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 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.

Want specific sale info? Here’s how to find it.

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.

Sottocoperta hasn’t updated for 2018 yet. Dates for the winter 2018 sales, broken down by region, are on this page.

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.

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.

45 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.

  6. Vanessa says:

    When is the winter sale in Milan and Roma? I’m gonna be there at the end of December, will there be any?

  7. Roberto says:

    TORINO SALDI will start Jan.5th
    so from JAn.5th 2017 to March 2nd 2017

  8. Anna says:

    When will the summer sale 2017 begin in Rome and Athens this year? Thank you.

    • Jessica says:

      The first link in the article above, on the sottocoperta site, now seems to be updated with 2017 summer sale information for Italy. I don’t follow sales seasons in Greece, though.

  9. Gabi says:

    Do you know if there will be sales in late May, early June?

    • Jessica says:

      The sales periods are pretty well determined as outlined above, Gabi – one in summer, and one in winter.

      • LAURA says:

        Hey Jessica, Im planning to come to Rome on 7th of July until the 10th. I would like to know when exactly the sales will start, if will be those days or after. Thanks

        • Jessica says:

          You can find out all the current, specific annual sales info in the link I provide above in the highlighted area of the article, near the top. Happy shopping! 🙂

  10. Eric says:

    Hi there.

    Do you happened to know until when is the sale in Rome? Will be visiting 12-14Aug. Any malls/area you would recommend? Thank you

    • Jessica says:

      There’s a link in the article above, Eric, that will take you to a site that details all the sales dates for every region in Italy. 🙂 (Rome is in Lazio, so look for that one.)

  11. barak says:

    hi ! do you have the exact dates for the winter sales in milan january 2018? is it published already? thank you!!! barak

    • Jessica says:

      No, those dates haven’t been published yet. Check back toward the end of this year.

      • Asam Khan says:

        Dear Jessica, do you have any news in regards to when January sale on 2018 in Milan wil start? Need to book some tickets so would be really helpful if I knew the dates 😀

        • Jessica says:

          I’ve just updated the article above with a link to a new list of the 2018 winter sales dates! 🙂

  12. Tushar says:

    Wis there a boxing day sale in Italy on 26 December. And best city to be in for shopping in italy

    • Jessica says:

      It depends on what you’re shopping for! 🙂 Milan is great for high fashion, Florence’s leather markets are wonderful, Venice has gorgeous glass from Murano, and Rome has a bit of everything – just to give you an idea. To my knowledge, the sales in Italy are limited to the ones listed in this article, and don’t include “Boxing Day” (which isn’t really a holiday in Italy).

  13. saleh says:

    when does the sale start in this year

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve just updated the article above with a link to a new list of the 2018 winter sales dates! 🙂

  14. Fiona says:

    Hi, can you please tell me when the summer sale will start for the luxury outlet stores near Florence. we are planning to arrive in Florence on the 27 June – 1st July 2018. Thanks

    • Jessica says:

      Check the link in the highlighted section above – that’s where current information is posted. 🙂

  15. Bill Powers says:

    We will be in Milan and Florence the first few days of July and hence will be there a few days before the official sale dates unfortunately. Does this mean there will literally be no apparel on sale in those cities or might there be retailers where we can still find discounts?

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, everything is available to purchase year-round, and sometimes you’ll find small sales on at different times, but the biggest sales are during these official sales seasons.

  16. ANAT PADANI says:

    I will be in Rome in June the 4th to the 10th.
    i am a good customer for Valentino, versache and Miu Miu. is there any pre-sales?
    thank you

    • Jessica says:

      I’m not aware of pre-sales outside the official sales dates, but there are outlet shopping centers open year-round.

  17. Catherine007 says:

    Hi Jessica 🙂
    First of all- thank you very much for this blog! 😀 🙂

    I am planning to go to Trieste Palmanova Outlet soon (not sure June-now or later on July) so I am looking for some info when should I go. I read all comments and checked the link in the highlighted section above and it says summer sale in Trieste starts on July 7th. My question is: does this info link also include Outlet sales?
    If it does- that’s mean that season summer sales start on 7th of July, but before this date there are usually some discount or pre-sale, right? Please, some advice when should I go?
    I hope these sale dates are correct and updated 🙁

    • Jessica says:

      My understanding is that the seasonal sales really only apply to regular shops – not outlets – because the outlets offer sales year-round (which the regular shops can’t do).

  18. Nofel says:

    Hi Jessica,
    Can you please tell me when the saldi starts this summer in Italy ?
    Thank you & best regards

    • Jessica says:

      The link above in the highlighted yellow section has all the information you’ll need! 🙂

  19. PD says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Many thanks for this information. Do the sales work how they do pretty much in the US – as in only the unattractive and unpopular sizes left? I’m evaluating whether it’s worth even holding out (I need to do quite a bit of winter shopping). Also, what is the shopping in Bari like in Sept vs Milan (again looking to upgrade my winter wardrobe, but am leaning towards Bari to explore a new town and somewhere with a beach!)?

    Many thanks!

    • Jessica says:

      In my experience, basically everything is on sale at the start of the sales season. The discounts grow as the season goes on, but waiting means running the risk that the most popular sizes/styles will sell out earlier. I’m afraid I can’t compare Bari and Milan in terms of shopping – Milan is incredibly fashionable, but I can’t think of anywhere in Italy that isn’t. 😉

  20. leidys diaz says:

    Hi Jessica,

    We will be in Rome from July 1st till July 3rd, then heading to Milan. While in Rome I would like to buy a Gucci bag, from your experience do they have good discounts for this season?
    Thank you

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so sorry I didn’t see this question earlier! I hope you found a bag you wanted! For reference for other readers, July is often part of the summer sales season, but the start/end dates vary by region and by year.

  21. Marwa abdullah says:

    hi iam preparing to visit sesto calende by September will is there any availability to catch the sale there

    • Jessica says:

      I’m not familiar with Sesto Calende, but it’s in Lombardy – so check the sales schedule linked above for the Lombardia region.

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