Shopping in Italy: Official Winter & Summer Sales

Saldi || creative commons photo by Luca Biada

Saldi || creative commons photo by Luca Biada

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 Immlda 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.

Here’s a list of the sales dates for 2016, region by region 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.

Winter Sales

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.

Summer Sales

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.

Sales in Italy: What You Need to Know

  • SALDI is the word you need to know. You’ll see it everywhere, so you’ll learn it quickly. It means “sales,” so it’s plastered in every shop window along with whatever percentage discount they’re currently offering.
  • The specific dates for each sales period change each year, and they vary by region, so you may find the sales already in full swing in Milan but a few days away in Rome.
  • Everyone puts inventory on sale – and I mean everyone, including those high-end designers. The boutiques, however, sometimes have invitation-only sales for their repeat customers first, with the leftovers made available to the masses afterward.
  • Typically, the prices continue to drop during the sales period, so some shoppers will hold out until the bitter end to get the best deal. The trade-off, however, is that the selection dwindles, too. You might find a killer deal on a pair of shoes, for instance, but only find it comes in one size that’s way too big for you.
  • These sales aren’t designed for tourists – this is when many Italians do their big-ticket shopping for the year.
  • People have been known to get (ahem) aggressive during these sales peiods, especially when a shop is down to the last of something. If you dive into the fray, you may be digging through piles of discounted clothing looking for a treasure. This is serious shopping we’re talking about here, nothing prim or proper about it.

10 responses to “Shopping in Italy: Official Winter & Summer Sales”

  1. Richard Lin says:

    What date will the Summer Sales period in Roma in 2016 start?

    Thank you.

  2. vildan mataracı says:

    What date will the WİNTER Sales period in Roma in 2016 start I wıll be there 22-25 jan for shoppıng

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for the question, Vildan – that information isn’t out yet, either, apparently. The link in the article above to the 2015 calendar has a note that says “stay tuned” for the 2016 dates. Keep checking that link, or this page, which I’ll update when I hear about 2016 sale dates.

  3. Alexia Mandriotou says:

    I think they are on the first Saturday of July, so for 2016 they should be July 2nd. But again, we will have to wait for the official announcement.

  4. Yoojin Lee says:

    I am planning on going to Milan, merely for shopping, for the 2016 summer sale season. Would you recommend me a preferrable period and where the best places (ex. Via something) are for shopping?

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for the comment, Yoojin. The site linked near the top of this article hasn’t yet updated with the summer 2016 sale season dates, but I put together a list in the meantime. Milan is in Lombardy, so that’s the region to look for on either site for sale dates. As for where to shop, I’m not a shopaholic, so I don’t know all the best spots – but the Quadrilatero d’Oro in Milan’s city center is where many of the designers have boutiques. Via Montenapoleone is a good place to start.

  5. Cami Campo says:

    Hi Jessica, have there been any official announcements about the Summer Sale dates in July 2016?

    • Jessica says:

      Well, the site I referenced still hasn’t updated, no. They got as far as changing the title to “Summer Sales 2016,” but all the info is still about last summer! I found another place with some information (though not as detailed), which I wrote about here.

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