Italy Roundtable: Essential Toiletries to Buy in Italy

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Over the last five years, it has been possible to plan ahead for weeks what I would write about for the Italy Roundtable. Other topics I realize only a few days in advance that there is a Roundtable post.

This month falls under the second category.

It’s good to know that I was just calling a friend about a trip to Italy when I came across the topic of Health. She had a question that she wanted answered and I didn’t have the answer on Italy Explained. This is one-third packing and one-third shopping. It might not be the perfect match for this month’s topic, but that’s part of being your boss.

When I say I want readers of Italy Explained to feel like they are getting travel advice from a friend when I mean it, My high school friend Amy contacted me via Facebook to ask questions about her trip to Venice. I knew a few links to send her, and the information I had already written was nearly identical to what I would have typed to answer her questions.

One exception was one I had not yet answered. I knew I had looked at it in a few articles, but I didn’t know the answer. Amy was right to wonder what liquids she could not bring from home due to the liquid restrictions on flights. However, she didn’t want half an hour searching for toothpaste.

So, I’m here to tell you all about the wonderful Italian pharmacies and the many random items you can pick up upon your arrival. You should bring some items with you. I have listed them below.

This means that I don’t just think of my Italy explained readers as my friends; I also think of them as my friends.

Continue reading:

The Pharmacy in Italy Sells Liquids

You may be surprised to find that many of your favorite brands are available in Italy. Even if you don’t speak the language, it makes buying toothpaste or shampoo much simpler. You will still need to learn some words so you don’t buy hand lotions when you were supposed to use body wash.

(Just ask me why that is an example.

Here is a list of vocabulary for your pharmacy visit:

  • Shampoo – shampoo (SHAM|pooh)
  • Conditioner – balsamo (BAL|sah|moh)
  • Shower Gel/Body Wash – saponetta (sah|poh|NET|tah)
  • kah)
  • Hair Gel – gel (jell)
  • Toothpaste – dentifricio (den|tee|FREE|chyoh)
  • ZYOH

Indigestion Remedies

As I mentioned, Italians are semi-obsessed in digestion. Therefore, Italian shops stock many treatments for stomach problems. Maalox and Immodium can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Also, Citrosodina is a water-soluble tablet similar to Alka-Seltzer. If you don’t have any severe digestive problems, you can probably pick up some medication for a tummyache while you’re in Italy.

What pharmacy items should you bring from home?

  • Prescriptions– Although it may seem obvious, any prescriptions that you have should be taken with you. You can pack them in your bag and keep the original bottles in your luggage. This will make it easier for pharmacists or doctors to refill prescriptions.
  • Painkillers These are pills, not liquids. However, there is another reason to buy painkillers in Italy from your home. It’s cheaper. While you can find ibuprofen and other pain relief products in Italy they are likely to be more expensive than those that you would find at home. When family members visit from the United States, Advil bottles purchased at Costco are a common item that they request.
  • mah soh It’s common to spend a lot of time outdoors in Italy during summer, whether you’re at the beach or walking through Pompeii. So it is advisable that you bring your sunscreen with higher SPF.

++ Reader and friend Laurel, who lived in Rome, left a comment. I wanted to highlight it here for anyone who doesn’t like comments. “I found high-sun sunscreen easy to find in the Italian pharmacy.” Dermatologists are now recommending that SPF 50 be used in order to prevent skin cancer. … These brands include La Roche-Posay Anthelios and Eucerin as well as Vichy, Heliocare, and Vichy.

Pharmacy vs. Grocery Store

Italy’s most charming food market is not a large grocery store, but it does have them. There are often small pharmacies inside, just like in big grocery stores.

I find pharmacies more common (they are even found in most train stations), but if a grocery store is nearby before you go to a pharmacy, you will usually be able to find the basic necessities (shampoos, toothpastes, etc.). there. Most medications of any type can be found only in pharmacies.

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14 Responses to “Italy Roundtable – Basic Toiletries to Purchase in Italy”

  • Greg Speck said:

    I was blown away by the simple idea of sunscreen. It is a pleasure to shop at the ferramenta and farmacia in Italy, as we are able to find what we need. As we prepared for our fall trip I was debating whether or not to bring sunscreen. This is the answer to that question. We are grateful for your assistance. Grazie.

  • Jessica. Hi Jessica. I was able to find sunscreen with high SPF at a pharmacy in Italy. Dermatologists are now recommending that SPF 50 be used in order to prevent skin cancer. A doctor in Amercia published a newsletter praising Italian products. It seems that they contain an ingredient that is effective and American products don’t. Did I save the article? I can’t find it if I saved it. It is easy to find, so tourists can bring small tubes from home and stop at the farmacia to get a vacation-sized supply.

    • Jess has the following:

      Wow! It must have been a habit of mine to go to the wrong pharmacies because I have never seen it. It’s good to have this information!

  • Karen Cookerly:

    Hi

    Just as I was finishing up a package of Italian cough drops, I was telling my mother about a pharmacy experience. It was extremely painful when I accidentally got something in my eye. My cornea was scratched. I was accompanied by a tour guide to Sorrento’s pharmacy. There are doctors available for appointments at certain times. I was given eye drops and told that I would feel better the next day. I did. After waiting hours in a clinic and being referred to a specialist who charged a high copay, the eye drops were exactly what I received here in the U.S. I was amazed. I paid only 12 Euros instead of @$100. It is a country I love for many reasons.

  • Sarah

    Hi! Hi! The sunscreen for children has the highest SPF.

    • Jess has the following:

      Sarah, thank you for your note! Next time I visit Italy, I will search again. Either I was too optimistic or hit the wrong stores. I have updated the article so that others can have better luck.

  • MarshaM says:

    Ladies, whatever you do, make sure to keep a month’s supply of menstrual products. It’s not unusual for cycles to change as you travel. I searched Venice for the supplies that I needed in an emergency, but was surprised at how many there were. As the Google map-referenced pharmacy was closed, I had to run some extremely expensive pads down at a convenience store. Trust me, this is not the search you want. This may save someone’s trip.

    • Jess has the following:

      Marsha, thanks for your warning! Although I do remember having to purchase tampons from Italy once before, it was many years ago. I don’t recall the experience as being very stressful. Perhaps I was just lucky.