As both a Mediterranean and Catholic country, the most important festivities in Italy are quite similar to those throughout Europe. Christmas is one of the most important dates, as is Carnival, Holy Week, and those days dedicated to virgins and saints. They also have a great gastronomic tradition, which is why there are days dedicated to wine and cuisine that are celebrated in different Italian regions.
Italy has a large number of antique markets. Some of the best known are the Soffitta Sotto i Portici, in Rome, where you can find a variety of furniture or watches. In Venice, there is the small market of the Miracles, a name that has acquired by the church that is in the square; while in Milan one of the most frequented is the one on Naviglio Grande, with more than 300 stalls. In all of them, you can find decorative items, pieces of art, copper or bronze objects, as well as old books.
Italian designers have always had great international prestige. Their garments are some of the most coveted in the world and around them, a whole market of replicas has been created. The original models, out of reach to many, shine in the shop windows of the boutiques that the big labels have in Milan, Rome, Florence and Sicily. In Milan head to the Fashion Quadrilateral, where a large number of clothing stores are concentrated. In Rome, one of the best areas to go shopping is on the Via del Corso.
Burano glass from Venice is one of the most sought after crafts. They can be found in most of the small craft shops in the city. Also, the Carnival masks, made by hand are extremely popular souvenirs. Between the towns of Sassuolo and Reggio Emilia, there is an area where most of the ceramics sold in Europe are manufactured, especially tiles. Capodimonte is famous for its porcelains and here you can buy cups, plates and tea sets.
Italy stands out for the elegant designs of its jewellery. Some of the most prominent firms in the country are Bulgari, Crivelli and Buccellati, whose boutiques can be found in many of the main cities of the country such as Veneto, Tuscany, Campania, Liguria and Lombardy. The most precious Italian jewels have classic designs and the vast majority are made with yellow gold. In Florence, the best known are those of Luca Benfaremo, in Venice, Bergamo Arando stands out.
Between Tuscany and the Umbria region is where the factories where the most important leather garments of Italy are produced and which are later sold throughout the country. This area is full of artisan workshops and stores. In Florence, in the market of San Lorenzo, you can find a wide variety of dresses, belts and bags made out of leather.
Italy is an art-lovers paradise. From the Renaissance period to today, art is alive in the streets of its cities in places such as Florence and Rome. This is where you can find a large number of street painters, art galleries and paintings in many of its stores. There are also a large number of workshops, where you can see the artists and work and buy their pieces. In Milan, one of the neighbourhoods where you can buy art is Navigli, where the houses of the painters are and where markets are organized; In Rome, however, the most artistic place is the Pincio terrace.