Apart from the great weather, the fantastic and delicious foods, the Etna and the wines, shopping is also a great reason to visit Sicily. So in this post let us focus on the places places on the island to go shopping and the best items to buy.
One of the most enjoyable places to shop is the town of Taormina, where there are small streets lined with stylish shops – selling everything from art, antiques, china and glassware, jewelry, food, gifts and ice-cream. This hill top village tends to be very popular with tourists and also locals alike.
The main cities of Catania and Palermo are also reasonably good places for shopping. If in Catania, take a trip to the local fish market and the outdoor market nearby. Also, it is possible to find a wide variety of handicrafts: ceramics made in the renewed towns of Caltagirone and Santo Stefano di Camastra; sculptures made of volcanic stone; laces; the famous “pupi”, puppets used in the traditional puppet theatre and much more. You can purchase these items directly in the villages where they are made, or you can buy them in shops specialized in Sicilian handicrafts in the cities of Catania and Palermo.
You can also purchase any kind of food delicacy, from different kinds of cheese, wine, liqueurs and olive oil, to typical desserts and preserves of various local vegetables (sun dried tomatoes, aubergines and olives.
If you are patient then it can be worth waiting for the sales which take place after Christmas. Visiting Catania or Palermo from around January 10th through to mid February can be a very good time for shopping for items such as clothes. Different stores will have different sales dates but mid January to mid February is usually the best time, with prices often 40 – 50% off some of the main labels.
Italy’s jewelry industry started over 3,000 years ago with the Etruscan civilization and since then, it has grown into one of the most well-respected and innovative jewelry markets in the world. Italian brands are known for their style and high quality products, and it is no different in the jewelry industry than it is in any of the country’s other well-respected sectors such as car manufacturing and fashion.
One of Italy’s most famous brands is Bulgar, also known as BVLGARI, who produces some of the country’s most innovative handbags, watches and other forms of jewelry. Combining jewels with high quality craftsmanship, Bulgari’s products are much sought after and their price tag reflects the demand for the bespoke items.
Another leader in Italy’s jewellery sector is the Damiani Group, who have won numerous diamond awards – the jewellery world’s equivalent of the Oscars. Their products are often seen on film stars all over the world when they are walking on the red carpet, giving them a form of celebrity kudos. Famous names that have worn their products include Sophie Loren and Jennifer Aniston.
Many women loves gold and diamonds and as such, Italy’s goldsmiths are of the highest quality with brands such as Favero, known for their elaborate designs. Favero, in particular, mixes 18 carat gold with the world’s finest diamonds and gems creating stunning beautiful rings and necklaces. Unoaerre also produces and exports gold jewelry, but their designs are known for being created using traditional manufacturing methods.
With some of the finest leather and craftsmen in the world, Italian shoes are coveted among fashion aficionados and are said to be amongst the finest in the world. It is not a massive surprise, especially considering the large number of fashion houses in Italy, but how did the country become the home of quality foot-ware?
It is a combination of several factors really, not only are the designers among the finest in the world, but the quality of the material is also among the highest. Italy is famed for its leather production and as such, the likes of boots and brogues are of the best possible quality and style.
Italian shoemakers also adhere to traditional methods when it comes to making their wares. Jobs such as tanning are still done as they were done centuries ago, and materials are still hand sewn to ensure the best quality. In many ways this has undermined the Italian shoe industry due to cheaper, more mass produced products being favoured by the general consumer, but it has also made Italian shoes more desirable and sought-after.
Italian shoe makers have also been able to use the internet to combat the threat of cheaper shoes, selling their products all around the world and catering for a market that might not be able to regularly visit the likes of Rome, Milan and Florence . If you are a connoisseur of shoes, having ‘made in Italy’ embossed on them, shows the amount of care and effort that has gone into making them.