It’s no secret that if you’re seeking stylish threads or expertly crafted furniture, there’s nowhere like Italy. Like French wine or Swedish pop music, Italian artisanship is admired around the world, with people travelling great distances in search of treasures adorning that much-coveted “Made in Italy” label. If you’re looking to stock up on true Italian craftsmanship, skip the shiny designer boutiques on Milan’s Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone.
Located just one hour from Europe’s fashion capital, the city of Bergamo is home to the region’s most respected artisans and fashion designers, selling everything from cashmere knitwear and handmade jewellery to one-of-a-kind trinkets from their family-run bottegas. Here’s a round-up of some of the best shopping hotspots to get you started. Just be sure to pack an extra suitcase.
The one for luxury threads
Run by two stylish sisters, La Bottega Di Nonna Betta in historic Città Alta is the place for high-quality cashmere garms. Handsewn by local expert knitters, the store offers a colourful range of dresses, sweaters and scarves, all of which are designed by sister Sabrina (above). She even finishes each item with a handwritten label with a loving message for each customer to take home. Now that’s service.
Via Bartolomeo Colleoni, 3, 24129 BergamoBook flights and holidays to Italy
The one for hand-crafted jewellery
One look at his work and you’d be surprised to hear that Luciano Lezzi manages to create those impressive delicate curves without the fancy technological aids you’d find in most studios. Swing by his workshop Dessel, where he’s been making classic rings, necklaces and other delectable charms with old school methods for over 30 years and bag a gem for that special someone.
Via Borgo Canale, 6A, 24129 BergamoBook flights and holidays to Italy
The one for head-turning headbands
Dazzling shoppers with her delightfully kitsch designs, Fulvia Galbusera’s headbands are truly one-of-a-kind. We’re not kidding: inside her store, Evelyne Aymon, you’ll find more than 4,500 styles to choose from, ranging from suitably stylish to wonderfully wacky. Look out for its best seller, Mr. Cerchietto (AKA Mr. Hairband), decorated with flowers, mutli-coloured voiles and gallant bows.
Via Bartolomeo Colleoni, 13, 24129 BergamoBook flights and holidays to Italy
The one for feel-good furniture
Get ready to crush on the suave stylings of Italian interior design at Custhome, the immersive concept store that showcases products from some of the region’s finest furniture and homeware brands. In addition to works of art, its armchairs, sofas and coffee tables come in such slick designs that you’ll be arranging for them to be shipped home faster than you can say “over-sized luggage”.
Via San Tomaso, 72, 24121 BergamoBook flights and holidays to Italy
The one for adorable home gifts
Working with natural materials like wood, fabrics and dried fruit, local artist Rita Patelli creates charming trinkets that will add character to any room. Swing by her store up the road from Lezzi’s studio in Upper Bergamo and check out her garlands and Christmas decorations or grab one of the wooden eggs, each one hand decorated with musical scores and famous literary quotes. Bello!
Via Borgo Canale, 9, 24129 Bergamo
In partnership with Visit BergamoBook flights and holidays to Italy