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Italian Gift Ideas

Italy is an exceptional country famous around the world. Most of us dream about going there for the first time and then, once you experience it, you want to go again and again.

There is a good reason why I wanted to prepare this post about gifts from Italy. I feel that merely visiting the country is not enough. There is so much substance to Italy if you look at it from the history and craftsmanship perspective.

There are just so many of proud and skilful makers, who specialise in making unique things we would enjoy having around us. Let's discover a few together.

ANNA AKHMATOVA (POET)

'Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of

your life.'

With thousands of small family businesses scattered around Italy, it would be very hard to be detailed and cover all option for Italian gifts. But let me make my best attempt at highlighting key trends and groups of makers that could give you some good ideas.

Unique Bracelets

Bracelets are a great gift. It can take so many forms and shapes – it seems that storytelling around them is endless. So, let's take a look at Italy from the perspective of bracelets too. It is not just about gold and silver or about the design and the designer. There is so much more to discover.

There are so many talented Italian jewellery designers. It would simply not do them justice to just mention a few here. Those are well covered and promoted by dedicated luxury accessory websites anyway.

Instead, I wanted to flag up upcoming brands and highlight some of the unique jewellery that comes with an interesting story attached. By now, you might know me – I am mostly interested in the story behind the things we use.

MADE IN ITALY

A perfect example of contemporary design while using traditional Italian craftsmanship. Paul Cortese team did a great job. Hurry, it might sell out.

$50

MADE IN ITALY

Tulsi is a shop that specialises in Italian accessories and is very popular in the US. Genuine Italian gift and simple, clean design for the starlet in your life.

$49

MADE IN MILAN

Bronzalure is a Milan based Atelier that has been specialising in bronze for three generations. I like that they bringing gems back – less social impact.

$119

Italian Wool Accessories

Italian textile has been appreciated worldwide since the middle ages. Wool has played a big part in it, of course. With those vast herds of sheep strolling the countryside, the material needed has been there.

The wool industry is quite spread out, but, if you wish to visit some textile houses district of Prato is an excellent place to start. There are still more than 9000 textile businesses operating today.

It is important to note that there are three types of textile workers who make wool accessories. First is your traditional textile houses, large operations that survived the changes in our times. Then there are small family textile businesses. And finally, crafters working alone and selling their wares on Etsy.

It is impossible for me to cover them all; hence I will point out some examples of interesting work done by these Italian craftsmen these days.

MADE IN ATRI

Playful and colourful travel bags are an ideal present for frequent travellers. Made in Italy by a Lefrac who is specialising in felt made accessories.

$75

MADE IN RAVENNA

Laura, the owner of Anonima Mente, is the designer and maker of these playful and colourful coasters. All hand made in her studio, in Ravenna, Italy.

$20

MADE IN TUSCANY

BeFeltBag is focusing on making their products from wool felt because of its eco-friendly credentials. Could be a good gift for an eco-warrior.

$80

MADE IN ITALY

Peppa Mazzanti is a small one-person business with loads of creativity. She specialises in knitted jumpers for smaller dogs. Mostly use cashmere.

$50

MADE IN ITALY

This hand-knitted wool scarf one of many wool accessories that Rosso Venezia is selling. Very small shop, but offers a great personalised service.

$45

MADE IN ITALY

Montova Lana actually grows their own sheep. Hence they can guarantee cruelty-free and organic wool. Then they use family craftsmanship to create this.

$250

Leather Accessories

Italian leather is famous for its quality worldwide. It is quite common to see leather artisans around the world proudly stating that they are using Italian leather. And they are right to do so.

Italian leather accessory makers have been focusing on the right things for centuries, you see. They have been breeding cows specifically for their hide, using different breeds for a different type of accessories. At the same time, they also incrementally improved their tannery techniques to get the softest, the long-lasting leather required for accessory making.

I like that a lot of leather accessory makers these days can utilise platforms like Etsy and others to find the customers like us. In these small shops, a computer has become one of their tools needed for the business. And, it is an excellent way for us to support those small crafty businesses that create such special gifts.

MADE IN TUSCANY

Elegelie is an owner of this Italian Etsy shop. Her wallets, made from soft and colourful leather, have a large number of positive reviews from worldwide.

$39

MADE IN ITALY

Maruseitaly is a relatively new shop, but I do like his braver choice of colours. An orange passport holder is unique. Its leather edges talk of quality finish.

$57

MADE IN TUSCANY

Mario Doni, the owner, is proud of her skills in old Tuscan craftsmanship. The leather is vegetable tanned, of course, and the belt is handmade.

$57

MADE IN FLORENCE

Opened since 2012 Italian Handbags shop has a lot of handmade craft available. Shop owner Ralu finds the best designs from local leather workshops.

$200

MADE IN FLORENCE

This is another find by Italian Handbags, and I like it because it can also be a backpack. Loads of raving reviews on how soft the leather is.

$165

MADE IN PESCARA

Togstrap is a new shop that opened in 2020. Paolo specialises in designing and making camera straps. I like this wrist strap with a touch of yellow.

$60

MADE IN ROME

Leather strap with an Italian flag note. What a great accessory gift idea for an Italian guy. Made in Rome by an artisan specialising in leather straps.

$200

MADE IN BOLOGNA

This team specialises in Apple Watch straps only. But boy there is a choice available. Colours and leather types suitable for all Apple watches.

$75

MADE IN CLES (DOLOMITES)

Odorizzi is also a shop for Apple Straps, but with them, you can customise the colour of the leather and the thread used. More of a darker style.

$115

Leather Shoes

Italian shoemakers have been famous around the world for hundreds of years. And for a good reason. It seems that they are exceptionally good at fashion, leather works and craftsmanship.

All these skills are passed on from generation to generation. Hence there are more than 4000 family-run businesses in the Italian shoe-making industry. Interestingly, most of those shoes are made in only two regions – Tuscany and Marche (located next to each other).

Not every shoe-making family owns a brand. Most of them are producing based on orders from worldwide known luxury brands. Hence, if you do find a factory shoe shop in Italy, you can expect the same quality, at a lower price.

Custom made shoes is another speciality that is worth investment for a perfect fitting, stylish and long-lasting shoes.

Here are most of the leather shoe styles for men. So, if you do visit a custom shoemaker, you will know where to start your conversation:

visual showing different men shoe styles and designs

For women, there are just too many styles to squeeze into one line; hence I just made my favourite selection. Here is a good excuse to top up your shoe collection.

With Italy offering so many shoemakers at your disposal, I am not going to go into detail or trying to list them. Let me instead recommend my favourite three options when choosing long-lasting shoes for myself or as a gift. First, is of course to visit a designer website for something extravagant or custom made. Second, is online customisation service, which is your 21st-century Italian shoe shopping experience. You choose online, and those crafty people in Italy will put it together for you. And third, utilising superior distribution power of amazon.com to get a reasonable price and fast delivery anywhere you live.