Italy Gift Guide for All-Year Long

November 20th, 2007 · Tags: Italy · Tips

Whether you’re shopping in or outside Italy – coming for a trip to Italy, requesting a gift from Italy, or you’re looking for a gift for an Italy lover outside of Italy, this list should give you some inspiration! You can buy any of the items on this list as Christmas gifts, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa gifts. I’ve also given these as birthday, anniversary or even housewarming gifts, so they’re good for any time of the year!

Pim recently announced the Menu for Hope 4 – last year I offered an Artigianale Basket full of Italian products, and this year I hope to make it even better!

michaellinilly.jpgFREE STUFF! After you read my list, leave a comment by December 1st about what non-perishable gift you’d love from Italy in the comments (even if I’ve already listed it) and I will send one lucky commenter this Illy collector’s tin (full of Illy coffee) designed by Michael Lin!

In the Bathroom

Scents found in soaps and bath gels in a country reflect that culture and their tastes. If anything, it may be something you’ve never smelled before. Nothing says “Italy” like Gianduja (hazelnut chocolate) bath gel!

  • Aquolina- Perhaps my favorite brand of bath soaps, they have some very different scents like lychee (litchi fruit), marzipan, cardamom and blackberry musk, which means the recipient is sure to enjoy a unique-smelling gift. I love the Cannella de Ceylon, cinnamon body wash and their recent “Chocolovers” line is delicious.
  • Pupa – the very playful packaging and lines named “Miss Milkie” and “Polly’s Beauty Farm” make it seem like Pupa is aimed at a younger crowd, but scents like mandorla (almond) or coffee and the fun packages could tickle anyone’s fancy.
  • L’Erbolerio Erboristeria – “A herbalist’s shop” – Based near Milan in Lodi, L’Erbolario carries a bevy of natural products and scents, and these stores are all over Italy.
In Italy

The Pupa and Aquolina brands can be easily found at your local “profumeria” – L’Erbolario has its own stores. I like the Limoni profumeria chain as they usually have a good selection and can be found in most Italian cities. Sephora, one of my favorite beauty stores I grew to love in Paris and then back in California, is also becoming quite popular and has numerous stores all over Italy.

Outside Italy

Some Pupa items are available on Amazon, or Pupa has a list of worldwide distributors you can call or email for info. L’Erbolario has a list of distributors in the world as well as a good selection on Amazon. Amazon also has a selection of Aquolina products, mainly the popular body sprays and perfume from their popular Pink Sugar line.

Santa Maria Novella Farmacia

Well-deserving its own category, the Santa Maria Novella Farmacia is just one of those places you know if you’re in the know. If you like wonderful scents and retro packaging, you’ll love anything from the SMN Farmacia. Considered to be the oldest continuously-running pharmacy in Europe, the ornate insides of their stores are as charming as their products. My favorite scents are Verbena, Mandorla (almond) and Melograno (Pomegranate). Their bars of soap make excellent small gifts and the perfume is great for a special someone. Other favorites are the Acqua di Sicilia, the Rose Water and the foot and hand creams (Crema per le Mani and Pasta di Mandorle), as well as the moisturizers.

In Italy

Visit one of their exclusive locations in Italy. The store in Florence is not only the original site, it’s also the biggest.

| Firenze Via della Scala 16 – Firenze – Italy | Roma Corso del Rinascimento, 47 – 00186 Roma | Milano Corso Magenta, 22 – 20123 Milano |

Out of Italy

Besides eLuxury which sells their products online exclusively to the US market, SMN Farmacia has a list of official commercial agents who you can contact for more information, and addresses of their resellers in London, New York and Los Angeles as well as all of their outlets in Italy.

Kitchen (food)

How could I mention Italy without touching at all on the food, oh the wonderful food! Unfortunately, the best part about Italian food is the freshness and eating it surrounded by wonderful sights and history, and this doesn’t fit well into a suitcase.

But, you may be able to take a little Italy back with you, or at least a taste of it!

  • Menu for Hope Basket – of course I think all of the great items from my Artigianale basket last year were wonderful gifts like the truffle oil and Nduja! This year I’m going to give you another chance to win in December!
  • Chocolate from Modica – People either love or hate this grainy, crystallized chocolate. I love it. I blogged about fair trade Modica chocolate, which is cheaper than the non-fair trade version (go figure) and still delicious. I recommend the cannella (cinnamon), peperoncino (hot pepper), zenzero (ginger) or te’ verde (green tea) varieties.
  • Sott’olio – Vegetables “under oil” (like the eggplant under oil I made in July) are popular gifts and just have to be transported correctly! I wrap mine well in plastic and put them in a box with sturdy sides if I have one. I suggest eggplant, sundried tomatoes, artichokes or hot peppers for great gift ideas.
  • Saffron – some sustain that the quality of saffron in Italy is better than elsewhere, but any cook would welcome a little jar of saffron to make some risotto Milanese.
  • Dried porcini mushrooms – Porcini have their own fans, and bags of dried porcinis can make a lovely dish back home. Some even swear by the porcini-flavored broth cubes Star sells here.
  • Guaranteed classics – Balsamic vinegar, Honey, olive oil, limoncello and cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) are always good gifts, and you never know when you’ll find your new favorite. I also recommend getting a bit different like chestnut or cherry flower honey or peppery-olive oil.
In Italy

Specialty food stores, like Peck in Milan, Castroni in Rome and Eataly in Turin are excellent sources of high quality, limited-production manufacturers. Or stop by an Italian supermarket before you fly out – you’ll find that the prices are not-touristy and you’ll find some interesting brands and products to take back home. Popular supermarket chains include Standa, SMA (pronounced smah), Coop, and Esselunga. Check online or ask for directions to your nearest one and stock up!

Modica chocolate: The fair trade version is sold in Altromercato’s “Bottega del Mondo Altromercato” stores all over Italy, and some in Greece, Malta and Portugal. The classic version of Modica chocolate can be found in specialty food shops and some gelaterias.

Note: Read your country’s custom limitations before planning to stuff your suitcase full of no-nos like buffalo meat and fresh yogurt. Chowhound has a good thread about customs questions being answered by a supposed US Customs agent, but be sure to read official government documentation.

Outside of Italy

Amazon has a varied supply of these Italian gourmet food, including the Casa Don Puglisi chocolate from Modica I tasted in the US in March that was almost identical to the brand I buy here. I found it at Whole Foods, which is another good resource for hard-to-find Italian products in the US, Canada and UK. San Lorenzo food will ship everything from mozzarella di buffala to limoncello within Europe.

Kitchen (Tools and Gadgets)

In Italy

La Rinascente department store has a good selection of household goods and brands, and is present in most of the big cities in Italy like Milano, Roma, Firenze. Their website has an English version, otherwise click on “Gli Store” and you’ll be taken to a list of cities and addresses.

Outside of Italy

Amazon has a good selection of Alessi products and my Kitchen tool lists (click here for part 1 and part 2) have many Italian products sprinkled in. Alessi also has an online shop for USA, UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Williams Sonoma was my first introduction to food porn when I was little, and I love wandering their stores even today – gift an Italian tomato press or Imperia pasta machine for your “serious” cook.

Venice and Venetian glass

For me, Venice has its own section in the gift guide. It’s not only a city, it’s a shopping destination, and I usually make a trek once a year for gift buying. I could (and do) spend days shopping when I’m in Venice, and I always find something unique for everyone on my list.

Venetian Glass
Venetian glass, and more specifically glass from the Murano island, can be beautiful works of art. Recently there has been an influx of “Chinese glass” in Venice being sold as Venetian glass. Unfortunately, there is no good rule-of-thumb about how to tell which is the real Venetian glass, so purchase with care. If you are making a substantial purchase of Murano glass, make sure you see a Vetro Artistico Murano sticker on it.

  • Necklaces – It’s been more than 10 years that I’ve been buying glass necklaces, and I haven’t run out of styles yet. There are types and styles to suit every woman or girl on your list. I’ve become a recent fan of Marina e Susanna Sent necklaces, but unfortunately they have no website. They have two stores in Venice that Google gives you the address for.
  • Glass platesErcole Moretti & Fratelli is my favorite brand of these little display plates. Make sure you find the “M” in the glass before buying one of their products.
  • Glass tree ornaments – these are beautiful and often can be found with their own gift boxes so it makes packing them easier. I prefer the traditional, glass-blown globes.
  • Classics – Wine bottle stoppers, ashtrays, little glass candy or glass pens, you’ll find something for everyone.

Notable: If you are into Carnevale masks, Venice is the place for them.

In Italy

Shopping in Venice is best done by walking around. Almost no two necklaces, vases or statues are alike and deserve a good look. I have my favorites, but I think treatment in Venice is based largely from person-to-person and one person’s rude is another person’s welcome. I do have a suggestion, though. If you’re undecided about something, leave the store, but don’t go far. Get a coffee close to the store, think about your purchase, and then go back if you want it. “Coming back later” are famous last words in Venice and continuously navigating the narrow streets and crowds will suck all desire to come back later, given you can find it in the maze! But when you arrive back home, you’ll be kicking yourself. Stick close by until you’ve decided. Worst case? You have an extra gift to give.

Other than shopping in Venice itself, there are some places you can find Venetian glass in Italy. La Murrina (site appears to work only with IE) is all over Italy and guarantees the quality of the work being shown.

Outside of Italy

This is one thing that I’m not really comfortable recommending purchasing outside of Italy. If you try a site like eBay, there is the risk of finding fake products. Buyer beware.

Clothing

Italy is a high-fashion mecca for many. I am not an expert or specialist since I refuse to spend that much money on clothes. But, I will share a few low-to-mid range favorites that will make a special treat for someone.

  • Purses – My favorite brand is Furla, and they have many stores in Italy as well as throughout the world. Coccinelle (view site in IE) is another great, mid-range Italian brand. Not ready to buy a purse? Consider a wallet, keychain or coin purse.
  • Gloves – Gloves have become very important to me, especially while living in Milan. Madova gloves (in Florence) are well-loved, as well as Sermoneta but there are tons of little glove stores tucked away in every town.
  • Leather jackets – Leather is another buyer beware item in Italy. In Florence you will find beautiful leather and low-quality leather. If you want to buy a jacket in Italy, I would look for a style, color or other unique characteristic to make that jacket a must-buy, and go for it!
  • Scarves – I love, love buying scarves in Italy. Unfortunately, most of the scarves you see in the markets and even in most stores are probably made in India / outside Italy. Shop with care.
In Italy

If you came to Italy for a high-fashion bargain, you’ll probably go away disappointed. Unless 500euro for a T-shirt is a bargain for you, and that means this guide is probably not for you. I wouldn’t bother with the Via Montenapoleone (Milano) or Via dei Condotti (Roma) unless you enjoy window-shopping or have a particular goal in visiting these high-fashion showplaces.

Italy also has outlet centers, the most famous being “the Mall” in Leccio Reggello, outside of Florence, and the McArthur Glen Designer Outlets in Serravalle (northern Italy, Piemonte). Corriere della Sera has a list of malls and outlet centers in Italy, McArthur has links to their outlet centers in Italy.

Out of Italy

Madova gloves have an online catalog and store, Furla and Coccinelle both have several stores outside of Italy.

For the Writer, Blogger, Scribbler, Organizer

Perhaps my favorite category as I’m a big list-maker. When I first came to Italy, I was fascinated by the marbled and fleur de lis paper in Florence. I also bought a blank, leather-bound book to use as a diary. Now I carry a Moleskine around in my purse all day every day, a ready receptacle for my ideas.

  • Florentine paper – Before email, people wrote letters on actual paper to each other. Marbled paper, paper with the fleur de lis, even Botticelli’s Venus decorate the pages of stationery sets found in Florence.
  • Moleskine – A French company until the late 80s, in the past 10 years, an Italian company started manufacturing these characteristic little black notebooks. I’ve already bought my red agenda for 2008 and am using a few of the cahier notebooks for undercover assignments. Their city notebooks also make a good present for a traveler (note: they are not guides) filled with maps and space to take notes and observations about that particular city.
  • Yearly calendars – If the person you’re buying for isn’t ready for a soulful trip into the Moleskine philosophy, check out hundreds of other agendas, many with Italian sayings or influences.
  • Leather-bound diaries and address books – another specialty in Florence, leather-bound books will make a nice present for anyone from the artist to the recipe scribbler.
  • Wine lover’s diary – this is a great idea for the wine lover in your life – a small, palm-sized book where they can write the details of various vintages they sample and their thoughts.
In Italy

The best place to get inspired by Florentine paper is at the San Lorenzo market. Be sure and visit the more specialty paper shops in the area surrounding it for something truly authentic. I don’t have a favorite, and most paper sellers’ websites are horrendous, but there are a few stores in Florence that you can visit and possibly order from online: Signum, Lilium and Parione.

To buy Moleskine and other agendas, the big chain bookstores in Italy will have a good selection – Mondadori and La Feltrinelli both have numerous stores all over Italy.

Out of Italy

I added a few Moleskine models to my eStore, but Amazon has a much larger selection available that can’t be added to an estore. Moleskine also has a list of locations where their notebooks can be found in the world, highlighting Barnes & Noble, Borders, Feltrinelli, FNAC, and Mondadori. Amazon also has a small selection of Florentine paper and products.

Music

I love music, and living in Italy means I can often enjoy free concerts like Festival Bar this summer, and hear the latest “it” songs. Music for me has a way of recalling past emotions and experiences, so even if I don’t love the song, I can often remember an event or feeling I had surrounding it.

Ask for the latest “Compilation” – popular recurring compilations are NOW!, Hit Dance Mania or Festival Bar and have a good mix of English and Italian songs popular in Italy right now. Keep up to date with RadioItalia’s Italian music chart or MTV’s Hitlist Italia chart.

I try to keep my Italian Music page in my estore updated for some great Italian albums – there’s over 40 now!

If I had to buy three albums for an Italian music lover right now:

  • Giorgia on MTV Unplugged – Though some people think she has a bit of an attitude, I think some of it is deserved – she has a soulful voice and is excellent live. Highlights from the CD are: “Infinite Volte,” a poignant love song, or “Gatta sul Tetto” which always makes me dance with its hard bass line.
  • Elisa: Soundtrack 1996-2006 – Though many of her songs are in English, she is firmly in the hearts of the Italian public. I love “Gli Ostacoli del Cuore” as well as her older songs like “Rainbow” which I heard years ago when I discovered her while still in the US.
  • The Best of Nek – I continuously say Nek’s good for beginner Italian learners, and it’s true. He sings pretty clear, and his pop songs are light and enjoyable.
  • BONUS: Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone – though instrumental, Yo-Yo Ma’s interpretation of Ennio Morricone’s classics are moving. I used one of the songs in my wedding (I won’t say which!)

A quick list of some Italian artists to look out for when shopping:
Classics: Luciano Pavarotti, Mina, Eros Ramazotti (albums also in Spanish – most recently has a duet out with Ricky Martin “Non siamo Soli”), Pino Daniele, Vasco Rossi, Laura Pausini (albums also in Spanish), Andrea Boccelli, Irene Grandi, Gigi d’Alessio, Elisa.

“Newer” talents: Nek, Neffa, Negramaro, Tiziano Ferro, Francesco Renga (after winning Sanremo in 2005, he’s more popular), Finley.

Not Italian, but….
Brazilian Girls is a great mix of lounge and funky electronic music where the lead singer intermingles her amazing 5 languages with innovative beats. Born in Rome, she sings at least one song in Italian, “Lazy Lover.”

In Italy

La Feltrinelli and Mondadori are good places to buy books as well as music – Messaggerie Musicali stores used to be separate stores, but they’ve been acquired by Mondadori, so the sign may remain, but they are the same store.

Out of Italy

Check my Italian Music page in my estore for some albums.

Movies for the Italy Lover

Movies are just as moving as music.

Again, my estore is full of Italian movies, so go there and check it out.

If I had to buy three movies for Italy lovers, I would buy:

  • La Vita e’ Bella – Life is Beautiful – though I feel biased since part of this movie was shot in the town I studied in, in Tuscany, it is a beautiful and moving film. Leave the Italian and put on English subtitles.
  • Under the Tuscan Sun – though it’s a bit of a “americanata” – meaning Hollywood put its hands into this film a little too much, you are guaranteed some lovely visuals and moments for the Italy lover. Filmed in Cortona, near where I studied.
  • Il Postino – that the lead star, Massimo Troisi, died shortly after filming stopped lends a certain nostaglia to the film before you start it, but it paints a wonderful picture of Procida and the ordinary beauty of daily life.
  • BONUS: Only You or Stealing Beauty: – though neither of these films are cinematic masterpieces, the scenes and places from the films will definitely invoke a reaction for any Italy lover.


My eStore has quite a few Italian or Italy-inspired films!

In Italy

I don’t really recommend buying films in Italy unless you’re sure your DVD player can play them. Music, movies and books are found at Mondadori and La Feltrinelli.

Other honorable mentions for Italy lover gifts

I could go on and on about gift ideas. In fact, I’ve gone on too long already. Here are some other ideas that I may cover in more depth later.

  • Ceramics
  • Antique maps
  • Calendars
  • Anything Ferrari, Ducati, or Lamborghini

I have added a lot of things to my Amazon store in case you’re looking for inspiration!

FREE STUFF! Remember, now leave a comment by December 1st about what non-perishable gift you’d love from Italy in the comments (even if I’ve already listed it) and I will send one lucky commenter this Illy caffe’ collector’s tin designed by Michael Lin!

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45 Comments

45 responses so far ↓

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  • 1
    Steve Madsen // Nov 20, 2007 at 8:37 am

    A shiny new Ducati 1098 under the Tree this Christmas for me.

  • 2
    David // Nov 20, 2007 at 8:55 am

    You forgot to mention that fabulous Pucci shirt I tried on last year in Florence that made me look like a million bucks…and cost almost as much.

    (Believe me, it was painful putting it back on the shelf.)

  • 3
    Ashley // Nov 20, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Whenever we go back to Italy for vacation, we always try to bring back canned tuna. There is nothing like Rio Mare canned tuna to put on top of crackers, add to a basic tomato sauce to go over pasta, etc. – other brands just will not do. The American version of tuna in olive oil can not even compare. We always get laughs at the local grocery store when we buy their entire inventory before our trip home. Then you just have to make it last until the next vacation!

  • 4
    Murano Jewellery // Nov 20, 2007 at 10:22 am

    I’m going back to Venice in January. We love visiting Murano, it’s so laid back. The further you walk on Murano the less touristy it becomes.

  • 5
    Emma // Nov 20, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Wow! What a list…
    My addition would be Cinema Paradiso on DVD. It’s my absolute all-time favourite Italian film, beautifully made, very authentic and guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of even the most hard-core viewer.

  • 6
    Michele // Nov 20, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks for this post, it’s wonderful, and brings back lovely memories of Italy.
    My husband, who is Italian, and I visited Italy 15 years ago, and purchased an Alessi cafeteira which lasted until recently. It made terrific espresso.
    I would request a new Alessi, as well as any type of Murano glass object which I love.

  • 7
    Lori // Nov 20, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Ashley-I would love to get my hands on that tuna also!
    I would like to find a great cornmeal to make my polenta.
    I did find a nice Italian flag for my honey. He tried to find one when he was in Italy visiting his family. I found one on the web and he will get it for Christmas.

  • 8
    nyc/caribbean ragazza // Nov 20, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    This list is very timely. I was trying to think of what to get a friend from Italian class who is moving to Florence next year. The wine diary is a fantastic idea, can we stop by a Feltrinelli in Milan?

  • 9
    k // Nov 20, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Great list! (What a thorough researcher you are)! I love espresso (illy, lavazza, etc), espresso makers, olive oil, pesto, duplo chocolates (sorry, both perishable), cake mixes, cookbooks, any book for that matter, old photos and postcards. street art. oh, and magazines. :o)

    here is a forum dedicated to movies set in italy. VERY comprehensive!
    http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/862600685/m/5981046752

  • 10
    Kristina // Nov 20, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    I love those Moleskine books! Would love one for myself, but just bought one for Rome for my friend to use when we are there in March.

  • 11
    Kate // Nov 21, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    All of the above, yes please! We were just in Italy in September and I wish I would have bought a few more yummy culinary delights to bring home. I did buy my husband a Moka maker for christmas because he became addicted to the one in our villa!
    What a fun post. Thanks!

  • 12
    Janice // Nov 22, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Marvis toothpaste – the best; kitchen towels with Italian recipes from Sermoneta in Rome; honey infused with white truffle oil-perfect served with Pecorino di Pienza-I purchased a jar at the market in Florence

  • 13
    Barbara // Nov 22, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    I would love to find a vintage Vespa, in full functioning order of course, under my tree! However, if that is no possible, I would be most happy with a yummy pandoro.

  • 14
    my melange // Nov 22, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    What a great list! I would love anything from Santa Maria Novella or Limoni. Visited both when in Florence. I am a girle girl- so I could get lost in places like that for hours. I picked up some Lobello lip balm and Aquolina Pink Sugar perfume in Limoni and everybody at work said I was making them hungry for cookies!! I also love olivewood, large Venetian glass mosaic pendants, marble paper and Florentine paper greeting cards! I could go on and on……

    Oh, isn’t a one way ticket Italy non-perishable??? Thats really what I want then ;)

  • 15
    Jay // Nov 23, 2007 at 5:49 am

    How about ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’

  • 16
    StickyGooeyCreamyChewy // Nov 24, 2007 at 12:28 am

    One of my favorites is the Latte por il Corpo from Santa Maria Novella. I also love all of the L’Erborerio Erboristeria products. When I was in Bellagio several years ago, my hotel had the bathroom stocked with them. I totally hoarded them! I’ve never seen them in the States.

  • 17
    Pasticciera // Nov 24, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Fantastic read as usual. I would love to try some of the Santa Maria Novella products. I was interested in them to begin with and then reading Sticky gooeycreammy chewy’s endorsement, I really must try something especially for the hands.

  • 18
    Shannon // Nov 24, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    This is a great post, thanks! I’m living in Florence now it’s time to start thinking what I should be bringing back to the states. From Santa Maria Novella, my must-buy is the potpourri in a silk bag. Their men’s soap scented with potpourri is great for both men and women. The biscotti di Prato from Antonio Mattei (in a blue paper bag and check the expiry date for freshness before buying) are delicious and travel well. Pecorino di Pienza or Fiore Sardo are hard cheeses that will go through customs. I often take home a bunch of Happydent chewing gum (don’t laugh!) because those plastic and foil gum packages in the states drive me crazy. Coffee beans from Tazza d’Oro in Roma or Quarta Caffe in Lecce. And calcio team jerseys make great gifts for kids. My niece will be recieving Fiorentina this year, as purple is her favorite color.

  • 19
    Steamy Kitchen // Nov 25, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    moleskin! I have never owned one – but so many people rave, obsess over theirs that I would love one for Xmas this year.

    xoxo,jaden

  • 20
    betty b // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    I discovered a very interesting real italian hat maker in Florence–Del Moro Cappelli atLungarno Delle Grazie, 18N – 50122 Firenze. Her number is 055 2346523>

    Her Hats are made in the workshop right there and they are fantastic– This type of craftmanship needs to be supported!

  • 21
    Beatriz // Nov 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    What a list! Thank you, you mentioned so many of my favorites! I also did not know about many others. If I could take an original fiat 500 with me, I would. Additionally where I live (Varese province, Lombardia) they make these delicious “brutti e buoni” (ugly but good) almond cookies that would also make a nice gift -a little delicate perhaps.

  • 22
    Andrea // Nov 27, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Hi – Great information! I would love something from Il Papiro in Florence. Their cards, paper and any of their products are just lovely.

  • 23
    babycakes // Nov 27, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    I just love Florentine paper !!!
    and thanks for making me discover Brazilian Girls and more particularly Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone

  • 24
    lorraine rose // Nov 27, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    i would love someday to bite into that ginger chocolate!!

  • 25
    lieludalis // Nov 27, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    This is a fabulous post! Thank you!
    I had a running list of stuff to get (for myself and others) before I left Italy. So much of what you mentioned is on my list. We did some combination stuff. We got our Moka at Alessi. I also got a Florentine covered photo album to display all my photos from Italy.

    I JUST discovered a place here in Brussels that sells the Santa Maria Novella Farmacia line! I’m sad that I didn’t get hooked on it before I left!

    Unfortunately, several great things that are excellent gifts (wine, olive oil, lemoncello) are also VERY heavy to take home. People often forget that!!

    (sigh) I already miss Italy (sigh)

  • 26
    Jenn // Nov 28, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    What an amazing list! Thanks for all your hard work in compling it. I loved reading the list because it brought back memories of our trip on ’06. I would love many things from the list: gloves from florence, anything from the Artigianale basket, or something from the Guaranteed classics on the food list. Ah – I long to come to Italy for a visit.

  • 27
    no name slob // Nov 29, 2007 at 12:44 am

    I’ve only just discovered your site, but I’m living in Rome now and I love all of these suggestions! I’m a huge fan of espresso cups and coffee itself as gifts. My very favorite coffee to give (and drink) is Rome’s own Tazza d’Oro beans (I must have given away some 10 kilos of this marvelous stuff over the years, and it’s ALWAYS a hit). As for cups, I like to buy the signature cups of the local cafes, as they’re usually hard to find outside of Italy. They’re also usually rather overpriced, but I think it’s worth it. The sets I own myself are from Tazza d’Oro (of course!), Castroni, and Sant’Eustachio.

    I also covet the coffee-brand cups that restaurants and bars use (Lavazza, Miani, etc.), but I believe most are provided by the coffee suppliers and therefore hard for the average person to get his or her hands on…I recall seeing some at Piazza Navona’s Christmas fair last year, though, and I’m hoping to find some this year!

  • 28
    Darla // Nov 29, 2007 at 3:46 am

    All the gifts sound great. I’d opt for the honey right now. Just finished reading “One Thousand Days in Venice” and I want to drizzle some honey over cheese and have a little treat.

    Darla

  • 29
    Anna L'americana // Nov 29, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    In the real world – Music: add Lucio Dalla & Francesco DiGregori, and of course, Claudio Baglioni for nostalgia, Antonello Venditti for contemporary Roman. Movies: Caro Diario – says alot about Italian way of life, and the Vespa shots of Garbatella and the Aventino are priceless. In the food category, chestnut flour (don’t know if that will export) so we can make today’s brownies (how’s that for combining contests?) and Gianduia!!! How can you not include that? Total guilty pleasure!

    In my dreams? Definitely a Fiat 500 – my favourite car ever (I’ve had two over my lifetime); After Eight gelato from the place around the corner from the Pantheon, Rosette!!!! Why can’t we get these anywhere else in the world? And a Prosciutto crudo (the whole leg on the wooden slicing rack)……..No mom, please don’t wake me up now!!!!!!!!

  • 30
    Susan from Food Blogga // Nov 29, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Hmmm… leather jacket or olive oil? Let me thin– OKAY, who am I kidding–OLIVE OIL!

    I go to an Italian market in Little Italy where I purchase imported Italian olive oil. Then when I get home and enjoy dunking my Italian bread in it, I ooh and aah. A lot. I love my olive oil.

  • 31
    Chrissie // Nov 29, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    I think I hate you for making me LUST over things.

    But such fun!
    What I’d add to the list of food stuff is (what I consistently bring back) flavored oil (I love the hot pepper oil that cost about 2 euros in Roma and about $15 here…), and salt. I have my last jar of salamoia bolognese and I’m trying to recreate the herb/oil/salt proportions. Sigh.
    Salamoia is very hard to find….

    And about the movies: The Talented Mr. Ripley is INDEED wonderful scenery, but what a creepy movie…..

  • 32
    Steve // Nov 29, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    The his/her moka with the small platform that holds the cups while the coffee brews directly into them.

  • 33
    Monkling // Dec 1, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    As strange as this is going to sound, the first thing that comes to mind of what I’d want from Italy is an Italian calendar. (Probably falsely thinking it’ll help me remember the days & months without too much effort.)

    Then there was this super thick hot chocolate we had when we were in Rome. It was made from a mix but I have no idea what it was, only that it was the absolute best hot chocolate I ever had.

  • 34
    Jennifer // Nov 3, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Oh… the pandoro…. and I’d get a Bialetti Mukka, and then search for some good porcini, and espresso cups. And perhaps a chitarra for homemade pasta.

  • 35
    unlucky // Nov 13, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    i was walking along corso magenta in milan to find santa maria novella but couldn’t. is it still there or closed?

  • 36
    Joan Isaacson // Jan 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I so enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about Italy and the gastranomic delights. We have been to Italy a few times, visiting Tuscany and Rome. We are going again in April……….this time to the southern part, including Sicily.
    We will be visiting family in Campania and am wondering if you can give me some suggestions as to what gifts I might bring them from the USA.

  • 37
    Carla // Aug 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Hi, your friend Jessica recommended this site. And what a brilliant site it is. I am buying a large amount of Murano beads because I make my own jewellery but I have no idea what price I should be paying. I am also looking for Venetian masks as I collect masks. Any help would be gratefully received. Thanks

  • 38
    Maureen // Aug 30, 2009 at 12:46 am

    As I am heading to Italy in Oct., for the first time, this list will make my souvenir shopping list so very easy.
    Thanks so much for all this great info.

  • 39
    Melissa // Nov 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    This is an amazing list, I have never been to Italy, but am wanting to go someday (hopefully sooner than later). I think any of the paper products or stained glass would be amazing to have. I am going to bookmark this page because of all the links! Thank you for putting this together!

  • 40
    Marcy@JustCrumbs... // Nov 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    There are so many amazing gifts, it is hard as a tourist to just pick a couple to take home, I usually want them all! The best gifts are the memories that you have created and then share with others.

  • 41
    cleveland schools // Apr 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I accidentally came across Italy Gift Guide for All-Year Long — Ms. Adventures in Italy while I was googling Atomic Kitsch looking for ideas for a new blog I am doing. I went through the whole site and then I saw the link to you from your old blog. Pretty cool stuff here. Thanks!

  • 42
    Cha // Oct 28, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Thanks for the advice :)

    What i would love to bring home from italy is their murano figurines :)

  • 43
    Sarah // Dec 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Wow, what a fantastic and THOROUGH list :) I also always bring back a Moka Pot and I LOVE the Alessi kitchen products! Of course, food, wine and olive oil are wonderful gifts but I’m just now starting to discover gifts beyond my stomach…
    Grazie!

  • 44
    Mandy {KitchenJoy} // Mar 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Sara, your site is superb. I have spent nearly my entire morning hopping from one post to the next in utter glee. I am moving to Northern Italy in just a few weeks, and you’ve gotten me so excited that somehow the stress of the move has melted away for the moment. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful finds, and excellent insight.

  • 45
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Mar 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    @Mandy – great! Thanks for stopping by :) I hope your move goes smoothly to Italy!

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