As July approaches, so does Italy's traditional summer sale; and my favorite sport - window shopping. In July's second week, there will be great bargains to be found.
On my first day, I'll wait until the evening. Shops - with the exception of souvenir stores - are generally closed on Monday mornings.
As a general rule, the more stirring and exciting the display, the higher the quality of the goods on offer.
As I plan my race through the streets, I will be sure to seek out the most theatrical exhibits. For the sake of time, I'll tell myself to avoid flagrant advertising, and to not enter a store unless I am attracted to an item in the window.
Monday aside, stores tend to open around 9am and close for lunch around 12:30pm. This being southern Europe, lunch lasts for three hours, with shops reopening around 3:30pm and remaining open until 8 or 9pm.
Remember to be sure that what you are buying is authentic. Examine the merchandise, ask questions, and do not feel obliged to purchase anything.
The Italian shopping culture has changed, in that sellers are increasingly willing to negotiate. Even the most renowned jewelers will haggle. Never forget to ask, "What if I pay in cash?" You may be surprised at the discount - up to twenty percent.
Italy is rife with laws, including one which requires shoppers to leave the store with their receipt. Expensive fines await those who do not comply!