Travel Tips - Shopping
Opening and Closing Hours
This is something that will drive the traveler nuts. There IS regularity (though less than a few years ago) about when things close, and it changes according to season. Gradually the laws are softening, beginning to allow individual shop owners to decide on opening hours. However many families dread the change.
If you find a place closed, jot down the hours for your next stop. In the summer, expect:
- Shopping hours in the morning are usually from 8.00 or 9.00 am till 1.00 pm and in the afternoon from 3:30, 4.00 or perhaps 5.00 pm till about 8 pm.
- The work week for general shops includes one day and/or an afternoon off. The period depends on the type of business.
- Shops in general close all day Sunday and on Monday mornings.
- Smaller grocery stores close all day Sunday and often also at least Monday morning or, in the Siena province, close on Wednesday afternoon. At least a few of the larger grocery chains in cities the size of Siena or Florence tend to be open with "orario continuato" (no siesta) and also on Sundays.
- Hardware stores close all day Sunday and in the Siena province have Saturday afternoon off.
- Hairdressers are closed both Sundays and Mondays.
- Post Offices in small towns normally do not reopen after lunch. Buy stamps at Tobacco shops.
- Banks have good morning hours (8.30 am to 1.30 pm) but VERY brief afternoon hours, often something like 2.30-3.30 pm. They close all day Saturdays and Sundays.
- Restaurants post their closure day, usually one per week. For many its Monday evenings so call ahead before driving far to that special little place out in the countryside! Ask at a local bar which restaurant is open if you visit a town on Monday.
- Business offices usually close both Saturdays and Sundays.
- Many shops and businesses close for up to three weeks holiday, often in AUGUST. The reason is simple. Most businesses are family-owned and operated, and the only way for the family to have time off is to close.