Who doesn’t love Italy? The food, the culture, the people. And shopping! Whenever I visit Italy, whether it is Rome, Florence or Venice I feel inclined to book extra luggage for all the Italian souvenirs I want to take home. Maybe you’re a frequent traveler like me, shopping for the best Italian gifts. Or you need to shop for Italian-themed gift ideas for Italy lovers on your family and friends list. Either way, this Italian-themed gift guide has you covered.
I’ve been to Italy many times. Sometimes I bought souvenirs for my loved ones, sometimes I returned home with only a small Italian gift as a memory for my travel. Of course, you are not obliged to go shopping and return with heaps of gifts from Italy. But if you want to shop in Italy, or find Italian made gifts, then this is your go to shopping guide.
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101 Italian Gift Ideas for Italy Lovers
Gifts for Italy Lover
Shopping for someone who is infatuated with everything Italy-related is not hard. But where to begin? How to avoid the cliché Italian-themed gifts and come up with something truly original? And where should you shop for it? Join me on this Italian-themed shopping crusade to find the best Birthday and Christmas gifts for the Italy lover in your life.
Italian Christmas Gifts
Christmas gifts are the perfect souvenirs to bring back from Italy. You can buy little cheezy tourist souvenirs in bulk and use them as stocking stuffers as they are usually cheap and small. And Christmas is the perfect time of year to share those personal gifts, selected with care from abroad without a return policy. Save the gift card for another time. Christmas gifts are made for spoiling your loved ones!
Best gifts from Italy
Ok, so let’s assume you’ve found this page because you’re super lucky to go to Italy or currently traveling in Italy! Lucky you. I feel you’ve already won the jackpot. But let’s see what are the best gifts from Italy to bring back home with you?
Souvenirs from Italy – a few ideas
Italian-made and original gifts to bring back home as a souvenir that make stellar Christmas gifts are:
Leather bags from Florence
Florence might be the best place in Italy to go shopping for some original Italian leather bags. Of course, you can find leather shops all across Italy, but Florence, and especially the Oltrarno neighborhood in Florence still has a number of artisan shops to buy your leather souvenirs.
Invest some time (and money) to select hand-made or factory-produced leather purses, clutches or snazzy leather cases.
Murano glass from Venice
The tiny island of Murano is part of the laguna of Venice and makes for a splendid (half) day trip from Venice. The artisan glass blowing industry produces life-size glass vases or tiny trinkets, ornaments, and must-haves.
You can choose from crystal clear white glass or go for the signature Murano abundance of colors for a new Christmas ornament made in Italy.
Venetian Carnevale Masks make for great gifts from Italy
If you’re in Venice, you cannot escape the Venetian Masks. Although they are usually only worn for Carnivale, they are sold year-round and everywhere. And with everywhere, I literally mean everywhere.
I wouldn’t even be surprised if your hotel sells them! You can buy cheap, mass-produced masks, or hand made, leather unique masks with intricate details.
I now visited Venice 4 times and each and every time, I left the city with a new mask. A great souvenir or a unique gift for your loved one at home. My recommendation would be to shop around in some of the few authentic workshops still left in the city. For a hand-made mask, expect to pay from 50 to 70 euros and upwards.
Don’t know where to shop? Consider a Venetian Carnival Mask Workshop, where you learn all about the trade and get to decorate your own mask (and take it home!). Check here for more details.
Italian linen as souvenirs from Tuscany
Handcrafted and embroidered tablecloths, napkins and bedsheets. It is a dying art but in small villages in Tuscany, you can still shop for some amazing linen souvenirs.
Natural products like olive oil soap bars
Such a small and inexpensive gift and it can fit in your carry-on or hold luggage. Natural products like soap, come in the staple bar-shaped or any other shape you can imagine. From soap shaped to replicate the leaning tower of Pisa or Michelangelo’s David, or just a cute teddy bear.
Delicious smelling like Italian olive oil and a sweet gift to bring back home.
The perfect Italian Christmas gift: a nativity set from the Vatican
Where better to shop for religious paraphernalia than at the home of the Catholic church: Vatican City! St. Peter’s Square is lined with small shops selling anything religious, from rosaries to nativity sets and candles.
Best Italian food gifts to bring back home as a souvenir
Ok, I did my best to come up with some non-food related items that you can buy in Italy to bring back as a souvenir but it is hard. The food in Italy is just unrivaled and maybe even the reason to travel to Italy in the first place! So why not bring back some yummy Italian foodie souvenirs stateside?
Ultimate Italian Christmas Gift: Panettone or Pandoro
Nothing says “Christmas” more to people from Milan, Verona, and Northern Italy than the golden bread that is Pandoro and Panettone. Depending on the region, and the family, the recipe changes but you can recognize it by its cake-like structure and star-shape. Make sure to buy the Panettone at the end of your visit to Italy as it is best enjoyed when it is fresh but you can store it for up to 2 weeks.
Endless Italian Foodie Yumminess to bring home
Do yourself a favor and book that extra suitcase for your return flight home from Italy. You’ll thank me later. Because once in Italy, you’ll find a plethora of amazing foodie finds and mouth-watering drinks that you’re dying to bring back home. Either for yourself or to dote upon your loved ones. They will be forever grateful for your Italian food gifts.
But what are the best food gifts from Italy? And which ones can you bring back home without worrying they stink up your whole wardrobe?
- Dried pasta in any shape or form
- Sun-Dried tomatoes, not the ones in olive oil but the dry ones in a bag
- Dried Porcini Mushrooms, also dry and can be infused at home for your risotto or stew
- Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, packed in a vacuum bag. My recommendation: buy the oldest you can get. 24 months Parmigiano Reggiano is to die for!
I know the following items cannot be imported back into the US from Italy, but if you’re flying somewhere else, it might be worth checking if you can take the following items as they make for a perfect foodie souvenir:
- Bag of Risotto
- Dried sausages
The following Italian food presents are riskier to transport back, but when packed correctly, they can be handled in your checked luggage or even your carry-on.
Italian Truffles as a souvenir
And other truffle-related items. Like truffle salt or truffle oil. Make sure it is packed to perfection as they can stink up your bag in case they pop open accidentally.
Italian Olive Oil
Pure, green liquid gold from the trees of Tuscany and the rest of Italy. Nothing tastes better with a gallop of that rich Italian olive oil.
It will never taste as good as it did on the Amalfi Coast or Sicily but you can always try to relive your best moments with a glass of Limoncello at home. Or share that feeling with the people who stayed behind.
If you go wine-tasting in Tuscany or visit a Chianti wine house, I applaud you if you don’t walk out with at least a dozen boxes of their delicious wines. Luckily, the bigger wine houses and stores can ship your boxes, or bottles, internationally. Problem solved.
For all Italian food items that you want to bring back, check local legislation and rules. Make sure it is properly packed (vacuum preferable) and commercially labeled with the country of origin and the best before date. For more details, check the CBP website.
Gift for Someone Traveling to Italy
Maybe you landed on this page because you’re not the one traveling to Italy, but someone else in your circle is! Lucky them! Of course, you can gift wrap yourself and say you’re tagging along, or help them experience the trip of a lifetime in Italy. How? By giving them the gift of travel!
It’s basically my favorite present to give to loved ones. You can read all about my con artists-like tricks and sneaky ways of surprising my loved ones with the gift of travel here. No idea where to begin? Here are some things you can gift to others that will help them travel to Italy.
A plane ticket to Italy
This makes for a stellar graduation gift but can also be gifted as a wedding present, birthday gift or Christmas gift. Basically you’re saying: I love you to the moon and back and wish you the very best of experiences, in Italy!
You can present the gift as a self-made flight voucher so the person can book their flight themselves, or when you’re 100% sure (or have access to their passport information) you can book a flight to Italy yourself.
Some airlines also have gift vouchers that you can purchase for a set amount. To search for the best flights to Italy, check here.
Book a hotel in Italy
Ok, maybe you don’t have the cash flow to buy a return flight to Italy. But you still want to contribute to someone’s trip to Italy. Perfect! Why not give the gift of fancy hotel rooms?
Maybe your parents have their trip planned but don’t have the funds to really splurge on a fancy hotel room when in Rome or that cute, but out of their budget, Tuscany wine castle? You can book it for them! It doesn’t have to be all their stays, it can be a 1 or 2-night stay, whatever you see fit.
I always book all hotel rooms, especially in Italy, via this website. They have an abundance of choices, the best prices and you can cancel free of charge in most cases.
Book a tour of Italy as a gift
Some people are hesitant to plan their own trips. They need a little guidance or they like the company of a tour. Perfect! Why not give your loved ones a tour to Italy?! It can be a cultural orientated tour or a hiking tour or a wine tasting tour. Whatever they fancy!
For the most diverse tours of Italy, check your options here.
Tickets, tours, and experiences in Italy as a present
Maybe a full tour of Italy is a bit too much to ask from your budget. But what about a few skip-the-line-tickets for the Colosseum or a food tour in Rome? I’m a huge fan of giving experiences instead of just money.
The options are endless so I recommend you check out this page for some ideas and inspiration. All can be bought by one person and gifted to someone else!
Best Italian Gift Ideas
I would be thrilled and over the moon to receive any of the gifts above, but maybe you’re not traveling to Italy any time soon. Or the person you’re shopping for cannot travel to Italy. Or you’re looking for more of a budget Italian gift idea.
Then, you can always go shopping online and choose an Italian themed Christmas gift. Or a birthday present that screams Italy.
Here are some Italy inspired gift ideas:
Italy inspired gifts
When you’re shopping for an Italy lover, anything Italian related will win you major brownie points. Go big and go bold with the following Italy themed gifts:
Italy related books to give to your friends or family
Spark the gift of travel with inspirational travel books. From Lonely Planet trip planning to Rick Steves’ guide or a city guide to Rome. Or tingle the taste buds with a cookbook inspired on the Italian cuisine. Or cause some tongue twisters with an Italian phrasebook. The options are endless. Check out some personal recommendations that I love.
Italian Themed Christmas Gifts
If you can’t go shopping for a nativity set at the Vatican, you might want to order some nice Christmas themed gifts with a hint of Italy on them. Check out these cool items which I’ve ordered in the past.
Turn your own picture into a Christmas ornament, or use someone else’s picture for a nice Italian-themed Christmas decoration. I especially like these ones.
Practical gifts inspired by Italy
Sometimes you want to give a more practical gift to someone. Maybe it is a gift for a co-worker or work-out buddy that you don’t know that well, but still, want to give a gift inspired by Italy. Then, a practical gift can be the ultimate solution for your shopping list.
- Italian flag decorated phone case, it can be a map, the Italian flag, or Florentine floral decorations. Some of my personal favorites can be found here.
- A passport holder inspired by Italy, protect your most valuable document with a passport cover in an Italy-themed fashion. I love the one with typical Italian elements or the one I made myself.
- Italian-themed bags, shopping bags, messenger bags, or a nice tote bag. Show off the love for all things Italian with a nice Italian-themed bag as a gift. Find the best designs here.
Italian Food Gifts
Can we talk about Italian food again? Ok, I know, it is not like eating pasta pesto in Cinque Terre, but replicating the foodie experience from Italy in your own home is still pretty sweet. So how about some delicious Italian foodie finds as a gift? Basically, anything goes, but to give you some ideas:
Italian Bialetti Coffee Maker
Nothing says refined Italian style and coffee taste, like the red Bialetti Stovetop Coffeemaker. You can gift a big one, for 6 persons, or a tiny one for one 2 cups of coffee. They also come in trademark stainless steel Bialetti Coffeemakers, but whichever color you buy, make sure it is a Bialetti.
Pasta Maker Machine as a gift for a kitchen princess
Wouldn’t it be nice to make your own pasta at home? If you have to shop for a real kitchen prince (or princess), they have to have a pasta maker machine. Make sure to buy a heavy stainless steel pasta creator, the lighter ones just tip over on the countertop. I have one from Imperia and they make a nice homemade ravioli or tagliatelle.
Italian food gift baskets
Do you need to shop for someone who isn’t a kitchen princess, but you know they love Italian food? Why not gift them an Italian foodie gift basket? Gift baskets might seem impersonal and something you slap together when you forget a birthday, but when you’re shopping for a foodie and search for some real Italian delicacies, it will be received with great pleasure! Here are some ideas:
- Limoncello gift basket, you can even add in some Limoncello glasses to make the gift complete
- Quality Olive Oil from Italy, or a subscription to the olive oil of the month club!
- Italian Meat and Cheese gift basket, inspired by the flavors of Italy.
Best Italian Gifts for Italy Lovers
Of course, I can make an endless list of everything related to Italy as they make for perfect gifts for Italy lovers. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what you gift someone who loves Italy. As long as it makes them think back or long for Italy, the flavors, the views, and smells of Italy, you’re good to go.
A good gift is a personal gift. A gift they didn’t know they wanted or needed. A gift they will remember and hold special memories for in their heats. What makes the best Italian gifts are gifts that are selected with your special someone in mind and keeping in mind what they would love.
Italy is probably the answer!
Do you need to shop for someone who is infatuated with Italy? What did you get them this year from Christmas? Any ideas you want to brainstorm with me to come up with a perfect Italy themed Christmas gift? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to read it (and when possible, help out coming up with ideas!).