The whole world knows that Italy is fashionable. It was shocking to me when I heard how much the Milanese spend each year on new clothes. The Italians don’t share their shopping secrets with anyone outside of Italy. They are also bargain hunters. Italians love to shop at outlet malls and go crazy during official sales periods.
Although I don’t know what your local laws are, in the United States any shop owner can declare a sale at any time. While there are big sales on holidays, individual shoe shop owners can have an annual sale to honor Immelda Marcos’ birthday. Not so in Italy. Each year, there are two sales periods in Italy – summer and winter – where every shop can have clearance sales lasting 6-8 weeks.
Looking for specific information about a sale? Here are the steps to get it.
This is my favorite website for finding sales dates for specific regions in Italy. (Each region and city can set their own dates, but it sometimes takes a while to update).
Sottocoperta isn’t yet updated for 2018. This page contains the dates for winter 2018, broken down by region.
One note about the Sottocoperta website: It is in Italian. Scroll down to see the list. The “SALDI INVERALI” are winter sales dates and the “SALDI ESTIVI” are summer sales dates. Some sites have fixed dates, others have a start and end date. Others run for “per 60 giorni”, or for 60 consecutive days.
Many tourists won’t travel to Italy in January because it isn’t the right weather for their ideal vacation. However, January is a great time to visit if you are a shopaholic.
The winter sales period begins in January, typically near the beginning of each month. It lasts until mid-February, or until all inventory is gone.
Italy’s summer sales season coincides with July, which is also one of the most visited months for tourists. It was July when I first visited Italy. I didn’t know what a treat all those sales were. I would have brought an extra suitcase if I had known.
Summer sales start in July and continue through mid-August, or until all inventory is gone.
What you need to know about sales in Italy
- SALDI is the word that you must know. It’s easy to remember because you’ll be seeing it everywhere. It stands for “sales” and is displayed in every shop window with the current percentage discount.
- Each year, the dates of each sales period change. They also vary by region. So you might find sales in Milan, but only a few days in Rome.
- Everybody puts inventory up for sale, even high-end designers. Boutiques sometimes offer invitation-only sales to their regular customers, and then the rest are made available to the general public.
- The prices tend to fall during sales periods so some shoppers may wait until the end to secure the best deal. However, the tradeoff is that the selection decreases. For example, you might get a great deal on shoes but find that it only comes in one size.
- These sales are not for tourists. This is where many Italians shop for their major-ticket items for the year.
- These sales periods are often fraught with danger, as people can get aggressive when they see a shop selling out. You might find yourself digging through heaps of clothing at a discount to find a gem. This is serious shopping, there’s nothing to prim and proper about it.