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Italy in April (where to find the hard to find)

AlexanderTG

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Hi there all,

First time poster. Nice to be here on the ol' SF.

I'm off to a trip to Italy in April and am looking for some off-the-beaten-path suggestions for shopping.

Going to fly into Milan but head over to Largo di Garda (Sirmione, to be exact). Train it to the Salone design fest on 4/17 and then on to the biggies--Venice, Florence, and Rome. I'll be in the country for just about two weeks.

Though I'd love to think there was a way to visit the Diesel factory and see how my Margiela sandals were made I'm guessing that's not something that happens in real life.

Failing that I'm hoping someone out there has any suggestions for places to shop that are a little less famous but for all the right reasons. I hear about the leather markets and the hand made items. I'm sure so much of it is all made for tourists. I'm just looking for any guidance towards something a bit more unique and hard to find.

Thanks so much to any who take the time to read or respond.

~Alex
 

Find Finn

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I'm going to Salone as well, I currently have planed to check out Corso Como and Incotex etc.

If you aren't used to dealing with Italians bring a stress ball, as you are going to want to punch people left and right.
 

cioni2k

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Originally Posted by Find Finn
I'm going to Salone as well, I currently have planed to check out Corso Como and Incotex etc.

If you aren't used to dealing with Italians bring a stress ball, as you are going to want to punch people left and right.


I work in Northern Italy >30% of the year. Italians are a funny bunch of people
 

AlexanderTG

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Find Finn, just a quick question: are you going to Salone as a public visitor? The reason I ask is that that's what I'm doing and I'm concerned that I don't have an advance ticket. The website doesn't say more than tickets will be available for the public on Sunday and I'm guessing the place is swamped on the day they let the public in.

Thanks.
 

Find Finn

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Originally Posted by cioni2k
I work in Northern Italy >30% of the year. Italians are a funny bunch of people


Yeah they are an acquired taste.



Originally Posted by AlexanderTG
Find Finn, just a quick question: are you going to Salone as a public visitor?

Nope work
 

makker

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What is this Salone thing?

Regards, idiot who doesn't know anything.

P.S. Agreed with the opinions on Italians. After a few months in Italy I already need to see a therapist.
 

AlexanderTG

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The Salone is a furniture and design expo. http://www.cosmit.it/tool/home.php?s=0,2,67,71,75 What's the deal with Italians? Do they resent Americans (assuming you guys are yanks). I mean, I've been to a lot of places where people aren't the friendliest (France, Germany, etc.) but I have only heard nice things about Italy. Being a tourist willing to spend some cash at the beginning of the tourist season I'm hoping they'll at least fake it for me.
 

Xericx

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little rough around the edges.

I was in Torino last year which isn't far from the lakes/Milan, enjoyed it Lots of museums there. Was there for the Shroud of Turin exhibit.
 

Find Finn

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Originally Posted by makker
What is this Salone thing?
Salone is the biggest trade show during Milan design week and Milan design week is the biggest and most renowned the design week in the world, a lot of companies only show at Salone, so if you want to know what is going to be the next big thing in furniture and design, it's the place to be.
Originally Posted by AlexanderTG
What's the deal with Italians? Do they resent Americans (assuming you guys are yanks). I mean, I've been to a lot of places where people aren't the friendliest (France, Germany, etc.) but I have only heard nice things about Italy. Being a tourist willing to spend some cash at the beginning of the tourist season I'm hoping they'll at least fake it for me.
I'm Scandinavian and I look Italian, so that isn't why, the problem is that outside the main tourist areas the average Italian doesn't speak any English, most of them only speak Italian and a select few speaks German and the Italians also think that the world revolts around them, so there's only one way of doing things and it's their way, even if it doesn't work outside of Italy. The traffic laws
No one cares about the speed limits as they are ridiculously low on the Autostrada (autostrada = tollroad) between Venice/Mestre and Udine the speed limit is 80kph and it's a 4 lane motorway, most people on there is doing between 110 and 150kph, so if you are doing 80, you wont be popular and the further south you the more is starts to resemble South America
If you are going to Venice check out mainland Venice aka Mestre they have some nice shops and restaurants around the Via Gino Allegri area
 

wootx

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Originally Posted by Find Finn
If you aren't used to dealing with Italians bring a stress ball, as you are going to want to punch people left and right.

No words were truer.

Originally Posted by cioni2k
Italians are a funny bunch of people

No words were truer.

Originally Posted by Find Finn
I'm Scandinavian and I look Italian, so that isn't why, the problem is that outside the main tourist areas the average Italian doesn't speak any English, most of them only speak Italian and a select few speaks German and the Italians also think that the world revolts around them, so there's only one way of doing things and it's their way, even if it doesn't work outside of Italy.

The traffic laws
No one cares about the speed limits as they are ridiculously low on the Autostrada (autostrada = tollroad) between Venice/Mestre and Udine the speed limit is 80kph and it's a 4 lane motorway, most people on there is doing between 110 and 150kph, so if you are doing 80, you wont be popular and the further south you the more is starts to resemble South America


Indeed, do not expect people to talk any english. With a little struggle (and the help of your beloved stress ball) you can successfully communicate -- you only have to have a little creativity to understand some of the worst-pronounced, out-of-context, badly-translated-from-italian english words.


As for places to visit, etc. I would suggest skipping some of your destinations. Since you have two weeks only to spend in italy, you would be in a rush if you goal was to drop by Milan, Venice and Mestre, Florence and Rome.

If you wish to stay up north, you can surely stay some time by the Lago di Garda, which is beautiful in spring, then go east towards Venice and Mestre to checkout glasses and such. You could then move south and stumble upon Verona, which is on the way to Bologna and Florence.

If can then fly (or take a train?) to Rome.

If you had more time, I would definitely encourage you go further in the south (trying your luck on the autostrada) and spend some time in Palermo 8Sicily) or in the Salento (Puglia, in the area of Lecce and Bari): by April it's not unusual the weather closely resembles summer and you can lazy around on the beautiful beaches. Palermo is probably one of the most beautiful cities I've lived (even though for a short while, and despite its inhabitants).

I'm italian, by the way.
 

foodguy

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Originally Posted by Find Finn
the problem is that outside the main tourist areas the average Italian doesn't speak any English, most of them only speak Italian and a select few speaks German and the Italians also think that the world revolts around them, so there's only one way of doing things and it's their way, even if it doesn't work outside of Italy.

so in other words, they're just like americans?
 

Ratatan

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In Italy, people will love you if you have learned some words and expressions in Italian and if you show interest and respect for the things they are passionate about. Communication works very well with facial expressions and hand gestures.

It's obviously a good thing to learn some Italian before travelling to Italy, but obviously not a must.

(It would be a lot harder to travel the US without some basic knowledge of English...)
 

West24

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when i travelled europe i would tell people how friendly the italians were to me and everyone was shocked. i actually found them to probably be the nicest people i encountered in europe. maybe because im also layed back and like to joke around, i felt italians were great. in milan at the bar gave us free drinks etc, lady in the train offering us her cake. when asking for directions people would walk with us where to go etc. i can imagine if your uptight or in a rush you could really find problems in italy.
 

foodguy

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yes, i remember being stranded in the back streets of venice (took one wrong turn ... if you've been there you know what that means). we'd wandered for the better part of two hours looking for the apartment we'd rented. finally left my wife and bags and struck out on my own. asked some very proper looking lady for directions and she walked me 20 minutes to the spot, then insisted on taking me back to where my wife was and walking us both back to the apartment because there was no way i'd be able to find her on my own. i've found them to be really warm and hospitable. i did take the trouble to learn some language.
 

AlexanderTG

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Thanks to all who responded.

I didn't know about Corso Como, but I do now. Looks like my kind of design/fashion amusement park.

As for too-much-in-two-weeks, we're designed the trip so we have three days in each place we go: Venice, Sirmione, Florence, and Rome, with a day trip to Milan for the Salone. I wish we had more time but it's all we could swing this time.

We have some sweet hotels picked out and I think this will be the perfect way to herald the coming springtime.

I'm hoping to blend in a bit better than I can imagine other Americans do. And I'm going to at least learn a few phrases in Italian. I've learned from traveling that all you really need to do is show you care a little and people are much more inviting and willing to help. It's the least I can do traveling outside my egocentric little country. We'll see.

My goals:

1. Cashmere

2. New leather jacket

3. Heavenly pasta

Will make sure to share when I can.

Thanks again,

~A
 

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