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Shopping in Italy

Glass sculptures from Murano, delicate porcelain masks from Venice and swishing fabric in designer couture at the glitzy arcades of Italian cities will be tempting. Every town has a special local ware; it could be handcrafted coral products in Sardinia or violins from Lombardy, it could be silk of Como or pottery from Faenza, a local wine or a cheese, or even a souvenir of the local attraction. Budget travellers however should be aware that shopping in Italy is an expensive business.

To try and get a refund of the VAT (Value added tax) can be quite bothersome. Those tourists who spend EUR 155 to 335 and more in one store can try for it. When you buy stuff, take any form of ID and ask for an invoice for the articles and the total amount spent. If you go out of Italy to a non-EU country, have the invoice stamped at customs, upon departure. If, on the other hand you are going to an EU country from Italy, then get the customs stamp upon departure from the other EU country. Once you’re back home send the stamped invoice back to the store. They should then forward the IVA rebate directly to you.

You will find all this a lot simpler, if the store participates in the Europe Tax-Free Shopping System. They display a sign if they do.

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