Italy is fashionable – the whole world knows this. I once heard what the Milanese apparently spend on new clothes every year, and it about gave me a heart attack. But there are some shopping secrets the Italians have that they don’t always share with outsiders – including the fact that they’re bargain hunters. Italians love their outlet malls, and they go nuts during the two official sales periods in Italy.
I don’t know about what it’s like where you live, but in the U.S. any shop owner can declare a sale whenever he or she wants to. Sure, there are major sales around holidays, but if an individual shoe shop owner wants to have an annual sale on Immelda Marcos’ birthday, that’s fine. Not so in Italy. There are two official Italian sales periods each year – winter and summer – when every shop has what can amount to clearance sales for 6-8 weeks.
My favorite site for looking up the sales dates for individual regions in Italy is this one, (because each region, and even city, can set their own dates), but sometimes it takes awhile to update.
For another reference, if the Sottocoperta site isn’t up-to-date,you can try this site.
A note about the Sottocoperta site: It’s in Italian, but scroll down to see the list of “REGIONI” – the “SALDI INVERNALI” are the winter sales dates, and the “SALDI ESTIVI” are the summer sales dates. Some have set date ranges, some have a start date and then run “per 60 giorni,” or for 60 days.
Many tourists will stay away from Italy in January simply because the weather isn’t conducive to the picture they have of an ideal Italian vacation. If you’re a shopaholic, however, January may be one of the best times to go – it’s winter sales season.
The winter sales period starts in January, usually near the beginning of the month, and lasts through mid-February or until inventory is gone.
The summer sales period in Italy also coincides with one of the most popular months for tourism – July. The first time I visited Italy it was July, and I had no idea what a rare treat all those sales were. If I had known, I might have come home with an extra suitcase.
The summer sales begin in July, usually near the start of the month, and last through about mid-August or until inventory is gone.