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Whether you’re a tourist visiting the country or an Expat living there, Italy has an incredible range of souvenirs, arts and crafts, pottery and much more; all of which make amazing gifts for your friends and family!
Finding and buying personalized gifts from Italy for your loved ones is a great way to show that you are thinking of them, even while you are overseas. Gifts from Italy are unique and precious; and whether it’s a hamper of delicious wines and cheese, or a carefully selected item of jewelry, your gifts will be remembered and treasured by the receiver.
Can You Ship Your Gifts Directly From Italy?
Once you’ve found the perfect gift you’ll be wondering if you can ship directly back to the United States. Fortunately, you can easily ship your gifts back home by using an international carrier such as FedEx. If you send your gifts by air mail they will quickly arrive in the US, although if you want to save on the delivery costs then you can opt to use a sea freighting service instead; which will take significantly longer but cost a lot less.
Alternatively, there are online services which will arrange the delivery of your gifts on your behalf. Many of these businesses source Italian items and then safely package and deliver them for you. You have a nice range of gift choices including hampers, wines, chocolate and even flowers.
Italy Gifts Direct, https://www.italygiftsdirect.com/, offer a good selection of gifts from Italy that can be shipped directly to the US; however, if you want to really personalize the gift, then you will be much better off sourcing your own items in the country! This will take a little longer but it will show that you were thinking of the recipient and took the time to get out into the country and find the perfect gift for them yourself.
Goods You Have To Be Careful Before Shipping From Italy To The United States?
Sending a gift to your friends and family back home is a great way to show them that you care, but there are certain items which you have to be careful about sending.
Firstly, any items which are fragile, such as fine glass work for instance, must be properly packaged to ensure that they are not damaged en route. You can also label the package with a ‘Fragile’ note, and pay extra for it to be shipped safely.
However, aside from the practical considerations, in terms of packaging the gift, you also need to be aware of international shipping regulations. Certain items, even though they are innocuous and legal to obtain, are illegal to ship from Italy to the USA!
Some of the categories of items are very surprising, while others not so much. For example, it’s illegal to send banknotes, traveler’s checks, gold, silver, precious stones and even watches!
For a full, and detailed list, of items which you cannot ship into the USA, you can check the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) list of prohibited items at : https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/know-before-you-go/prohibited-and-restricted-items
Italy has an amazing cultural heritage that spans cuisine, craftworks, art, leatherwork and luxury goods; which means that there is a plethora of incredible gifts just waiting to be discovered. With such a wide range of high quality, locally produced items to choose from in Italy, you’re bound to find the perfect gift for a friend or family.
Food, Beverages And Cuisine.
Italian cooking is world famous with each region having its own unique specialities that can’t be found anywhere else. These all make perfect gifts for your friends and family in Italy and abroad. Remember, some food and drinks cannot be shipped to the US; but you can still give them to people in Italy!
- Italian Wines: There is nothing quite like Italian wine and with thousands of wineries scattered all through the country you can find some seriously delicious vintages. Many vineyards will actually arrange the shipping of their wine back to the US for you; which is a great service to use because they handle the customs and border procedures for you, potentially saving you a big headache down the road!
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a crucial ingredient in almost all Italian cooking and so buying some authentic, locally produced bottles of fresh olive oil makes a wonderful gift from Italy. If you have the chance you can visit an active olive oil press during the autumn harvest season when you can buy the freshest oil of all!
- Italian Cheeses: Italy is well known for its cheeses which are often unique to the province. Although cheeses don’t travel well they do make the perfect gift for people you know who are living in the country. Among the most famous cheeses are mozzarella, gorgonzola, mascarpone and ricotta; but you can find many other varieties in local market stalls and delicatessens.
- Spices And Herbs: Herbs and spices have the power to absolutely transform a dish; and whether it’s pasta or fish, the right Italian spices give the food that extra dimension of flavor that can’t otherwise be replicated. You can also buy sets of herbs that have a wide selection of dried herbs for use in all types of cooking. For friends and family back home who are real food buffs, they’ll seriously appreciate some genuine Italian dried herbs or spices!
- Truffle Oil: Almost entirely unique to Italy, and a specialty of Tuscany, truffle oil is one of the country’s most distinctive products; and given that it’s almost impossible to source locally in the US, it makes a really special gift.
- Cured Meats: Italy’s cured meats are a mainstay of any long, relaxed family meal; and so buying some prosciutto, regionally produced sausages or parma ham is a fantastic gift to help spice up your friend’s Italian cooking!
- Limoncello: As Italy’s most famous liqueur, Limoncello is mainly produced on the beautiful Amalfi Coast, as well in surrounding parts of Campania. The liqueur is served all over Italy but it’s also a favorite in bars all around the world. A bottle of Italian made Limoncello makes a unique gift for someone in your life, and is the perfect aperitif before a meal at home.
- Grappa: This tasty, grape based liquor is fairly strong and served in a shot; but it makes a great gift for people in your life. Originally produced in the Northern provinces of Italy, today it is mainly produced in Val d’Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Piedmont and Veneto.
- Pasta: You’ll hear many Italians say that dried pasta is nowhere near as good as its fresh counterpart; however, if you’re giving someone a selection of pasta from Italy, dried pasta is fine because fresh pasta could go stale before it’s delivered to the US!
- Traditional, Organic Balsamic Vinegar: Popularly used in salad dressings, traditionally made Italian balsamic vinegar can take up to 25 years to make – which means it’s quite a special gift! Finding traditional balsamic vinegar in the USA is extremely difficult which is why it makes a wonderful gift! Also, it’s easy to package a few bottles of balsamic vinegar and it won’t go off before it’s delivered.
- Italian Cookbook: Italian cooking is loved around the world but very few people know how to cook authentic dishes for themselves! You can find some highly informative cookbooks in Italy which are either specialized in a specific region’s dishes or alternatively have recipes for the nation’s favorite dishes. A cookbook makes a lovely present because the recipient will be able to turn to it again and again over the years when they need some inspiration in the kitchen.
Arts And Crafts Souvenirs.
Every city, town and even tiny villages, have working artisans and craftspeople using traditional methods to make a wide range of unique souvenirs. Many of their souvenirs are sold to tourists and foreign visitors however most of these artisans also have thriving sales among locals who also value their products and skill.
Each region in Italy has its own specialities which often have long histories stretching back thousands of years! For example, recent archeological digs in central Italy have found that for more than 2000 years, olive oil was being produced using primitive oil presses! Of course, artforms such as pottery, lace, ceramics and textiles, also have histories that stretch back into prehistoric times; and consequently have been a part of Italian culture since the very beginning.
When you’re looking for a gift, steer clear of mass produced items and instead try to find locally produced, handmade items. Not only will these be far more memorable but it also shows that you spent the time to source them. Some of the best souvenirs you can find in Italy include:
- Glassware and Glass Artwork.
- Ancient Olive Wood Tableware.
- Sculptures and Statues.
- Table Clothes and Fabric Wall Hangings.
Original Bialetti Moka Espresso Maker.
One of the world’s favorite exports from Italy is the elegant stove top Bialetti Moka Espresso Maker, which has found itself a home in kitchens all over the world, as well in almost every single Italian household. The perfect gift for someone who loves their morning brew, an original Bialetti espresso maker is a fantastic gift which will deliver the authentic taste of Italy to your friends and family back home!
Italy is famous for its leatherware, in fact, even the word ‘Italy’ originally meant ‘land of calves’; so it’s not surprising that both beef and leather are in the Italian blood. Italian tailors and artisans make some of the highest quality leatherware in the world; you can buy jackets, gloves, belts, purses and handbags, among many other items.
These items are easy to ship and make a great gift for friends and family back home. Where possible, you should try to buy leatherware from a local producer rather than a large corporation because not only will the item be more unique but it also helps to support the local economy.
Italy’s fashion scene is second to none and it’s also home to some of the most prestigious jewelry makers and flagship stores. You can also find plenty of small jewelry makers in all the cities and regions of the country.
From ornate necklaces to subtly elegant earrings, bracelets and rings; the jewelry of Italy makes a wonderful gift that can be a treasured heirloom for the recipient.
There are many producers of perfume in Italy with some of them using some rather unique ingredients! For instance, the Ambra perfume by Acqua di Parma, is made using a naturally occurring ingredient that is created by the excretions of the sperm whale’s intestines! This ‘ambergris’ floats on the sea’s currents for years until eventually it is left deposited on the shore, where it will solidify and crystallize.
This rare substance is harvested from the shoreline of the Baltic Sea. It was originally discovered by Italian perfume makers after Marco Polo brought it back from China in the 13th Century.
Ambergris is famous for its pungent, warm scents and is put into perfumes in tiny quantities; and it’s still the most valuable ingredient in perfume manufacture! It’s musky, damp earth scents are wonderful and so if you can find some authentic Ambergris made perfume, such as Ambra by Acqua di Parma, it’ll make a truly unique gift for someone in your life!
Italian made shoes have been in vogue for hundreds of years and have long been a great gift! You can find hand made shoes for males and females in all the main stores in Italy as well as in smaller cobblers who make all their own shoes on site! Just remember, when buying someone a pair of shoes as a gift to subtly ask them what their shoe size is in advance so you can get the right size for them, particularly if they are back in the States!
Suits And Clothing.
With stylish cuts, the latest fashion and luxury textiles, Italian suits and clothes make an amazing gift for someone back home. You can spend hours browsing the markets and stores of Italy where you’ll find a huge selection of top quality suits and clothes, which are also easy and low cost to ship overseas.
There’s a wide range of luxury goods that you can find in Italy including watches, jewelry, furs, fashion attire and much more besides. The most luxurious items are bound to be made by small, expert artisans and manufacturers where you’ll also get a good price compared to the large retailers who have much higher overheads.
It’s not always easy to find the best producers of luxury items so do a little asking around with locals, or long term Expats, to find out where you can pick up the very highest quality products in your region.
Gifts From Italy – Show Someone You’re Thinking Of Them.
Whether you’re visiting Italy as a tourist or living there as an Expat, there’s a huge array of wonderful gifts that you can give to friends and family. It’s fun to search the country, exploring the work of artisans, craftspeople and local manufacturers, to find the perfect item, and your gift won’t be forgotten by the recipient! So while you’re in Italy, keep your eyes peeled for the ideal item you can give to someone for their birthday, Christmas or just simply to make their day!