January might not be the hottest month in Italy weather-wise, but it’s one of the hottest months in terms of shopping. Unlike in the U.S., Italy has two national sales periods each year – in January and July – when every store has massive discounts on some of its best merchandise. We’re not talking about the creepy sale rack at the back of the store with all the crap from last season that no one else wants. We’re talking about the good stuff. Okay, maybe not all the good stuff, but enough good stuff to make people line up to get in to the stores. Because when you say the words “Prada” and “50% off” in the same sentence, even jaded Italian shoppers get excited. (Case in point – see those people in line in that photo? They’re Italians waiting to get into the Gucci sale in Milan.)
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For some basic information, you can check out my post from last year on the January sales in Italy. Official sales periods will differ depending on the city or region, but most of them get started in early January and run through mid-February. Some last into early March – including Milan’s sales, which is exceptionally wonderful because that’s where all the top Italian fashion designers have their flagship stores – for maximum shopping potential. And for some more information, including some dates of 2008 sales periods in Italy, see this article.
So, although you might be dealing with rain and cold weather in January, the only people you’ll be fighting for that Gucci handbag are the Italians. If you’re in Italy in July, then you’re fighting other tourists as well. Grab your passport – and your credit cards – and jet over to Italy for some hard-core shopping.
Photo by: Gian Floridia