Tag Archives | budget

Ask the Italy Expert: Outlet Shopping and Rome Pastry Shops

Ask the Expert: Italofile MailbagI get lots of emails from readers asking for Italy travel advice. And while I like to think of myself as the Italy travel resource, I know that there are tons of bloggers, writers, tour operators, travel consultants, and many other Italophiles who have knowledge on specific subjects, like villa rentals, Tuscany antique markets, or wines of the Veneto. Previously, I have just answered readers’ questions as best – and as quickly – as I could. But I started thinking that everyone could benefit from the knowledge I’ve earned as a result of researching some of these inquiries.

So, today I am starting a new feature called “Ask the Italy Expert,” in which I utilize my network of Italy experts to answer your travel questions. I’m really excited about the first installment of this feature because it is all about SHOPPING!

Two readers, Dominika and Niek, recently asked me questions about shopping in Italy. Dominika, who is getting married in Rome, was particularly interested in finding out about factory outlets and pastry shops/cake makers in and around the capital while Niek wanted to know about outlets in the southern Italian regions of Basilicata, Calabria, and Puglia.

As soon as I saw that I had two specific shopping questions, I knew exactly who to ask. Stefania Troiani is the creative founder and owner of Rome Shopping Guide, a private tour company that offers personalized shopping tours of the Eternal City, from food markets to outlets to luxury boutiques. While I have never actually “met” Stefania, I have enjoyed reading her shopping advice on her website and Twitter for quite some time now. Certainly, she specializes in Rome, but I had no doubts of her ability to tell me about other shopping experiences south of the capital. Here are her superb shopping suggestions:

Question 1: Factory Outlets and Cake Makers in Rome
The best factory outlets for designer label handbags and clothes and shoes around Rome are:

Castel Romano Designer Outlet elegantly built around a style reminiscent of Imperial Rome that boasts 110 designer name shops with prices reduced from 30% to 70%. Many shops also offer tax free (from a minimum of 4% up to a maximum 16% of the selling price of the goods purchased). The outlet is located 30mins outside Rome (how to get there).

Another perfect place to find special accessories is the Bulgari outlet that carries all the end of series and unsold items from Bulgari shops. It is possible to find handbags, crocodile purses, ties, house furnishings, scarves, sunglasses, glasses, modern silver and also jewelry for which Bulgari has been famous for over 100 years, all to be discounted 30%. The staff speaks English and Japanese. The outlet is located on Via Aurelia, 1052 only a few miles outside Rome.

When in Rome you can also get some great buys on designer handbags, clothes and shoes and if you are looking for Miu Miu, Cavalli, Chloé, and Burberry you should pop into Outlet Gente conveniently located near the Vatican on Via Cola di Rienzo 246.

Antonella e Fabrizio is a discount store for men and women near Piazza Navona, on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 247 selling Armani, D&G and Just Cavalli as well as other popular Italian labels.

Il Discount dell’Alta Moda is a boutique near Piazza del Popolo on Via Gesù e Maria, 16 overstocking at up to 50% off goods by Fendi, Gucci, Sergio Rossi, and Roberto Cavalli.

Pastry shops in Rome are all very good. I know many great good cake makers. My two favorites are the historic Marinari pastry shop in the Trieste neighborhood also well known for its delicious “torta della nonna,” it offers a wide range of desserts from ricotta cakes to Sicilian cannoli.

Another one to recommend to dessert lovers is Antonini on via Sabotino, 19 that offers one of the best selections of pastries in town.

(Those pastry shops sound delicious! Best bet is to shop for shoes at the outlets so you can indulge in the cake without worrying about fitting into designer duds!)

Question 2: Factory Outlets in Basilicata, Calabria, and Puglia
There are not many quality outlets in Basilicata and Calabria, whilst in Puglia there are several places to visit for value conscious travelers.

  • Vestebene Outlet Storeon Piazza Dante Alighieri 85 – Galatina – Lecce
  • Filanto Shoes Outlet – Casarano Industrial Park – Lecce
  • Leather Company Outlet (excellent value and quality) – Via Provinciale Uggiano 44 – Otranto – Lecce
  • Molfetta Fashion District (80 shops) Via dei Portuali, Molfetta- Bari

Great tips for outlets in Puglia, Stefania! If anyone else has tips on outlets in Basilicata or Calabria, let me know.

I really hope that you have enjoyed this new Q&A on Italofile. If you’d like to submit a question or if you are an Italy expert who’d like to offer some advice, contact me. Hopefully, we can collaborate on the next installment of Ask the Italy Expert!

Photo © http://www.flickr.com/photos/ezioman/ / CC BY 2.0

New Year, New Italy Deals

I hope you’re all having a very happy 2010 so far. I’m hoping this will be a great year for Italy travel and finding deals on tours, packages, airfare, hotels, etc. That’s why I’m launching an experimental page over on the Italofile Social Network.

The new Travel Deals page is a place where you can find the latest information on discounted travel to Italy. Right now, the deals are listed as comments but I’ll be working with other methods as I go along. the Travel Deals page shows deals from various RSS feeds. You can post other deals in the comments on that page or send me your RSS feed link so I it can get looped into this page.

And if you’re offering a deal, you can contribute to the growing list or get your deal featured on the network’s home page. I’ll be cross-posting all this information on Twitter (@italofileblog) and the Italofile Facebook page.

So thanks to all of you for reading Italofile through the years and here’s to a fun and fruitful 2010!

Photo © jacqs87

Venice for a Penny

I’d hate to be the employee who made this error:

The Crowne Plaza of Venice will be honoring a rate of 1-cent-per-night after mistakenly posting the rate on its website. According to BBC News, approximately 230 guests booked the hotel after seeing the unbelievable rate. The usual rate for the hotel, located about 10 miles outside the city, is €150.

Photo by Sicilian Italiano

A Peaceful Oasis in Rome


After reading a post about Free Things to Do in Rome from fellow blogger Jessica at Italylogue.com, I couldn’t resist commenting on one of my favorite places – free or not – in all of the Eternal City: the Protestant Cemetery. Then I thought I should also share this tip with Italofile readers, too.

The Protestant Cemetery, also known as the Non-Catholic Cemetery, is located behind the grand Pyramid or, in Italian, Piramide, itself a burial site for Roman magistrate Gaius Cestius who died around 12BC. Surrounded by tall trees, which miraculously drown out the din of Roman traffic just beyond the Pyramid, the well-kept cemetery is the final resting place of a few names from literature, notably John Keats (whose unmarked epitaph famously reads “Here lies one whose name was writ in water”) and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who died in a boating accident off the coast of Tuscany, but who wrote parts of Prometheus Unbound while living in Rome. Many expats and non-Catholic Italians have been laid to rest at the Protestant Cemetery and you can find lists of others buried there (ordered by name, nationality, etc.) by checking out these databases.

Indeed, it may seem a little morbid to spend time at a cemetery while in Rome. At the very least, it may seem odd to go out of one’s way to visit one of Rome’s least-visited (and certainly little known) sites. But, the Protestant Cemetery is just one of the many free things you can do in the Eternal City and is a great place to recharge your batteries after hours of dodging traffic and long lines.

Photo from the Protestant Cemetery website

Really Cheap Real Estate in Sicily

Here’s your chance to buy a really cheap house in Italy.

According to Italy Magazine, the Sicilian town of Salemi is selling homes in the town’s historic center which have been ravaged by earthquakes for the fair price of €1. The catch? Buyers must restore the homes “sympathetically” within two years.

Salemi (see this place on a map) is famous for having been the site where Giuseppe Garibaldi claimed Sicily for King Vittorio Emanuele on May 14, 1860, and for the earthquakes that shook the town in 1968. Mayor Vittorio Sgarbi and councillor Oliviero Toscani (of Benetton photo campaign fame) hope that this new scheme will bring Salemi a new kind of fame. Apparently, some Italian stars, such as Lucio Dalla and Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti, are considering the Salemi real estate offer.

For more information, visit the Salemi website.

Italy Summer Article Round-Up 2008

Lots of Italy-related articles this time of year. So, here goes:

New York Times
Wandering Beyond Classic Rome (The Frugal Traveler Does Europe on a Budget)
On Venice’s Grand Canal in a Kayak
Prescription Med (Ischia)

Los Angeles Times
Exploring Rome’s Famous Seven Hills
Budget Travel in Rome
10 Books and Movies to Prep for a Trip to Rome
Italy: At Home in Rome

National Geographic Traveler
Rome Photo Gallery (Part of NGT’s Authentic Rome feature for the July/August 2008 issue)
Shopping: Roman Gold

The Washington Post
Smart Mouth: His Palermo Restaurant Is Popular, But It’s No Mob Scene
My Verona

Reuters
Travel Postcard: 48 Hours in Ferrara, Italy

Naples (FL) Daily News
From the Ground Up: Part-Time Naples Couple Found Their Italian Villa a Full-Time Restoration Job Over Two Years (Brindisi, Puglia)

The Guardian (UK)
The Amalfi Coast On a Budget
Caught in the Spell of San Pietro (Sardinia)
Hidden Gems (Sibillini Mountains, Le Marche)
Little Po Peep (Emilia-Romagna)
Flying Visit: Venice
A Greener Way to Umbria’s Capital

Sydney Morning Herald
How to Shop Up an Appetite (Milan)
Night in Italian Prison Promises Gourmet Fare (Tuscany)
Master of the House (Palladio in Venice)
Holiday in Harmony with Gregorian Monks (Tuscany)
A Bloodbath, Italian Style (Florence)

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