• 2023.07.24
  • Blog Liguria - Read, shop, eat!
In Italy and therefore in Genoa, you can find a wide variety of stores, shops and boutiques.
By store we usually mean a chain store so a famous brand from a large corporation with many locations worldwide. They are usually found in large shopping malls or in the most crowded areas of the city. By shop we usually mean an Italian brand, perhaps not present at the global level and usually smaller. We include in the ‘shops group’ also all the specialty shops selling one category of items such as flower shops., stationery shops, undergarments shops and more.
Boutiques are usually selling clothes or handmade furniture and jewelry, they are not chains and they are usually pricier (but with much better quality) than shops. Genoa is full of boutiques, many of which selling handcrafted products made locally.

But first things first.
In Italy people shop weekly at supermarkets and malls because they can usually offer a private parking and therefore they are easier to get to.
But Italians also like to shop daily at locally run and managed shops which keep the ‘true Italian flavor’ alive.
If you need fruits and veggies you go to a greengrocer’s which normally also sells pre-cut and ready-made soups and minestrone ingredients. We have butcher’s shops, delis, bakeries and latterie (dairy shops).
The first dairy shops were born as simple resales of milk, cheeses and pudding, small shops that opened up at the end of the 19th century. Subsequently, with the post-war economic boom and the appearance of the first American-style supermarkets, these small shops transformed into places open only for lunch, places to eat a good homemade dish at bargain prices. They became cafés, bars as we call them, and the purchase of food products became a secondary purpose.

The Italian newsagents kiosk sells newspapers, periodical publications with gadgets to be collected, specialty magazines, tabloids, sticker albums for children, small toys and bus tickets. They are usually dark green in color and they display all they have to attract customers, especially children.

Italian newsagent’s kiosk

Magazines on display

Stickers for kids

If one needs to buy cigarettes, stamps or sweets, one needs to visit a tobacconist.
The tobacconist in Italy is a well-regarded business with very old origins.
At the beginning of the 1900s, the tobacconist's was used for the distribution of quinine, an important substance to combat the symptoms of malaria. The tobacconist's was immediately identified as an ideal place of distribution for the population, in an Italy affected by malaria. The tobacconist's shop also displays a number that is assigned to each outlet in the municipality to which it belongs. In short, the tobacconist is equipped with a plate number.
It refers to the Administration of the State Monopolies that makes it mandatory to display a big white T on a black background.
Today the tobacco shop includes an incredibly extensive number of services, you can top up your phone, pay bills, buy a varied number of products such as scratch cards, snacks and drinks.
Other than selling lottery tickets, many of them have slot machines inside one can play during opening hours. When the tobacconist is closed, a vending machine on the roller shutter of the business normally works as a cigarette dispenser for people over 18 years of age. You will need to insert a valid I.D. as proof of age.

Local indoor markets are also very popular for doing the groceries and they are allowed to be open only in the morning.
As they sell fresh products directly coming from farmers and fishermen they are very affordable and products sell really fast. They open early, usually around 6 in the morning. Great place for early birds!


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

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