Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Italian Goods Worth Buying in Milan
1. Delicatessen in the Peck Gift Box
Should you opt for the Milanese Risotto, be aware that Superfino Carnaroli (4.50 euros per kilo) is one of the most famous and prestigious varieties of Italian rice, esteemed for its big and consistent grains, with its relevant nutritional characteristics and exceptional gastronomic qualities. When cooking, the rice grains increase in size three times, maintaining nevertheless a unique plumpness. It can be accompanied by Peck's saffron stigmas coming from Sardinia (19.50 euros per gram), known for their intense taste and aroma, which is slowly but persistently released during cooking.
In Peck's wine cellar you can find unique wines that tell the history of Italian winemaking. Cabanon's Bonarda (9 euros if sparkling or otherwise 15 euros) is a red wine which is only produced in excellent vintage years using grapes picked at maximum ripeness, whose bouquet, together with a round velvety flavour, makes it excellent serving with first courses and hearty red meats. Franciacorta wines are also a must and the Pas Operé Bellavista (44 euros) is particularly known as a special occasions champagne whose fruity taste perfectly fits fish dishes. Depending on the number, type and variety of goods you may want to include in your customized gift box, pricing are variable.
Tuesday to Friday from 9.15 am to 7.30 pm and on Saturday from 8.45 am to 7.30 pm.
Historically dating from the 15th century, the Panettone is nowadays made in many bakeries and patisseries, but you should look for Le Tre Marie, known as the most traditional Panettone in town. At Grand Café & Tre Marie, they offer special limited editions for unique presents every year, which you can also accompany with a hand-written dedication to emphasize the spirit of your Christmas greetings. The average weight of a Panettone is around 1 kg, but it varies according to the brands and their creativity.
via Giovanni Morelli 4 (on the corner with Viale Piave where there’s also an entrance), and opens
daily 7 am-10 pm (Sunday closing at 9 pm).
Grand Café & Tre Marie, via Giovanni Morelli 4
Caffè Ottolina brand was founded in 1948 and its very first Milanese shop is the oldest coffee shop in town, established even earlier, in 1946, when Giulio Ottolina first started his business. This shop is called Moka Hodeidah (located at Via Piero della Francesca, 8, open Mon-Sat 7-19.30; in December also on Sun 9-13, 15-19), and now is an independent roasting company whose coffee is considered one of the best in town. At Christmas they offer gift boxes, including cups, coffee, chocolates, biscuits and other goods in various combinations, within a very exclusive branded tin whose pricing starts at 70 euros.
Although the name may not sound Italian, Caffè Hardy was also established in Milan in 1954 and since then their coffee has been distributed to several Milanese bars meeting the taste of the most demanding coffee lovers. They have quite a huge variety of aromas served each in a different cup. Their merchandising is available at Gran Caffetteria Cadorna. Pricing for cups starts at 8 euros, but call first as their availability is always limited.
Gran Caffetteria Cadorna (Piazzale Cadorna, 10 tel +39 02 72001449 – Mon-Fri from 5 am to 9 pm, Sat 6 am-9 pm, Sun 6 am-8 pm
4. Craft Umbrellas
His workshop, at via Ripamonti 194 (enter the building without hesitation), is actually a source of ideas where umbrellas come to life, either created for women, men or for curious applications, all made with a huge variety of wooden handles and countless coating patterns. Each is a real masterpiece you may want to become unique with small variations from its original design, choosing every imaginable detail (for example, you can ask for the handle to be braided with leather or other materials, or for the umbrella to be made of your favorite fabric, etc. - nothing is impossible, as long as you are willing to pay for it, and the prices for customized umbrellas often go beyond 500 euros). Should you prefer to buy a ready-made umbrella, made to the same quality standards as their bespoke counterparts, prices stand between 70 and 250 euros.
You can find Maglia’s umbrellas at Scarazzini’s (Corso Genova, 28), a typical, old-fashioned shop dedicated to high-quality articles, such as razors, knives and walking sticks. They’re the only ones in town equipped with everything - fabrics, wood and technique - to create a Maglia bespoke umbrella. Open Tue-Sat 9.30 am-12.30 pm and 3 pm-7.30 pm. Closed on Mon morning.
You can find other Maglia ready-made umbrellas at Gallia e Peter’s (via Moscova, 60), an ancient, truly fascinating hats boutique (open Tue-Sat 10 am-7.30 pm, closed on Monday morning), and at Guenzati, known as the oldest shop in the world, whose choice to deal with tartan clothes makes it strange to have this record set in Milan rather than in Scotland (located at via Mercanti 21, open Tue-Sat 10 am – 7 pm, closed on Mon morning) and at Al Bazar (via Scarpa, 9, open Tue-Sat 9.30 am – 7.30 pm, closed on Mon morning).
5. Designer Bags
Should you be looking for innovative materials applied to bags, then Nava is the store you should visit (via Durini, 23, open daily 10 am-7.30 pm; Monday afternoon only from 3 pm). Handled bags in polyvinyl polyester and polyacetal polyester have prices varying from 70 to 100 euros (this is their N-bag line), you can find trolleys in nylon of the “Street 2.0” collection, equipped with garment compartment and both a computer and an iPad pocket at around 200 euros, and office bags in a range of prices between 100 and 400 euros (when in leather with special finishings, such as “saffiano”’s).
Do you feel like chic and eco-friendly? Then the Hell’s Kitchen is probably your brand. Their style was called “chic recycle”, as they make bags from recycled tyres. Materials, such as heavy duty inner tubes, car seat-belts, but also t-shirts and shirts for the interiors, are strictly recycled and carefully elaborated, and are brought back to life in a different form as bags and unique and charming accessories. Their prices vary from 59 to 225 euros, depending on the models.
In Milan you find them at the Must Shop (Museo delle Scienze) at via Olona 6 (free entrance), Tue-Fri 10 am – 5 pm Sat-Sun and hols 10 am – 6.30 pm), at W Milano (via Washington 51, open daily 10 am, 7.30 pm) and at Museo del Novecento’s shop, via Marconi 1 (Palazzo dell’Arengario, next to the Cathedral, Mon 2.30-7.30 pm, Tue-Wed-Fri-Sun 9.30 am – 7.30 pm, Thu and Sat 9.30 am – 10.30 pm). And if you want a customized bag cooked especially for you, converted from one of your beloved but too old T-shirts, then visit their website and get in touch with them directly, so that you can discover how to turn your crumpled T-shirt into your coolest brand new bag.
One of them is Massimo Alba. His boutique at via Brera, 8 is especially known for their men’s cachemire sweaters, made of Italian fabrics, dyed with an eco-friendly method, using a very small amount of water. All items come in different shades, testifying their uniqueness and originality. Pricing starts at 320 euros. Massimo Alba’s boutique is open Monday 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm and Tuesday-Friday from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm.
Aspesi is synonymous with urban-wear, Milan style. The brand caters for both men and women. Over the years, it has become an icon of the Milanese clean and elegant style, equally perfect for formal occasions and leisure. The most renowned items in their collections are coats and trench coats (prices vary from 200 to 900 euros, depending on male/female models, and materials used) and casual jackets (prices going from 300 to 600 euros). Their lines also include blazers, dresses, shirts, sweaters and trousers. Their atelier, at via Monte Napoleone 13, is open Monday-Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm.
7. Football Accessories
The A.C. Milan shops, called “All Milan”, are located in via Ragazzi del ‘99 and in Galleria San Carlo. To afford an original T-shirt of your favorite player, you will need between 75 and 125 euros, depending on the football star you’re cheering for. All the stores are open daily from 10 am to 8 pm (those in via Ragazzi del ’99 closes at 7.30 and on Sundays). All of them carry a wide list of merchandise, including scarves (10 to 20 euros, depending on fabric and patterns), mugs (5 euros), woolen caps (16 to 25 euros, depending on patterns), bathrobes (55 euros) and other stuff. The San Siro Store, at San Siro stadium, is also an option to find accessories of both clubs (open daily 10 am to 5 pm, with slight variations when the games are on).
8. Pijama Cases
They’re now sold in very trendy Milanese shops, such as Cargo & Hi-Tech, in downtown Milan, Piazza XXV Aprile, 12 (open Monday from 1.30 pm to 7.30 pm and Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm). Just around the corner, you’re in Corso Como, the most exclusive shopping street in Milan. Once there, don’t forget to enter 10 Corso Como and look for their “Logo Shop”, described in the Accessories section.
In keeping with tradition, porcelain is still very much popular in Milan and Laboratorio Nibe is privileged to uphold the artisanal production of creative porcelain. Their lab is where vases and other handcrafted pottery items come to life. The collections are sold next door, in the firm's showroom, at via Camillo Hajech, 4. The prices range between 100 and 300 euros for a teapot, depending on the collection and the size you want.
Should you be looking for some original Richard Ginori sets, La Rinascente is one of the few authorized dealers. There, a Luna Planet set for tea (including a teapot, 2 cups with dishes, milk jug and a sugar bowl) will set you back some 620 euros. La Rinascente is open daily from 9.30 am to 10 pm, closing at 9 pm on Sunday. Laboratorio Nibe works Mon-Fri from 3 pm to 7 pm, and Sat 10 am-1 pm and 3 pm-7 pm.
Some of the Buccellati’s articles have been auctioned at Christie’s, and those in their showroom, located at via Montenapoleone 8 (open Tue-Sat from 10.30 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 7 pm), are often priced above 1,000 euros.
A temple for high value and unique Accessories in Milan is 10 Corso Como. Once there, look for their “Logo Shop”, a series of co-branded collections of clothes, jewels and accessories. GAP is among the brands who’s decided to design a special line for 10 Corso Como, including T-shirts (35 euros), sweatshirts (60 euros), jeans (136 euros) and canvas bags (12 to 20 euros, depending on the size). Other labels include Borsalino (co-branded hats cost 250 euros), Coca Cola (special bottles at 6 euros), Lacoste, Lomography, Ralph Lauren, Swarovsky, Swatch (original watches at 45 and 65 euros), Nokia (co-branded mobile phone at 850 euros), Moncler and Tommy Hilfiger. Of course, you shouldn’t miss all the other unique design items displayed in the store. 10 Corso Como is open daily from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm; closes at 9 pm on Wed and Thu.
Trimmings create a game of colors between fabrics in their “Combinazione” collection, while the funny pompom decorations characterize their “Bonbon” line. “Reine Claude” is their top level, made in Italy, collection of twilled items, including table clothing refined with hemstitches, sewed-in decorative tape or left with an elegant fringe. All of these collections feature table clothing, runners, napkins and placemats. Prices vary, depending on the number of items included in a set; e.g. a 270 cm “Reine Claude” table cloth will set you back 200 euros, whereas runners may cost between 15 and 55 euros.
12. Kids Wooden Toys and Decorations
Prices vary, depending on the size of an item. For instance, a small name plate goes for 10 euros, small kitten-clock is 30 euros, and a Pinocchio asking to knock on the door before entering is 20 euros apiece. Carissimo Pinocchio's shop is located at Via Grossi 10, open Tuesday-Saturday from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm, and closed Monday morning.
13. Artistic Photographs and Paintings
Back in the 1970s, many photo galleries opened in Milan. Among them, particularly famous, is that of Carla Sozzani’s, located at 10 Corso Como. The gallery hosts regular exhibitions and publishes a catalogue of displayed items for those who want to buy. Another notable photo gallery is Spazio Forma Galleria (Piazza Tito Lucrezio Caro, 1), featuring, among others, the works of Gianni Berengo Gardin, Maurizio Galimberti, Ferdinando Scianna, Mimmo Jodice, Nino Migliori, Giorgia Florio and Simona Ghizzoni, and other Italian female photographers.
Prices at the galleries vary from around 250 euros upwards. Carla Sozzani’s gallery is open Monday from 3.40 pm to 7.30 pm; Tuesday, Friday and weekend from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm; and Wednesday-Thursday from 10.30 am to 9 pm. Spazio Forma Galleria is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm, and on Saturday from 1 pm to 6 pm or by appointment.
As to the local painting scene, most painters' workshops in Milan are concentrated predominantly in Naviglio Grande. Initially, this was an area where painters spontaneously came to capture fabulous views of the open air canals. Eventually, they opened small workshops in Milan's most picturesque houses, known as “case di ringhiera”. Today, walking along the canals, you can still find open gates leading to the romantically-looking courtyards filled with small ateliers welcoming visitors with beautiful paintings on display.
Mariolina De Palma’s as instead of representing views of the city, she focuses on trams. Her
special sensitivity captures an old fashioned but always contemporary Milan in many different
seasons, or at different times of the day, with trams going by. Ladies are also another of
Mariolina’s favorite subjects painted in elegant dresses and shiny jewels applied on. Pricing for her
paintings starts at 70 euros. When her workshop is open (in the afternoon, but you can call her any
time at +39 347 7927450) you’re likely to find her painting inside. And this too is worth the visit.
14. Bianco Latte's White Houses
15. Leather Items
Pettinaroli is open daily from 9 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm. Closed Monday morning.
16. Martini Bianco (White Martini)
Martini Bianco is a fine blend of Italian white wine infused with herbs and sweet floral botanicals, producing an aromatic yet delicate drink (a sweet vermouth) with the notes of vanilla and citrus. You can drink it over ice with soda and a slice of lemon to have an Italian “spritz”, but make sure to try it also with a slice of orange instead, if you prefer a somewhat sweeter taste. You can find Martini Bianco in almost every “common supermarket” at the average price of 8 to 10 € per bottle. Look for it in the aperitif area. When in Corso Genova, you can buy it at La Coloniale (Corso Genova, 19; open Mon-Sat, 8 am-8 pm). Also, check out the airports' duty free shops as it’s generally sold there, too. Should you want to try it before buying, visit Terrazza Martini, a very exclusive lounge bar located in a terrace on top of a tower building at Piazza Armando Diaz, 7. As the name suggests, their Martini cocktails are exactly as they should be, and the view from the rooftop is absolutely gorgeous.
Other Interesting Souvenirs from Italy
If you are nowhere near Italy and have no chance to get there any time soon, or simply have no spare room in your luggage en route home from this country, these days you can find a wide selection of authentic and truly interesting Italian souvenirs online. Presented here are some of the top Italian products sought by foreign visitors, now available online for your convenience.
2. Olive Oil - Another staple ingredient of the Italian cuisine. Olive oil walks tall among other products in Italy, much as among its “next door” rivals from Greece and Spain. Italians consume olive oil “neat” with a piece of bread, or add it profusely to their cooking.
3. Formaggio (Cheese) - Italian cheeses are second to none, be it French, Swiss or Dutch counterparts, neither in quality nor in taste. Some of the local cheese names, like Parmigiano or Mozzarella, have long become generic terms in the world of culinary.
4. Murano Glass - Made from silica, soda, lime and potassium melted together, originated on the Venetian island of Murano, Murano glassware is renowned for its beautiful distinctive color, shape and patterns, all of which make it a rather unique and whimsical element of home decoration.
5. Italian meats - Out of a huge choice of meats present on the Italian market, there are some that stand out in particular, namely: Prosciutto (Italian: ham) – sweet and delicate ham which is safe to eat raw due to its elaborate curing process; Salami - a cured sausage made of fermented and air-dried meat, usually beef or pork; Bresaola - air-dried, salted meat (beef, horse, venison or pork), aged for a few months until hard and dark red (almost purple) in color. Originated in Valtellina, Lombardy in northern Italy.
6. Italian sweets - These are numerous, just as any other type of food in Italy. Some of the snacks worth considering include: Sperlari Galatine Milk Candy - famous Italian sweet made with 80% real milk, yogurt and a bit of honey. With less than 5% fat, it is quite healthy for children and adults alike; La Florentine Torrone is an authentic Italian treat, comprising toasted almond honey nougat, lemon, orange & vanilla flavor assortment prepared by an original old recipe from the finest ingredients, such as crunchy almonds, smooth golden honey, pure can sugar, and fluffy egg whites, and enriched by flavors squeezed out of the ripest oranges, lemons and vanilla beans. Savoiardi (or Lady Fingers) - a key ingredient in many desserts including, most notably, Tiramisu.
7. Gianduia (Artisan Chocolate) -Caffarel Gianduiotto (small bites of Gianduia) is a combination of cocoa and roasted Piedmont hazelnuts renowned for its soft, decadent taste that leaves a velvety feel in the mouth. Made according to an ancient method of extrusion, using only the prized Piedmont hazelnut. Delicate cubes of Caffarel's Gianduia – a mixture of refined chocolate and the best hazelnuts – are a perfect gift (if last long enough!), individually wrapped in beautiful gold paper and packed in a traditional design gift box. Another delight to consider is Pernigotti Milk Chocolate Gianduiotto - hazelnut sweet chocolate pralines covered in milk chocolate. Supremely smooth and rich in taste.
8. Limoncello -The Italian lemon liqueur originally produced mainly in southern Italy. In the north of Italy, where it is also made nowadays, this liqueur is often called limoncino. Today, Limoncello has become the second most popular Italian liqueur, after Campari. Traditionally, limoncello is made from the zest (peels without the pith) of Femminello St. Teresa lemons which is steeped in rectified spirit (usually grappa, but vodka can be used just as well) until the oil is released.
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