Although shops are normally open from 9am to 1pm and from 3.30/4pm to 7.30/8pm, in some tourist areas they tend to stay open uninterruptedly from 9.30am to 7.30pm, allowing for slight variations from town to town. Large department stores like La Rinascente, Coin or Upim are open throughout the country from 9.30am to 7.30pm.
The Perugia weekly market sells largely fresh food and clothing and is held on Tuesday mornings between 8am and noon. An antiques market is held in Perugia on the first Sunday of every month.
IVA tax refunds
Like most other European countries, Italy imposes a value added tax (VAT) on most goods and services purchased in the country. This tax is known as the Imposta sul Valore Aggiunto
, or IVA. It is normally included in the price of most goods and services. Generally the rate stands at 20% of the sale price.
Residents outside of the European Union visiting Italy may obtain a VAT refund on purchases of new goods. VAT refunds may be claimed for purchases of merchandise (not for services such as hotels, car rentals, entertainment, meals or transportation) in excess of Ç 155.
Here is an outline of the procedures that should be followed for claiming VAT refunds on goods purchased in Italy:
Tax Free Italy Stores
If a "Euro Tax Free" sign is displayed in a shop window, the store in question adheres to the "Tax Free Italy" programme. Show your passport at the cash desk when purchasing goods in these stores and ask the store clerk to issue a "Tax Free Shopping Cheque" along with a receipt for the goods. The store will charge you tax at the time of sale. The Tax Free Shopping Cheque will indicate the amount of VAT refund you will be eligible to claim later.
You must present the merchandise, Tax Free Shopping Cheque and store receipt to the Customs Office at the airport upon your departure from Italy. The customs official will examine the merchandise to check that it matches the description on the receipt and cheque and will stamp the Tax Free Shopping Cheque.
To obtain an immediate tax refund once your Tax Free Shopping Cheque has been stamped, simply present it at any "Tax-Free Cash Refund" booth at the airport.
If you are purchasing goods in a store that does not adhere to the "Tax-Free Italy" programme, ask the store to issue you a special invoice known as a fattura
, which should be made out to you and include the phrase "Esente IVA ai sensi della legge 38 quarter". The fattura should also indicate the amount of VAT included in the purchase price. The fattura and the goods should be presented at the Customs Office on your departure from Italy to be stamped. You must then mail the stamped fattura back to the store (either from Italy or your home country) within 90 days of the purchase date. The store will then send you the VAT refund by return mail to whatever address you specify. This can take quite some time.
If you require merchandise to be shipped directly to your home address, your purchase is exempt of VAT. The store will charge you no tax at the time of purchase and will issue you with a "Tax-Free Receipt", rather than a "Tax Free Shopping Cheque".
Luggage is inspected on entering and leaving Italy. Free entry is allowed for personal effects: clothing (new and used), books, camping and household equipment, fishing tackle, 1 pair of skis, 2 tennis racquets, portable typewriter, record player with 10 records, tape recorder or dictaphone, pram, 2 still cameras with 10 rolls of film for each camera, 1 movie camera with 10 rolls of film, binoculars, personal jewelry, portable radio set (subject to a small license fee), 400 cigarettes and a quantity of cigars or pipe tobacco not exceeding 500 grams (1.1 lb).
All items mentioned above may be imported duty free only on condition that they are for personal use and are not be sold, given away or traded. A maximum of two bottles of wine and one bottle of spirits per person may be brought duty free. The bottles must be opened. A maximum of 4.4 lbs of coffee, 6.6 lbs of sugar and 2.2 lbs of cocoa are allowed duty free.
Overseas tourists arriving in Italy after visiting other countries are allowed to bring souvenirs purchased in other countries for a total value of $500. Only a verbal declaration is required for these goods. Purchases may include up to a half litre of perfume.
Exports from Italy
There are no restrictions on gifts purchased in Italy except for antiques and works of art. These require the authorization of the Culture Ministry.
Canadian Regulations on Purchases Abroad
Canadian residents returning from a trip abroad can qualify for personal exemption. All articles acquired abroad, whether purchased or received as gifts, or purchased at a duty free shop, either abroad or in Canada, must be declared by the traveller on returning to Canada.
US Regulations on Purchases Abroad
Each US tourist may bring back to the US $400-worth of duty free goods purchased abroad. The goods must accompany the traveller. A flat rate of 10% is assessed on the next $1,000-worth of goods purchased. Parcels containing gifts may be sent to the US duty-free, providing the total value of parcels received by one person in one day does not exceed $50. Each package should be marked "Unsolicited Gift". The amount paid and the contents of the package should be declared.