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FocusMM - Mediterranean Guide

SHOPPING in ITALY

ring Shops are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 or 4 p.m. to 7:30 or 8 p.m., with some variation in Northern Italy (Milan, Turin), where the lunch break is shorter and shops close earlier. Prices are reasonable and the quality of goods is usually high. Chain stores such as La Rinascente, Coin, Upim, and Standa are found in many Italian cities and towns.

Some excellent purchase options are: Clothes for men and women (dresses, shoes, shirts, gloves, silk ties); jewelery, lacework, leather goods (handbags, luggage), ceramics, gold and silver hems, straw, woodwork, alabaster, embroidery, glass and crystal ware.

SALES TAX (I.V.A.) REBATE ON PURCHASES MADE IN ITALY BY FOREIGN TOURISTS

Foreign tourists making acquisitions in Italy can claim a sales taxe (I.V.A.) rebate, provided that more than 300,000 lire is spent at the same store on the same day. If this is the case, ask the vendor for a proper receipt describing the merchandise purchased and stating the amount of tax paid. When you leave Europe (no later than 90 days after the date of the purchase), show your receipt to Customs and have them stamp it. Then mail the receipt to the vendor, who should forward the I.V.A. rebate to you. On a $1000.-purchase, you should get about $115-160. back.

If you do not receive a response from the vendor, complain to the nearest Italian Embassy. European authorities are trying very hard to make this program work.

An even better alternative is to shop in stores displaying the ETS (Europe Tax-Free Shopping) sticker. Basically the process is the same, except that the vendor will issue you a Tax-Free Shopping Check upon seeing your passport. Then, when you leave the last European country on your trip, show your receipts at Customs. They will stamp your checks and you can obtain your refund at an ETS desk, by mail or by transfer to your credit card account.

SIZE COMPARISON CHART - United States & European Sizes

WOMEN'S SIZES
United States 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 24
European 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56
Women's shoes

WOMEN'S SHOES
United States 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 10
European 35 36 37 38 38 39 40 41

WOMEN'S HOSIERY
United States Petite Small Medium Large
European I II III IV

MEN'S SIZES
Suits, Overcoats, Sweaters and Pajamas
United States 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48
European 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58

MEN'S SHIRTS
United States 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 17
European 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Men's shoes
MEN'S SHOES
United States 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11-11
European 39 40 40 41 41 42 42 43 43 44-44 45

MEN'S HATS
United States 67/8 7 71/8 7 73/8 7 75/8 73/4
European 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62

CHILDREN'S SIZES
United States 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
European 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100

CHILDREN'S SHOES
United States 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 1 2 3 5 6
European 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35