Home italy 10 Italian Gift Ideas (That Are Not Snow Globes)

10 Italian Gift Ideas (That Are Not Snow Globes)

written by M.E. Evans August 11, 2017

If you’re anything like me, you like little keepsakes that remind you of the places you’ve been. In Italy, it can be a little hard to find gifts that aren’t’ ridiculously overpriced or just really lame. I mean, how many snow globes can one person own? And who needs to spend 40 euros on a 1 oz boot-shaped bottle of lemon liquor. So, here’s a list of awesome stuff you can gift your friends, family, or yourself that will stir up so much nostalgia.

  1. Alcohol. On every trip that I take, regardless of where it is, I bring back something for my bar. In Italy, you have a ton of options from a bottle of Chianti, Brunello Di Montepulciano, Limoncello, Fernet Blanc, or my husband’s favorite Grappa. I generally go with the Brunello and Francesco usually gifts our baffled friends a bottle of Grappa. And they’re like, why does this taste like burning? Pro Tip: Skip the novelty stores that sell Limoncello in a boot-shaped bottle and head to the grocery store.
  2. Truffles. Truffle products are delicious and expensive but you can find amazing truffle products in Italy for a good price. My favorite product is truffle honey but you can also find truffle salts, pate, and truffle oil. I serve truffle honey at parties and guests go crazy for the stuff. Pro tip: Just like with alcohol, skip the novelty shops and head for the grocery store. Coop has a decent selection of truffle products that are cheap and high quality.
  3. Art. Italy is full of talented artists and you can practically trip and fall on a future genius. While on your trip, check out some local shows and take home something badass, unique and made in Italy. I personally know a ton of local talent and am more than happy to connect you with some talented people if you just write and ask.
  4. Map prints. I’m not huge on scenic photos unless I take them myself and they’re personally meaningful but I love map prints. I just got this map of Florence and I absolutely love it because it goes with our mid-century modern/Scandinavian decor and reminds me of the city I love so much. It’s seriously perfect for people like me who love Florence but also prefer modern decor over giant paintings of the Duomo. The maps come in red, black and white and make a super rad gift for friends and family. I have the black one and as soon as I hang it up I’ll update this post with pic of it all up and cute.
  5. Shoes. Italy is famous for shoes and the country is packed with beautiful shoes that will last you a lifetime (with good care and maybe a small repair every once in a while) Splurge on a pair and I promise you will not regret it. Pro tip: Look for shoes that are made-in-Italy with quality stitching and materials. Like the rest of the world, Italy is becoming increasingly full of cheap products that were made in China.
  6. Bialetti Moka Percolator. At our wedding, we gifted the little single serve ones to our guests and they loved them. They’re inexpensive in Italy and make the best espresso. Pro-Tip: Watch a youtube video before using it. And don’t forget to put water in it. Sounds really obvious but I’ve done that-twice.
  7. Books. The Divine Comedy by Dante in its original Florentine is a great gift for all of the lit nerds out there (like me). Even if you can’t read the poems without Google translate, there’s something really great about having a classic in its original form. When I travel, I collect my favorite foreign books in its original language. Among my favorites: The Divine Comedy and The Unbearable Lightness of Being in its original Czech.
  8. Antiques. There are vintage fairs and flea markets all over the country and you can find some incredible things from lamps to hand-knitted lace table clothes. You can find the daily flea market in Piazza CiompiEvery 3rd Sunday of the month this explodes into surrounding streets.
  9. Cookbooks. While you might not be able to read them, it’s worth taking the time to translate the recipes because you won’t find these Italian recipes in Italian cookbooks at home.
  10. Your own pictures. I know, this isn’t technically a gift but it’s my go-to keepsake for trips. I take a bunch of pics, choose the best ones, and order a little book from Artifact Uprising. Their books are super high quality, they use a classy Matte paper, and you can add whatever text you want (like a little blurb about the trip such as, I fell three minutes later because of too much wine. Italy, 2017).

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Susan Peebles August 12, 2017 at 8:46 am

Wonderful ideas. I love limoncello and grappa. I’m holding on to a couple of bottles of Vatican wiwine I got at the Vatican grocery store.

Janet Furr August 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

These are incredibly great tips!! Thank you so much for the suggestion to try Coop!! Hope to be going to Perugia next year & Puglia & Calabria. Any specific suggestions for these places?

M.E. Evans August 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Thanks Janet! There are a lot of local products from those areas that will make great gifts. Off the top of my head, Calabria uses more heat in the kitchen than a lot of the rest of Italy. You can find chili peppers in oil that are amazing and so so hot. Candy with Pistachio is always a good find in the south. And tons more stuff, honestly, I’d head to the grocery and see what you can find.

Katy August 23, 2017 at 12:58 pm

For Perugia I would recommend Perugina chocolates, baci are usually a hit (for a tour the factory is just outside the city center, but all grocery stores will have them). If red wine would be a hit there is the famous Sagrantino grape from Montefalco (a very lovely small town just south of Perugia). There are also some great vineyards near Lago Trasimeno. The famous Deruta pottery (I buy mine at the Mercantino- second hand shops) or the wooden San Francesco crosses from Assisi. And back to food there are truffles-and depending on when you visit you can even go truffle hunting which can be great chance to get out in the Umbrian woods. Hope that helps, Katy

venus August 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm

I Bringing gifts can be a bit tricky for sure, Anything I bring from Italy is embraced with open arms , It’s easy because they have such great stuff..wines, liquor, leather, rosary beads. But I never hear from the opposite side of the fence..bringing gifts to friends and relatives in Italy. A few years back, I brought Godiva chocolate liquor to my zia Hortenzia, she looked at me, head cocked to the side and said ” per mi:? Si I said, she again looked at me and repeated “per MI”? and that’s when I realized I brought her the wrong friggen gift. I put on my smile face and said” it’s chocolate!” I had brought all the family Godiva chocolate liquor that visit. I can just hear it now “Can you believe she brought us this stuff with chocolate? what’s wrong with her? no wonder they are all fat”. Another time it was perfumes and cologne. So now I will be going again to Italy at the end of September and again I am faced with what to bring. What can’t they get there ?. what item is desirable there? baseball or football caps or shirts? A Florida t shirt ?( I live in Florida) maybe a Disney item?, A southern Americia cook book? I’d probably be expelled from the home for the cook book. They all want tech stuff but that’s just not do-able. I know my cousin likes this face cleanser she cant get there so that one is a no brainer, but any input would be welcome.

M.E. Evans August 12, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I always do makeup, skin products and weird things like beef jerky for the guys. Levi’s are very expensive in Italy and cheap in the US. Same with Converse. If I brought a cookbook they’d kill me. And they don’t like any food items except for novelty things like Jerky. My father in law loves Malbec wine. But that’s risky to bring wine to Italy from another country. Lol

Un po' di pepe September 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

I live in Vancouver Canada, and I bring smoked salmon for my family and friends when I go to Italia every year. Sometimes I bring notecards of my artwork that I get printed on Moo.com. This year, I also brought some of them a print- my woodcut of a Bialetti Moka! oh and I bring zip-loc bags. isn’t much else you can’t get in 🇮🇹. Ciao, Cristina

dhannon August 13, 2017 at 11:11 am

II like to buy beautiful ceramic Christmas ornaments, these are always well received as gifts to my U.S. friends.. Also, kitchen utensils, I love my beautiful fish server, pizza cutter and ice cream scoop as well as other odds and ends that I use daily in my kitchen. It’s so nice to use something beautiful from your travels whilst cooking every day. As far as what I take to Italian friends, I always ask up front. One always wants cans of tennis balls (cheap from Costco) because they’re expensive there. Another loves Progresso clam chowder in the cans, it reminds him of his trip to New England. I let them tell me what they want because they are usually quite specific about what they like/want!
I will definitely be on the lookout for the truffle honey on my next trip and you’re absolutely right, buy food items at an Italian grocery store, not some fancy tourist store. I often buy bags and boxes of Italian chocolates at the grocery store to bring home as gifts too.

kandykate August 18, 2017 at 6:15 am

I was recently curious about gifts for kids back home in the US. I ordered a bunch of hand made suede booties from Italy’s Etsy. I also bought some cute books that include cds of popular Italian kids songs. (about 10 euro at our local kids bookstore)

kandykate August 18, 2017 at 6:20 am

And since my in-laws are in Perugia, we often give people Dertuta ceramics, specifically Raffaelesco which is a really great gift for young people too because the design is very interesting. And Perugina chocolate of course. They make really nice tins and other gifts along with the chocolate.

Dan@Italophile September 8, 2017 at 11:17 am

Your Moka as a wedding gift to your guests sounds like a brilliant idea. That’s my go-to gift for all my friends basically. Installing an italophile seed in them with every coffee thereafter 😀

M.E. Evans September 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Omg. I read that as “an Italians seed in them.” And was like WHOA! Lol


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