Italy Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Italophile

by Jessica on November 23, 2011

by | November 23rd, 2011  

Updated Italy Gift Guide for 2011, including new additions!

As we begin to think about gift lists for the upcoming holidays, I thought it made sense to put together an Italy gift guide – you can treat this as a list of things that the Italophile in your life would love to receive, or as a list of things you could put on your own holiday wish list.

There are several different categories below, so if you’re interested in one in particular you can jump right to that section by clicking one of these links. Otherwise, scroll down to your heart’s content – and if you know of something fabulous and Italy-rific that I don’t have listed here, let me know!

>> There’s quite a bit of stuff here. The original list included a whopping 65 items, and grew in subsequent years. It got a bit of an overhaul/facelift in 2011, so hopefully it’s easier to find what you’re looking for!

Happy shopping, Italophiles!


Food/Kitchen

Any true Italophile likes Italian food, even if they’re not necessarily interested in cooking it. Here are a few food-related items – either ready-made edibles or tools to help you create them – that’ll make anyone’s kitchen a little more Italian.

  • Nutella – Who doesn’t love this gooey chocolate hazelnut spread? Ever since it became more widely available in US supermarkets, Nutella is a pantry staple in many homes (including mine). But did you know it’s made by an Italian company? That’s right, Nutella’s Italian. And it doesn’t have to be World Nutella Day to enjoy it, either. So now you can proudly give Nutella to any Italophile on your gift list and help them spread a little Italian cheer on their morning toast.


  • illy Coffee – Everyone’s got a favorite coffee, and for many Italians it’s illy Coffee. It also happens to be my favorite Italian coffee as well, and I like to get the grind that’s specifically meant for a mokapot, like the Bialetti you’ll find next on this list! The tins are re-usable, too – in our house there’s one in the kitchen that serves as the resident coin container, but I’ve also known people to bake small loaves of Italian bread in them to give away as gifts. Yes, really.


  • Bialetti Mokapot – Just because you’re not in Italy doesn’t mean you can’t make great Italian coffee at home; and you don’t even need an expensive espresso machine to do it. Every Italian household has a Bialetti Mokapot, and some even have more than one in different sizes (there are two in my house). Pair one of these with a tin of illy Coffee and you’ll please any coffee addict. Do note that when they say it’s a “3-cup” size, that means three espresso cups – not three big American coffee mugs. And yes, the 1-cup Bialetti is absolutely adorable. And read my Italian coffee guide to learn all the different coffee drinks you can make with your Bialetti, or order when you’re in Italy! (If you’d like something more substantial on your kitchen counter, I’m the proud owner of the Ferrari of espresso machines – a shiny red FrancisFrancis! X7 iperEspresso maker that makes perfect espresso, every single time, with the push of a button. Not only that, my friends are the official non-warranty repair shop for all FrancisFrancis! machines, so if your machine needs some TLC it’ll be in good hands.)


  • Espresso Cups – Now that you’ve kitted your Italian kitchen out with the right coffee and coffee maker, you can’t very well drink out of the same old beat-up mugs, can you? Of course not. That’s why you need something like this Espresso Cup Set , which comes complete with cups, saucers, and even tiny spoons. There are a gajillion shapes and designs of espresso cups out there, and you can have a ball collecting different ones. Just don’t let the kids get ahold of them thinking it’s a tea party set.


  • Marocchino CupsMy friend Sara introduced me to the marocchino (a delicious blend of espresso, steamed milk, and cocoa powder), and it’s now my favorite Italian coffee drink. And while you can certainly make it at home and drink it out of the regular espresso cups you’ve already bought, in a real Italian cafe they’ll always use Marocchino Cups like these.


  • Pocket Coffee – I also have Sara to thank for another coffee-related treat on this list: Pocket Coffee. It’s a shot of espresso encased in a dark chocolate shell, and it’s heavenly. They’re only available seasonally, so they’re only for sale in Italy in the cold months of the year – in the hot weather it would melt on the shelves – and they’re not even always in stock at Amazon. But I was pleased to find Pocket Coffee listed there, so you may not have to go all the way to Italy to pick some up. (Though you’re welcome to do so if you wish!)


  • Balsamic Vinegar from Modena – Italophiles know that not all balsamic vinegar is created equally, and the real thing from Modena is the only way to go. The good news is that all true balsamic that’s been authorized to bear the name by the Modena council goes into the exact same bottle shape, regardless of the company that’s selling it. So if it’s in a bottle that looks like this, it’s the real thing. Of course, you can spend a pretty penny on Balsamic Vinegar from Modena when it’s been aged for 50+ years, but even the 12-year stuff is pretty mind-blowing.


  • Olive Oil – While true balsamic vinegar only comes from Modena, you can find olive oil that originates in lots of Mediterranean countries. But for an Italy lover, only Italian Olive Oil will do! And of course we’re talking extra virgin olive oil here. This isn’t the stuff you use to coat the bottom of the frying pan, this is the stuff you drizzle over salads, veggies, pasta, pizza, soup – you name it. It’ll cost a little more, but you’ll use it judiciously and you’ll love every peppery bite.


  • Limoncello – There’s still time before the holidays to make your own homemade limoncello, that sweet lemon concoction from southern Italy, and give gorgeous and tasty gifts to all the Italophiles on your list. But if you can’t be bothered to make your own, you can always go to your local liquor store and buy some (it’s not as good as the homemade stuff, but it’ll do). To make the gift extra special, however, be sure to include a set of limoncello glasses like these from Vietri, or a complete set with a bottle and cups like this one, or a set that includes all that plus a painted tray to carry everything as well.


  • Gelato Maker – And by “gelato maker” I don’t mean that you invite me to your Italophile’s house to make gelato for you. I mean you give that person an ice cream machine so they can make their own gelato! There are lots of these on the market that are really affordable; I have this Cuisinart Gelato Maker, and I sometimes use it so much that I went ahead and got a Spare Cuisinart Gelato Maker Freezer Core so one is always ready. If you really want to go all-out, or you’re thinking of opening a gelato shop out of your kitchen, then the Lello Gelato Maker is an industrial-strength wonder.


  • Italian Wine – Of course, a good bottle of Italian wine is never an unwelcome gift at the holidays, especially to someone who appreciates what the Italians have done with the grape over the years. There are lots of varietals to choose from, and you can spend anywhere from $15 to $90 or more, so on this one it’s best if you make use of the friendly wine merchant at your local market. Just make sure they know what they’re talking about before you take their word as gospel – and ask if they’ve got wine tastings coming up where you can sample before you buy. Need more information before you buy? This Vino Italiano guide is comprehensive and will make you an Italian wine expert in no time.


  • Perugina Baci Chocolates – Perugia is home to one of the biggest chocolate festivals in Europe, Eurochocolate, and it’s also home to Perugina, the big chocolate maker. For a delicious (and affordable) taste of Italy, a box of Perugina Baci Chocolates is a great choice. They’re chocolates with a single hazelnut inside each one, and “baci” means “kisses,” so this is, in effect, the Italian version of the Hershey’s kiss. Except it’s way better.


  • Parmigiano Reggiano – While wrapping an entire wheel of authentic parmigiano reggiano cheese may be a bit unwieldy (not to mention expensive), you can easily give the Italophile on your list a big wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. You’ll know it’s the real thing by the imprint on the rind.


  • Tuna – Okay, this one may seem a little strange, but hear me out. I’m told by my Italophile friends that Italian Tuna in Oil is a gourmet treat. This isn’t like the stuff at your local supermarket, they tell me. It’s phenomenal, they tell me. It’s like no canned tuna you’ve ever had in your life, they tell me. I’m going to have to ask for some myself this year to see what all the fuss is about.


  • Italian Cookbook – Want to help out your resident Italophile with a few pointers in the kitchen? Then look for an Italian cookbook that emphasizes authentic recipes. A favorite in my house is Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, and Mario Batali’s Simple Italian Recipes comes recommended as well. For desserts, the fabulous Dolce Italiano is a must-have.


  • La Cucina Italiana Magazine Subscription – For the cook in your life, you can treat them to a year’s worth of Italian cooking inspiration with a subscription to La Cucina Italiana magazine.


Travel

When your Italophile is actively planning an Italy vacation, the gift-giving is easy. Next to traveling, researching a trip is usually the second-best thing, so any number of the items listed below would be welcome treats for the vacation planner.

  • Italy Guidebooks – Get the trip planning started on the right foot with a couple of good guidebooks. Personally, I’m a particular fan of Rick Steves Italy and Lonely Planet Italy – I tend to buy both before a trip, and bring both with me, although that usually ends up being overkill. The LP guides contain more history (good for pre-trip reading), and the Steves books are lighter-weight. If you’re not covering the whole country, you could also tear out and pack just the sections you’ll need to save space.


  • Audio Guides/iPhone Apps – As paper becomes more passé, and as more people are carrying iPods when they travel, the audio guide or iPhone app travel guide is getting to be more common. If your Italy lover will be toting an iPod player, then you can get some city guides, maps, walking tours, or audio guides for them – or simply get an iTunes Gift Card and let them download their own walking tours and podcasts. (Don’t forget to include a list of all the Italy iPhone Apps they could take with them on their Italy trip, too!)


  • Moleskine City Notebooks – I wrote about the Moleskine City Notebooks after I used them myself, and I think they’re an excellent gift for anyone who’s traveling to a place they’ve been before, or for people who really do prefer to create their own guidebooks rather than sticking to what Lonely Planet says they have to see. There are several Italian cities covered in this series, including the Moleskine City Notebook for Rome.


  • City Secrets – I really like these books; they’re not a replacement for a comprehensive guidebook (at least not for a first-time visitor to Italy), but they’re an excellent supplement, and they’re actually quite interesting to read even if you’re not planning an Italy trip anytime soon. They’re full of little tidbits and stories about things you may not otherwise see, told by people who know Italy well. City Secrets: Rome covers just Rome, and City Secrets: Florence, Venice & the Towns of Italy covers the rest of the country.


  • PopUp Maps – I’ve said before that these are my favorite Italy maps, so I won’t belabor the point. I’ll just say that these PopUp Maps are sheer genius, primarily because they’ve eliminated the need to learn how to re-fold a giant city map in the middle of a crowded sidewalk and thereby being labeled as a tourist in a split-second, and you should buy one for each Italian city that’s on the itinerary.


  • Marling Menu Master for Italy – I just found a copy of the Marling Menu Master: Italy recently at a bookstore, and although it doesn’t totally replace my very favorite (and yet sadly out of print) Italy food/menu guide, “The Hungry Traveler: Italy,” it does an okay job. It’s equally as compact and user-friendly, it’s just missing the regional/seasonal specialty lists that make “The Hungry Traveler” unique. (And if you find a used copy of “The Hungry Traveler: Italy” somewhere, buy it!)


Books

  • The Dark Heart of Italy – If the Italophile in your life read “Under the Tuscan Sun” with one eyebrow raised, thinking Italy can’t possibly be that dreamy all the time, then The Dark Heart of Italy by Tobias Jones should be next on their reading list. It’s a healthy dose of Italian history and politics mixed in with soccer, food, religion and everyday life, and it paints a pretty accurate portrait of Italy today. This is a must-read for anyone who’s contemplating a move to Italy as well. I should note that despite the gloomy title, the book is written by someone who truly loves Italy – he’s just trying to understand what makes it tick.


  • An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest TownAn Irreverent Curiosity was easily one of my favorite books of 2010, a tale of intrigue with Italian and Catholic history expertly woven in. The “strange relic” in the book’s title is the holy foreskin of Jesus, and the author, David Farley, spends a year living in the odd hilltop town in Italy that housed the relic before it was lost. Or stolen? Or something else? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.


  • In Etna’s Shadow: Culinary Adventures from Eastern SicilyIn Etna’s Shadow is by WhyGo Italy contributor Karen Landes, and it’s a pretty and heartfelt ode to Sicilian food and cooking, and makes a great gift for foodies, Italophiles, and armchair travelers alike.


  • Italy From Above – Most of us don’t have the opportunity to hire a helicopter and fly around over the Italian countryside to see what it looks like from on high, but Italy from Above lets you see what you’ve been missing. If you’re planning to give this one away as a gift, make sure to get one for yourself as well. It’s just that lovely.


  • Sprezzatura – Italians don’t need much of a reason to count the ways their homeland is fabulous, but if you want to give your Italophile a few more reasons then look no further than Sprezzatura, or “50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World.” My friend Michelle says it’s one of her favorite books, and it covers both things that lots of people know about and also some unknown gems that are sure to make any Italian boastful.


  • The Miracle of Castel di Sangro – When you combine an Italophile with a sports fan, you’ve got to have The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss on your list. It’s the true story of the triumphs of a little Italian soccer team told with humor, insight, and great affection. And you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy the tale.


  • A Season With Verona – This is another Italian soccer book, and a personal favorite. A Season With Verona is the story of author Tim Parks following his Hellas Verona team around the country for an entire season – away games, home games, sometimes with the rowdy fans and sometimes with the team itself. It’s as much about Italian fan culture as it is about the game.


  • My Cousin the Saint – If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to have an Italian saint as an ancestor, then you’ll enjoy the tale of someone who does in My Cousin the Saint by Justin Catanoso. You can hear Justin talking about the book and the experiences he writes about in this episode of the Eye on Italy podcast.


  • In Tuscany – Don’t let the author name here fool you, this isn’t just another book in the “Under the Tuscan Sun” series. Instead, In Tuscany by Frances Mayes is primarily a beautiful book of photography that really capture that amazing Tuscan light and shows why Mayes and countless others have been seduced by this region. You’ll also find a few recipes and essays in the book, too, but don’t feel badly if you just page through it looking at the pictures. (That’s what I do.)


  • The Europe Book – While this one isn’t entirely about Italy, The Europe Book gets honorable mention on this list because it’s a lovely coffee table book that covers all of Europe and could inspire even greater travels than an Italy book alone could do. It’s put together by the folks at Lonely Planet, who have a similar book for every continent and one for the whole world as well, in case you’ve got other travel lovers on your gift list.


Music

I happen to be a big fan of Italian music – this is partly because I like to think it helps me learn the language, and partly because there are just some Italian artists that I’ve really come to like quite a bit. The trouble is that keeping this list updated with what’s current on the Italian music scene would be a full-time job. So here are a few classics, plus a few more contemporary Italian pop artists I happen to like, and an invitation to see what new releases the artists listed below have put out since I made this list – or scout out new artists on RadioItalia.it.

  • Sanremo Festival CDs – Each year, Italian musicians compete to represent the country at the European music festival called Eurovision; the competition in Italy is the Sanremo Song Festival, and the compilation CDs that come out after the festival’s over each year are a fun way to find out about new Italian pop music. The current year’s Sanremo CD is as good a place as any to start, though there’s at least one (if not a few) for every year.


  • Pavarotti – The world lost a great tenor when Pavarotti died in 2007, but his voice lives on. With Pavarotti Forever you get a collection of the arias and songs he was best known for. A Pavarotti CD is a must-have for any Italian music collection.


  • Fabrizio de Andre – I’ve heard de Andre described as an Italian Bob Dylan, a singer/songwriter who may be decades in the past but left such a lasting mark both with his music and the messages in his songs that he remains beloved by young and old alike. This 3-CD set of Fabrizio de Andre songs is a great start to any de Andre collection.


  • Andrea Bocelli – Bocelli is kind of a good middle ground for music lovers who can’t quite get into opera all the way, but who like the idea of Italian opera. His album Andrea Bocelli: Incanto came out in 2009, just in time for the holidays, but it’s still a great gift this year.


  • Renato Carosone – One of Carosone’s songs was featured in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and Renato Carosone: I Successi includes not only that song but many others that he was famous for. This is old-school Italian music at its best.


  • Nek – I and other Italian students agree that Nek is a great singer to listen to if you’re learning the language, as he enunciates so clearly. He’s also a great singer with really catchy melodies. Start with Nek: Best of Nek and expand your collection from there.


  • Ligabue – For a bit more of a rock n’roll style, you can’t go wrong with Ligabue. A good place to start is his two-disc Greatest Hits set including Ligabue: Primo Tempo and Ligabue: Secondo Tempo. Either (or both) would be great gifts for the Italy music lover.


  • Eros Ramazzotti – Eros is quite popular in Italy, and is one of the many Italian singers who also records most of his albums in Spanish to appeal to a wider audience. As such, one of the new songs on the Eros Ramazzotti: E2 greatest hits collection is a bouncy duet with Ricky Martin that was all over Italian radio early in 2008.


  • Neffa – Part jazz, part pop, part rap, Neffa is a bit hard to categorize. But whatever he is, I love his music. I particularly love Neffa: Alla Fine Della Notte, but any one of his CDs is a hit as far as I’m concerned.


  • Giusy Ferreri – Ferreri shot to stardom a few years ago on the Italian equivalent of American Idol, and has been called the Italian Amy Winehouse (without the drugs). Her breakout CD was Giusy Ferreri: Gaetana.


Movies/DVDs

Note that DVDs which play on Italian DVD players will not work on DVD players in the United States. There are different types of machinery involved, so you’ll either need two different kinds of players or will need to make very sure that any foreign DVD you’re buying is meant to be played in a US machine.

  • Cinema Paradiso – This Italian classic is beloved the world over, and with good reason. And this deluxe edition of Cinema Paradiso includes both the original theatrical version and the director’s cut, which really changes the way you think about the characters! It’s worth seeing both versions.


  • Il Meglio Gioventù – This drama series aired on Italian TV and was such a hit that it was later released on DVD. It’s a 6-hour marathon if you choose to do it all at once, but The Best of Youth (which is what “Il Meglio Gioventù” means) artfully tells 40+ years of Italian history through the experiences of one Italian family, so it’s worth making the 6-hour commitment.


  • Benvenuti al Sud – If you love the Italian south, you’ll love this film. Benvenuti al Sud is Italian for “Welcome to the South,” and tells the tale of a Milanese postal worker who’s punished with an assignment to work at an office on the coast near Naples. Even if it’s predictable at times, it’s delightfully heartwarming – and the stereotypes the northern people in the film have about the south are no joke, either.


  • Il Postino – While the story told in Il Postino is ultimately a sad one, it’s a gorgeous movie just dripping with incredible southern Italian scenery, not to mention a sweet love story and the poetry of Pablo Neruda. It’s a classic that should be in any Italophile’s collection.


  • Under the Tuscan Sun – Personally, I thought this movie was a little ridiculous (sometimes a lot ridiculous), but it’s hard to beat the scenery. So even if you don’t buy the romantic tale Under the Tuscan Sun is trying to sell, you can just lose yourself in the backgrounds. (And if you’re into this kind of thing, the Italian guy who’s the love interest in the film ain’t bad scenery himself.)


  • My House in Umbria – Although My House in Umbria was actually filmed in neighboring Tuscany, you don’t have to worry about those details. Just sit back and enjoy the Italian landscape.


  • Rick Steves DVDs – Even if you’re not planning a trip to Italy, Rick Steves: Italy’s Cities 2000-2007 is a fun way to get to know the country. It’s a collection of Steves’ programs over the years highlighting the cities of Italy. The companion collection, Rick Steves: Italy’s Countryside 2000-2007, covers – you guessed it – the countryside.


  • Italy Revealed – This interesting program ran on the Discovery Channel some time ago, and although I think some of the stories felt a little forced, the cinematography is gorgeous and the HD DVD makes the colors pop in an unreal way. Italy Revealed may not reveal anything about Italy that you don’t already know, but you’ll have to admit that it’s eye candy.


  • Francesco’s Italy: Top to Toe Francesco da Mosto is the tour guide you’ve never heard of, but once you’re done with this program you’ll wish you could hop into his Alfa Romeo the next time he speeds through Italy. Francesco’s Italy: Top to Toe is only available from the BBC (where the program originally aired), and unless your DVD player is region-free that means the DVD won’t work in American players. In the US, the program ran on the Travel Channel, so you can keep an eye out for it to re-broadcast there, or you can get the BBC book Francesco’s Italy instead.


  • Inside the Tuscan Hills – This series of programs about Tuscany’s hill towns doesn’t rise to the marketing level of Rick Steves or Globe Trekker, but Inside the Tuscan Hills is a charming look at the region through the eyes of the filmmaking couple behind the shows.


Language Learning

There are so many ways to learn a language, it’s important to get the right tool for the right person. You know your Italophile best, so choose the right tool (or tools) from this list to help them on their way to speaking Italian like a pro.

  • Italian Textbook – Whether you’re taking a class or studying on your own, having a good textbook is key. When I was teaching, I used Italian: A Self-Teaching Guide, and I also liked Italian the Easy Way. Some textbooks also come with CDs so you can hear the words pronounced, which can be really helpful (espcially if you’re not taking a class).


  • Italian-English Dictionary – No matter what else you’re doing to learn Italian, a good Italian-English Dictionary is indispensable. I like the Oxford one (I’ve had mine since 2001), but there are dozens to choose from. And for the serious Italian student, there are huge hardcover dictionaries that aren’t very good for travel, but they don’t leave any words out!


  • Italian Phrasebook – For the Italian student who’s planning a trip to Italy, a small phrasebook is a good idea. You may remember all the key things you need to know how to say, but it’s nice to have a cheat-sheet handy just in case. My favorite is the Rick Steves Italian Phrasebook because it’s got everything you’ll need as a traveler with some fun phrases thrown in for humor, and it’s also got a small dictionary in the back.


  • Audio Program – Is your Italophile someone who spends a lot of time commuting? Then a Living Language Audio Italian CD set is a good option. It’s an all-audio course, so there are no books to pay attention to.


  • Computer Software – For the interactive learner without an Italian class nearby to sign up for, Rosetta Stone Italian or some other computer-based language program is a good alternative.


  • Streetwise Italian – And when you need a break from all that polite and useful Italian, pick up a copy of Streetwise Italian and learn all the words your Italian best friends would have taught you and for which you might have gotten your mouth washed out with soap.


  • Italian Magnets – Y’know those poetry magnets that were so popular years ago? Well, they’re multilingual now. You can get Magnetic Poetry: Italian and cover your fridge with Italian words. You may even discover your inner Italian poet. And not even know it. Okay, I’ll stop.


  • Italian Word of the Day Calendar – For a daily reminder of the language you’re trying to learn, pick up the latest year’s edition of a Berlitz Italian Phrase a day Calendar and then try to work your new word or phrase into everyday speech.


  • Language Class – If there’s a community college in your area, consider enrolling your Italophile in a non-credit Italian class. I’ve been both a student and a teacher of classes like that, and they’re great fun from both sides.


Miscellaneous

If you’ve made it this far and still not found that perfect gift for the Italophile in your life, then I hope something on this list of miscellaneous Italian goodies strikes your fancy!

  • Italy Calendar – What better way to enjoy the beauty of Italy every day than with the latest year’s edition of this photo-a-day Italy Calendar? There’s not only a big picture for every month, there’s a small picture for every single day of the year.


  • Italian Flag – No Italophile’s collection of Italian-ness is complete without the tricolore, the Italian Flag! Flagpole not included.


  • Italy Flag Tree Ornament – Who wouldn’t want to show off their Italian pride at the holidays with this lovely glass ornament of the Italian flag? It’s an added bonus that the Italian tricolore is also Christmas colors!


  • I’d Rather Be in Italy Hoodie – When I saw this “I’d rather be in Italy” hoodie, I couldn’t resist including it in the gift guide. I know I could wear this thing every day (at least the days when I’m not actually in Italy, that is).


  • Carthusia Perfume – Anyone who’s been to Capri or the Amalfi Coast has probably heard of Carthusia perfume, the company that was started on the island of Capri hundreds of years ago. The scents are all evocative of the region, and a sweet gift for anyone on your list. (My personal favorite is Mediterraneo; it’s lemon-scented summer in a bottle to me.)


  • Italy Key Chain – You don’t have to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini to have a little bit of Italy with you every time you hop in your car. Heck, you don’t even need a car to need a keychain, and with an Italian flag keychain you can adorn your keys with a bit of Italia.


  • Italy Oval Car Stickers – I don’t know about you, but I miss the old days of all the European car stickers that showed which country a vehicle was from (these days, it’s included in the license plates so no stickers are necessary). Bring back a little bit of the past with your own Italy car sticker, whether you’re in Italy or not.


  • Italian Horn Pendant
  • – Italians are a superstitious lot, and many believe that horns like this one give a person extremely good luck (and ward off bad luck). Even if you don’t believe it, why not wear the pendant – just in case?

  • Venetian Glass – It can actually be kind of risky to buy Venetian glass outside of Venice, because there’s no guarantee you’re getting the real thing. But if you’re not as worried about that and just want something pretty and Venetian-like, then a Venetian Glass Necklace is a nice choice (and this one does say it’s real Murano glass).


  • Florentine Paper – Florentine paper is gorgeous, all colorful curlicues and gold leaf, but if you can’t go to Florence to get it then you can pick up these Florentine Note Cards as a handsome substitute.


  • Italian Soccer Jersey – There’s nothing like showing love for your team by donning their jersey. If your Italophile doesn’t yet have a team, then let me recommend mine – because an AC Milan Jersey goes with any skin tone. And if you’d prefer to show love for country rather than one particular squad, then nothing but an Italian National Soccer Team Jersey will do.


  • Ferrari Gear – Gearheads will appreciate anything bearing the logos of one of the famed Italian auto manufacturers, whether it’s Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, or Fiat, but the one everyone recognizes is the dancing horse of Ferrari that’s displayed so prominently on this Ferrari Shirt.


  • Italian Vocabulary Shower Curtain – Who doesn’t love a bit of whimsy in the bathroom? When you combine whimsy with something that’s actually educational, you’ve got a winner – like with this Italian Vocabulary Shower Curtain. Genius. (Though I’m still not sure why you’d need to learn the word for “pineapple” while you’re showering. I mean, if you wanna shower with a pineapple, I guess that’s your business, but still…)

Dream of Italy Gift Goodies
My friend Kathy of Dream of Italy has a few gift subscription packages for her award-winning newsletter this year, as well as Christmas cards decorated with lovely Italian scenes and Italy-fied gift baskets. The newsletter especially is ideal for any Italophile, and especially for anyone who’s got a trip to Italy planned in the coming year. You’ll find more information about each of these Dream of Italy gift ideas by clicking on the links below:

Whew!

I hope you’ve found something that’ll make the Italy lover on your gift list smile this holiday season, but if you think I’ve left off something that should be featured, please let me know by leaving a comment below!


{ 23 comments }

Cherrye at My Bella Vita November 3, 2008 at 1:17 am
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Mamma Mia! What a list. Nice roundup!

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Max Sanna November 3, 2008 at 3:46 am
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Hi there, being Italian, I have to say you did a good list indeed here.
A few additions? You should definitely add to your music suggestions Tiziano Ferro.
His previous album was “Nessuno e’ solo”, but there’s a new one coming out in 4 days.
http://www.tizianoferro.com/

…and I supppose there are better cooking books than Jamie Oliver’s and his ministry of food lol, but they’re mostly in italian, so not a good choice if you can’t speak the language.

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Selena November 3, 2008 at 3:49 am
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you missed the best italian film ever! it’s called life is beautiful (la vita รจ bella) to me it is the best and most touching film i ever saw! :) check it out. nice list btw. oh and the tuna is good but not really any difference to the US kind. XD sorry

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Anne November 3, 2008 at 8:17 am
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I have asked for a subscription for The Italian magazine..http://www.merricksmagazines.co.uk/issue.php?id=34..great read, great recipes :-)

My husband and I are going to Italy next week, to Liguria :-) 10 days holiday.

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Jessica November 3, 2008 at 11:15 am
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Thanks for the comments, everyone!

@Cherrye – The more I look at this list, the more I think of stuff I want to add to my own wish list this year. :)

@Max – I love Tiziano Ferro, and really like “Nessuno e’ solo” – and the new song I’ve heard on Radio Italia is lovely, can’t wait to get the new album. Thanks for the addition!

@Selena – I like “Life is Beautiful,” I agree it’s a really great film. Thanks for adding it to the list!

@Anne – Magazine subscriptions, another great idea!

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Alex November 3, 2008 at 11:21 am
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Shame on you Jessica, you forgot one of these:

Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione

I want one yesterday!

Alex ;-)

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Jessica November 3, 2008 at 12:12 pm
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Ha… Yes, Alex, that would have been something that might have appeared on this list had the husband been writing it. But it’s my list. And if I *had* included a car, it would have been something like a classic Fiat 500 instead. :)

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Alex November 3, 2008 at 12:20 pm
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Not fair – I shall register an official complaint with the BBTC!

Classic Fiat 500 instead! Pah! At least a classic Lancia Integrale or Stratos!

Yours disappointedly,

Alex
Self appointed President of the newly formed (Big Boys (expensive) Toys Commission)

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Kathy, Dream of Italy November 5, 2008 at 2:37 pm
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Awesome list!

I’d love to tell your readers about holiday gift subscriptions to the award-winning travel newsletter, “Dream of Italy.” This year they’re $15 off and include a Berlitz 4-CD Italian course!

http://www.dreamofitaly.com/gift-subscriptions.html

A great gift for any Italophile or for someone headed to Italy next year.

Kathy McCabe
Dream of Italy

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Karen November 8, 2008 at 5:54 am
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I soooo want number 65 and I don’t even have a bathtub that could warrant the purchase!

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Jessica November 10, 2008 at 9:24 am
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Karen, I know how you feel. I’ve loved that shower curtain with a passion ever since I happened upon it while making up this list. I remain confused as to why you’d need to learn the words “pineapple” or “book” or “vegetables” while bathing, but the fact remains that it’s quite possibly the coolest shower curtain ever.

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Joy December 10, 2008 at 2:05 pm
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ItalyShoppe.com has amazing photographs of Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Lucca available on multiple applications. Canvas prints, fine art prints, posters, greeting/note cards, clocks, and more. Great stuff for those who love Italy!

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Joy December 10, 2008 at 2:06 pm
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Oops! I didn’t include the link in the proper format in my previous post. Here it is:

http://www.ItalyShoppe.com

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Tiziana July 26, 2009 at 4:14 am
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Hi…………..

Makes me home sick !!!!!!!!!

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Debbie November 6, 2009 at 5:44 pm
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i loved all the ideas. but 63 PWNS THEM ALL. The way you sold it is sooo true, Rossoneri colors look GOOOOD on everyone. I need to get myself sooooooo many things from this list.

And I agree with Perugina Baci once you taste them nothing will ever top their yummy flavor.

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Rose in Cali November 9, 2009 at 8:44 am
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What an EXCELLENT post! Grazie mille!

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Chris (Amateur Traveler) November 28, 2010 at 9:57 am
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There is a World Nutella Day! Oh count me in. Although when I think Nutella I think of Belgium where we first encountered it.

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Jessica November 29, 2010 at 9:50 am
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There is, indeed – http://www.nutelladay.com/ – started by my Eye On Italy co-host, Sara!

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Pamela Marasco December 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm
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Regional artisan Italian food products and handcrafted items based on 10 years and 10,000 miles traveling, eating, cooking and shopping with my Italian family and friends in Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria available at CosituttiMarketPlace.com .

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Brian Zygo December 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm
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The Miracle of Castel di Sangro is a great book, I highly, highly recommend. As for calcio jerseys – I prefer Roma jerseys ;-)

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Jessica December 15, 2010 at 8:04 pm
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I can’t comment on your Roma affiliation, but I will say I’ve steered clear of “Miracle of Castel di Sangro” because of what I’ve heard about the ending. I’ve heard it’s a very good book, but that the ending is frustrating for anyone who kind of understands “how it works” in Italian soccer… That the author is annoyed with something that’s a cultural given. I’m sure I’ll read it someday, but it’s not as high on my list. Did you read “A Season With Verona?” I just adored that book…

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Francesca Maggi December 26, 2010 at 10:08 am
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I love this list! Have posted it on my blog, but can’t figure out how to do a ‘LINK TO THIS BLOG’…Grazie mille!

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Alf Welch December 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm
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Fabulous Jessica,
With several Italian friends you have made my job of birthday and Christmas presents ideas
so much easier. A comprehensive list that will satisfy everyones taste of an ideal gift for an Italian friend. Great idea to do this.
Cheers,
Alf Welch

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