Shopping in Italy can a bit different from shopping in the United States. Prices are fixed at permanent stores and shopping centers, but when shopping at open air street markets you can negotiate unbelievable deals. For a successful market experience, you need to become familiar with an Italian custom: bartering. Often, it takes Americans some time to get used to bartering. Americans are used to going to stores and paying whatever price is marked on the item. While that is true of Italian stores, in the markets – the rows of stalls set out in alleys or back streets – you can buy almost anything for any price you and the seller can agree upon. Food items and fruit and vegetable prices are not haggled over very much. The buying and selling of items becomes much more involved, intricate and exciting when you barter. You and the vendor have to agree on a price. If you pay the price marked or the one the vendor first mentions, he or she will gladly take your money, but probably would have settled for less. One warning, though: if you offer a certain price and after haggling, the seller agrees to it, you are not legally bound, but by custom you are expected to pay the agreed price. If you don’t really want it, don’t keep bartering.
Be certain that when purchasing items from street vendors, especially in some areas around Naples Central Station at Piazza Garibaldi, that what you’ve bought hasn’t been replaced by bricks or paper-stuffed boxes after it is wrapped in paper and handed to you. Also, if deals on things such as electronics sold on the street seem too good to be true, they probably are. More than one American in the past has bought a genuine hand-carved wooden “VCR.” Caveat emptor – buyer beware! You may also hear other Americans talk about the “alleys,” like Gold Alley, Shoe Alley or Christmas Alley. These are names Americans have given to markets in certain streets of Naples. Here, you usually see stands outside, but some are connected to adjacent stores, like Christmas Alley. Or the name simply comes from the street where there are many shops of a particular kind, like Gold Alley.
Open Air Markets and “Alleys”
The following is a list of some open-air and similar markets in the area, when they are open and what main items are sold. Many are on side streets and parking is a problem.
The best bet is to take public transportation or park your car as close as you can and walk the rest of the way. If you can’t find it right away, look for people carrying bags and ask, “Dov’è il mercatino?” Pointing should then get you there.
-Mercato delle Pulci: Open Sundays from 0800-1400. Main items: second-hand items, coins, lamps, tables and a few real antiques. Located on Via Poggioreale, near the graveyard, northeast of Naples Central Station at Piazza Garibaldi. Take the Metropolitana to Piazza Garibaldi and then walk or take a bus/trolley.
-Shoe Alley: Open Sunday, Monday and Friday from 0700-1400. Main items: shoes, clothing and sewing material. Located on Via Marino di Caramanico. Take the Corso Malta Tangenziale exit, go straight until the first stop light, and then turn left on Via Nuova Poggioreale. Via Marino di Caramanico is the second side street off via Nuova Poggioreale.
-Gold Alley: Open normal shopping hours. Main items: gold and jewelry. Located on Via San Biagio dei Librai. Take the Metropolitana to Piazza Cavour, walk down the main road east, turn right on Via Duomo, then turn right four blocks later onto Via San Biagio dei Librai.
-Christmas Alley: Open normal shopping hours except around Christmas, when shops stay open later at night and on Sundays. Located on Via San Gregorio Armeno, whichconnects to Via San Biagio dei Librai. Main items: presepe (nativity scenes) and figurines, which are often very elaborate. Naples is famous for these items. The Intercultural Relations tour during your orientation will show you where the street is. Follow directions as to Gold Alley.
-Thieves Alley (Mercato Duchesca): Open Monday through Saturday from 0900-1930. Main items: clothing, sportswear and equipment, camping gear, radio and stereo gear, some furniture and furnishings. Located in the many narrow streets due west of the main train station behind the statue of Garibaldi. This is a commercial district, and most tables of items for sale are located just outside small shops.
-Posillipo market: Open Thursdays from 0800-1330. Main items: luxury goods and clothing. Find great bargains on designer items. Located along Viale Virgilio, alongside Parco Virgiliano in Naples’ Posillipo district.
-Vomero market (Mercato di Antignano): Open Monday through Saturday from 0900-1400. Main items: fruit and vegetables, clothing, household items. Located in the Vomero section of Naples, about six blocks from the funicolari stations. From Piazza Vanvitelli, follow Via Bernini about four blocks to the north. The edge of the market will be on the left.
-Fuorigrotta market: Open Monday through Saturday from 0900-1400. Main items: fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese and other foods; plus kitchen gadgets, household items and plasticware. Located directly across the street from the Cumana train station in Fuorigrotta, about six blocks from the soccer stadium. There is a small alley leading to the market. This market is semi permanent, covered with standing stalls, although some vendors drive up trucks and park them around the outside.
-Antiques market: Open Sunday from 0800-1400. Main items: antiques. Located in the Villa Comunale, a city park that sits along the Naples waterfront between Mergellina and the Castel dell’Ovo. Drive, or take the Metropolitana to Mergellina, walk to the water, turn left and walk to the park.
-Bagnoli market: Open Monday through Saturday from 0800-1930. Main items: similar to the Fuorigrotta market. Located in Bagnoli in the side streets just down from the Metropolitana train station, which is about two blocks from the JFC front gate.
-Pozzuoli fish market: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 0700-1300. Opens earlier Sunday, which is the best day to go. Main items: fresh seafood of all types. Located along the pier in old Pozzuoli, near the Tempio Serapide and the ferry and hydrofoil landings.
There are also smaller suburban markets like those in Monterusciello and on Via Staffetta in Lago Patria, for example. Ask your sponsor, landlord and neighbors for details.
Of course, Italy has many stores and shops. Italy is world-famous for some items like leather goods from Florence and glass from Venice. The Naples region is famous for its porcelain and pottery (from Capodimonte and Vietri, for example), inlaid wood (from Sorrento) and cameo and coral work (from Torre del Greco, in particular). Main shopping districts in Naples include Chiaia, Vomero and the Via Roma/Via Toledo area downtown.
Many stores in Naples range from small corner shops to larger department stores like Coin. You can find super – mercati (supermarkets) and centri commerciali (shopping centers). Some, like Panorama in Formia, Ikea in Afragola, Medì in Teverola, Campania Mall and Outlet la Reggia in Caserta, and Auchan in Giugliano are large enough to rightly claim to be U.S.-style malls.
Shopping hours tend to be Monday through Saturday from 0900-1330 and then from late afternoon (1600-1630) to 2000. Smaller shops tend to close in the afternoon, but shopping centers are open all day and also on Sundays. You will find some shops open on Sunday mornings in busy shopping areas such as Vomero, but smaller shops are rarely open after lunchtime on Sundays and many close for the entire day.
Following is a list of shopping-related Italian words and phrases.
· Alimentari: Grocery
· Arredamento: Furnishings store
· Barbiere: Barber
· Cartoleria: Stationery store
· Caseificio: Cheese store
· Elettrodomestici: Electric appliances shop
· Enoteca: Larger wine store
· Ferramenta: Hardware
· Frutta e Verdura: Fruit and vegetable stand
· Gioielleria: Jeweler
· Libreria: Book store
· Latticini: Dairy products
· Macelleria: Butcher shop
· Mobili: Furniture store
· Moda: “Fashion”; clothing store, usually for women’s clothes
· Panetteria: Bakery
· Parrucchiere: Hairdresser
· Riparazione auto/gomme: Auto/tire repair shop
· Salumeria: Delicatessen; a small grocery store usually with a deli case with cheeses and cold meats and salami
· Supermercato: A larger store, usually primarily a grocery, but some also include other items
· Vini, vini e olii: Wine store, wine and oil (and olives) store. Although less common, some have wine and oil in casks and olives in barrels, and you are expected to bring your own containers
· Berretto: Cap
· Bicchiere: Glasses
· Borsa: Handbag, purse
· Cacciavite: Screwdriver
· Calze di nailon: Nylons
· Calzini: Socks
· Camicetta: Blouse
· Camicia: Shirt
· Cappello: Hat
· Cappotto: Coat
· Carta: Paper
· Casseruola: Pan
· Chiave: Key, wrench
· Chiave a forcella: Crescent wrench
· Chiave inglese: “English wrench”; monkey
· Chiodi: Nails
· Coltello: Knife
· Cucchiaio: Spoon
· Forchetta: Fork
· Giacca: Jacket
· Guanti: Gloves
· Lampada: Lamp
· Maglione: Sweater
· Martello: Hammer
· Padella: Frying pan
· Pantaloni: Pants
· Pentola: Pot
· Piattino: Saucer
· Piatto: Plate
· Sacco: Bag
· Scaffale: Bookcase, shelves
· Scarpe: Shoes
· Tavola: Table
· Tazza: Cup
· Vite: Screw
Many of these ideas are expressed by gestures, which are nearly impossible to
reproduce in this book without extensive diagrams; ICR will teach you some, your sponsor may teach you more, and some
you may pick up by watching Italian shoppers.
· Quanto/quanto costa?: How much/how much does it cost?
· Vorrei: I would like.
· Un chilo: One kilo.
· Due/tre, etc. chili: Two/three, etc. kilos.
· Mezzo chilo: Half kilo.
· Un etto: 100 grams (a little less than a quarter pound).
· Due/tre etc./etti: Two, three, etc. hundred grams.
· Troppo!: Too much!
· Posso provare?: May I try it out/on?
· Cerco: I am looking for.
· Aperto: Open.
· Chiuso: Closed.
· Quale?: Which?
· Questo/a: This.
· Quelli/e: Those, These.
· Poi?: Then? (i.e, what else?)
· Basta, è tutto: No more, that’s all.
· Dite: Speak. A shopkeeper/vendor may use this term to ask if you need help.
· Più: More.
· Meno: Less.
· Poco, pochi: A little bit, a few.