets
Italian street market tips
shopping at italy's street markets
Rome street market shopping

None of this is to dissuade you from shopping at stress markets in Italy. These buzzy hubs of commerce and gossip are a great way to plunge into the local culture and try out a few words of Italian, so do stop to browse when you come across a mercato. Just make sure your expectations and schedule match the reality!

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