As part of the Italy blogging round table about gifts, I offer a look at gift giving in Italy in the past and how we can recapture the spirit of "olde Italy" today.
Take a walk down memory lane with this, my first article published on the English language press in Italy, for which I received 15,000 lire, a princely sum in those days.
Useful, practical gifts are happily received and many shops in Rome and other cities are promoting this type of holiday gift-giving by issuing gift certificates.
Speaking of food...what better gift than a few litres of this year's extra virgin biological olive oil from one of the small, independent producers or cooperatives in the Vetralla area.
|Lighting of the Christmas tree|
This year several stands are selling another speciality of the area : chocolate in its many shapes and forms
|delicious chocolates made in Vetralla|
|liqueurs include limoncello|
|Antica Latteria production|
|plants and handicrafts, Il Cerchio|
Ask your friends who produce olive oil if they have any new oil for sale.
While in Vetralla stop by Libri di Natura, the only shop still open in the historic center, near the Duomo, for stocking stuffers , period prints especially those featuring animals and birds, as well as hand made jewelery and antique glass.
|silverware from the past|
|vintage coffee makers and potato mashers|
|angels for Christmas|
|Who remembers using these ink pens? I do...|
|bell tower of San Silvestro,Rome|
|waiting for passengers in Piazza di Spagna|
Taking a stroll to Piazza S. Silvestro I learned that the huge Remainders bookshop closed about six months ago.
Thankfully the Anglo-American bookshop is nearby on Via della Vite and still flourishing.
Besides the usual books in English about Rome, they carry Etruria Editions latest publications.
To re-live the atmosphere of vintage Christmas shopping stroll through the centro storico and enjoy the Christmas lights and crowds.
The large malls and shopping centers are to be avoided and preference given to independent, local shops.
|Spanish Steps-high profile shopping area|
|angel via del Babuino|
Budget antiques can still be found in Vignanello near Viterbo where country auctions draw dealers and collectors from all over central Italy.
The specialists source antique furniture and art objects here then resell them in their High Street antiques shops.
You can check the catalogue online to see if there is anything that interests you or special people on your gift list.
|general view Eurantico|
Remember that old saying --- one (wo)man's junk is another's treasure? Next door to the auction center is a non-descript doorway leading into a series of tiny rooms filled with shelves and boxes of old books, magazines and knick knacks.
If you have time to browse and don't mind getting your hands dirty you might find a gem...maybe one that will make someone very happy at Christmas.
|books at bargain prices|
| Mario among his books and knick knacks|
P.S. I came back with 4 books (spending 8 euro in all), including
a perfect first edition of "A Time in Rome" by E.Bowen