I love to shop in the U.S. In Italy, not always so much.
My survival Italian is not great. If I have something really specific in mind, it is hard for me to get my point across.
I seem to manage to keep shopping though! : )
One of the places I really like to shop is not a clothing store or even a store in downtown Vicenza. My favorite place to shop is a store called Viridea in Torri Di Quartesolo.
From the outside, Viridea looks like a typical plant nursery. It has beautifully landscaped ground that you can wander when it is warm outside. There is much more to the store than this.
Inside the store you will find a great variety of things. Part pet store and part craft store with a dash of flower store thrown in, you can buy everything from live rabbits to lawn furniture to Christmas lights.
Viridea always has seasonal events. Santa is there at Christmas, along with a nativity scene. Easter is also a big event.
Viridea is not far from the Pyramidi Mall. Just take the round-about in front of the mall to the Camisano Vicentino exit and Viridea is off to the right side of the road on Via Paolo Borsellino.
Visit the website here.
Don’t miss this store once you get to Vicenza!
If you take the Benvenuti Class through ACS, you will most definitely meet the Chicken Man.
Who is this Chicken Man? Why do we want to visit him?
The chicken man is a furniture maker. He owns a shop in Rossano that makes some of the most amazing furniture. You can walk through his warehouse and pick out a piece to buy. If you want something handmade, he can do that.
Purchase unfinished pieces and have them finished to your liking. Everything is high quality and beautiful. Definitely worth the drive!
Chicken Man’s real name is Eredi Bizzotto Silvano and he has a website, if you’d like to visit.
Why is he called the Chicken Man?
We asked him this during our Benvenuti visit. The story was not as exciting as I’d hoped. During the early years of his business, his yard was full of chickens. They roamed freely, so someone came up with the nickname Chicken Man and it stuck. It has nothing to do with his business, but it is pretty catchy and hard to forget.
Here are some of the amazing pieces he made!
An unfinished bar.
It is pretty obvious in the pictures that there are so many pieces of furniture to see. Plan on spending a good deal of time when visiting this place!
In case you missed it before, Bizzotto Silvano has a website at http://www.bizzottosilvano.it/.
Mall shoppers, this post is for you.
Most shopping is located in smaller shops throughout the community. If you prefer shopping at the mall, never fear.
There are two malls not far from Caserma Ederle: the Palladio and the Piramidi.
The Palladio Mall is home to Emisfero, which is an Italian equivalent to Wal-Mart. Other stores in this mall is Scarpe & Scarpe, a shoe store and Media World, an electronics store. For those who miss American fast-food, Palladio recently added a McDonald’s.
Palladio is located on Strada Padana, not far from Villagio, the American housing area.
The second and larger mall, the Piramidi, is located in Torri Di Quartesolo. The Piramidi is actually, as the name suggests, shaped like a large pyramid. The structure is pretty noticeable because of the shape. This mall has more of a food court and a variety of shops. Nearby there are other stores in what I would call strip malls.
Stars and Stripes Newspaper has an older review of the malls here.
Enjoy your shopping!
Don’t miss the markets in Italy. The produce is heavenly.
My husband moved to Italy a month before me. He found us a house and got some temporary furniture loaned from base.
Then I arrived with our children to a empty house. Our household goods were weeks away from arriving. Even the unaccompanied baggage was not coming anytime soon.
I knew we’d have to buy stuff and soon.
Thank goodness for the thrift store on post!
I was able to buy some nearly new pans and utensils for the kitchen. For the kids, I bought a few toys to keep them busy. We even found a chair for our computer desk, even though it wasn’t here yet.
The thrift store is not open all the time, but has recently expanded hours open. This is amazing, because no one gets paid to run the store. Three days a week, volunteers staff the store. Volunteers sort through immense stacks of boxes of donations. Volunteers stock shelves. Volunteers run the cash register.
The thrift store is a labor of love. Sometimes it is unorganized and chaotic, but realize that it is a great deal of work to run a retail establishment. Especially when people dump piles of donations on the door each week.
The VCC Thrift Store is located across the parking lot from the PX next to the banks. At the present time, it is open from 10 AM to 4 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Support the post thrift store and find some bargains in the process!
For me, it
was is a bit imposing to walk into retail stores and shop. I had no idea of what the sales people were saying to me or how to respond to him or her. Before you find yourself in one of those situations, memorize these ten basic Italian phrases to use while shopping!
- Non parlo bene l’italiano. (I don’t speak much Italian.)
- Guardo solo. (Just looking.)
- Quanto costa? (What does that cost?)
- Saldi (Sale)
- Accettate carte di credito? (Do you accept credit cards?)
- Ha una taglia piu piccolo? (Do you have a smaller size?)
- Ha una taglia piu grande? (Do you have a larger size?)
- Basta cosi. (That is all)
- Aperto. (Open)
- Chiuso (Closed)
What are the most helpful phrases you use while you are out shopping in Italy?
One of my favorite things about living in Italy are the markets which happen like clockwork each week. Shopping at the local markets offer an authentic glimpse into the local culture.
Each market has its own flavor. Some markets focus more heavily on food and locally grown produce, others focus on antique furniture and collectibles. Many vendors travel from one town’s market to the next. So, you will likely see the vendor at another place in a day or so.
Vendors do not traditionally bargain or haggle in Italian markets. You may be considered rude if you try to get a better deal. If you are purchasing several items, you may politely ask for a discount and sometimes the vendor will honor the request.
If you are shopping for clothing, make sure you know your Italian size. To Americans the sizes sound large. A size 8 is about a size 38 in Italy. To find size conversions (and more), the AngloInfo-Rome website has many helpful charts.
Local markets usually are open only in the morning. If you take public transportation to the markets, be ready for a crowded bus ride. Bring your own bags, because Italy recently banned non-biodegradable plastic bags. Vendors may charge for the biodegradable plastic ones. Cash is the rule of the day. A rare vendor accepts credit cards.
Local Market Days
Sunday ~ Camisano, Bassano
Monday ~ Cittadella, Thiene
Tuesday ~ Marostica, Soave, Padova, Costabissara
Wednesday ~Dueville, Grisignano
Thursday ~Vicenza Downtown, Bassano, Montagnana
Friday ~ Piazzola, Montevecchio Maggiore
Piazzola ~ Last Sunday of each month
Vicenza (Piazza dei Signori) ~ Second Sunday of each month
Verona (Piazza San Zeno) ~Third Sunday of each month