lemon candy from positano italy

Shopping In Italy: What To Buy From Capri, Positano, Sorrento, Naples, And The Amalfi Coast

You’ve found yourself in one of the most beautiful and culturally-rich areas of Italy: the area around Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Once you’ve explored the sights, the history, the food, there’s only thing thing left… shopping!

As well as providing a bit of retail therapy after dealing  with tourists all day, there’s something to be said for picking up a few souvenirs. As well as giving some gifts to your loved ones (and thereby invoking a warm glow of smugness as they barely conceal their jealousy), a few well-chosen items can really bring back the memories of your trip. Scents and tastes can come flooding back to you, transporting you back to Italy long after you’ve left. And who doesn’t want that?

Even better, all of these souvenirs have a strong basis in Italian history and culture, truly reflecting the area and people who made them. No novelty Michelangelo’s David aprons here!

So without further ado, here’s the best items to go shopping for in each town!

sea view from capri

Capri: Carthusia perfume

The gorgeous island of Capri is a Mediterranean paradise, and you’ll notice the scent straight away when you visit – sun, sea salt, flowers, lemons, and pine. What better way to bring back the memories than to have that scent bottled? So my shopping pick is Carthusia Perfume, which you can pick up from various locations (including Naples Airport), but is truly special when purchased from their store on Capri’s Viale Matteotti.

Carthusia has an interesting history. Legend dictates that Queen Joan of Anjou made a surprise visit to the Carthusian monastery on the the island – a startled prior had some local flowers picked and put into a vase, in order to make the monastery suitably scented, and presumably distract from the less-pleasant scent of a smelly cassock. After she’d left, the prior went to throw out the water from the vase, and realised that it had a particularly pleasant scent remaining in the water. Being a man with a bit of forethought, he eagerly wrote down the formula for producing the concoction.

bottle of carthusia mediterraneo perfume capri

Skip forward to 1948, and the prior of the Charterhouse discovered the ye olde formula, and sold it to a chemist in Piedmont. This created Cathusia perfume. Whether you believe the tale or not, the more pressing point is the perfume itself: how good is it?

Answer: very! You can go shopping for your new best friend at the laboratory/shop on Viale Matteotti which will conjure up scents from every corner of the island. Aria Di Capri invokes the scent of sun and flowers, whilst Mediterraneo is sparkling lemon and green tea. Fiori Di Capri claims to be the original prior’s recipe, and Corallium brings back memories of the deep blue sea. Check out the whole range here; good luck choosing which one you want most!

Not heading to Capri anytime soon, but still want in on Carthusia perfume? Good news: you can also buy it, or just check out the reviews, on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Want some more Capri info? Read about my day there, and find out the best things to do on your trip.

View of Positano beack Italy

Positano: Lemon goodies

When you visit Positano, one motif in particular will stick in your mind: lemons.

Not just the real, growing kind. When you’re on the main shopping street, you’ll see lemons everywhere: in perfumes, in candles, on tablecloths, in ceramics, and most gloriously of all, in the myriad of treats you can buy and bring home. Yes, the people of Positano know that when life gives you lemons, you squeeze those suckers and mix them with something sweet and tasty.

The best selection is in Sapori di Positano on Via dei Mulini – this little shop has everything that it is possible to produce from the humble lemon. Family run, it’s best known for its line of traditionally-made limoncello, a lemon liqueur that you’ll see quite frequently in the Amalfi Coast area. But don’t settle for the more-generic ones you see in the tourist shops; this is the better stuff. But my favourites are the sweet treats: the lemon candies, nougat (nothing is better than Italian nougat!), and lemon chocolate. Yes, you read that right, lemon chocolate.

lemon candy from positano italy

The taste and scent of lemon is so ubiquitous in this region of Italy, you really can’t being back the memories of your trip any better way than treating yourself to some lemon candies. And they make excellent snacks for the flight home, too!

Need more on Positano? Read about my death-defying day there, and get the essentials on the town.

Boat in Sorrento Italy by Vesuvius

Sorrento: Inlaid Wooden Boxes and Cameo Jewellery

Sorrento is a great town for shopping – the tiny streets just off Piazza Tasso are full of small stores and stalls selling all kinds of local products, from enormous fruit and vegetables to artisan gelato – but one of the most common sights you’ll see is a workshop selling the wooden boxes that the town is so well known for.

Wood inlay and cabinet-making have been a Sorrento specialty since the 14th century. The boxes are essentially a wooden mosaic, an incredibly difficult skill to master, but this is the home of the craft: it’s not uncommon to see the boxes being created and worked on, especially if you keep walking down the narrow streets in the direction of the Marina Grande.

And you’ll be amazed by the variety of boxes you can buy! Want a wood pattern? Not a problem. Want a variety of colours, bright blues, modest whites, vibrant reds? Easy. Want a different shape? Go for it! Different size? Sure, how many would you like? But lovers of purple beware: it’s considered an unlucky colour in Italy, and is a little harder to find!

My other shopping pick for Sorrento is something you see a little less, but is just as beautiful – and again, you can watch it being made! Cameo jewellery is traditional to Italy, and usually made from a shell – layers of white outer shell are painstakingly scraped away to reveal the coloured surface underneath, and the remaining white surface is carved into the most beautiful designs. The best place to buy one is Bimonte, on Via P.R. Giuliani (just around the corner from the church of San Francesco), probably one of the finest cameo workshops In Italy: drool over their collection here.

Falling in love with Sorrento? Read about the town and what to do there.

cat cameo bimonte sorrento

Naples: A gift from Christmas Alley

The name may sound like a terrible made-for-television movie shown during the festive period, but rest assured! It’s not actually called Christmas Alley. Phew.

Actually sporting the more authentic-sounding name of Via San Gregorio Armeno, this small side street has acquired the nickname of Christmas Alley thanks to the stalls lining the sides, which sell all kinds of Nativity scene figure imaginable. Known as presepi (from the Italian “presepe“, or “crib”), these stalls have become famous as the place to get your Nativity figures. And with the Nativity scenes being a very big deal in Naples – in Italy, you don’t just have a stable with the cozy family and a handful of shepherds; you assemble a whole village – it’s easy to see why this has become a busy street for shopping.

christmas alley naples

The street is at it’s peak in September and October when stallholders are gearing up for the Christmas period, some carving the figures deep within their stall, but it’s not just confined to winter festivities. If you’re a football/soccer fan, then you’ll definitely want to visit: you’ll never again see such a variety of statuettes and caricatures of footballers. Aside from images of the godlike Maradona (who has his own shrine just around the corner at Bar Nilo), you’ll be spoilt for choice for lovingly created statues of Napoli players, and slightly less-than loving figures of the rival Juventus team.

Politicians and celebrities are also not immune from the satirical eye of Christmas Alley, and if you’ve ever wanted a statuette of Donald Trump emerging from a toilet bowl, this is your chance.

Naples sounding too good to miss? Read about my underground experiences there, and find out the best things to do in the area.

view of amalfi italy

Amalfi Coast: Ceramics

Italy, and the Amalfi Coast in particular, have been renowned for ceramics for thousands of years. A fortunate meeting of ancient trade routes and rich volcanic soil meant that the ceramics trade became firmly established early on, and nothing’s changed – you’ll still see countless ceramic shops as you travel along the Amalfi Coast.

The obvious use is homewares, and if you fancy shipping some home, you’ll find an absolutely mind boggling array of items to give your apartment a touch of Amalfi bling. Dish sets, more plates than you can shake a… plate… at, vases, umbrella stands: the choice is yours. And then there’s picking a design! Lemons are, predictably, a popular theme.

If you’d like something a tiny bit smaller, and more likely to survive the journey home, tiles are a good choice. You’ll see plenty of shops selling these, particularly ones depicting the local landscape, or the blue and white Cross of Amalfi. However, my choice was a shop along Via Lorenzo D’Amalfi, which seems to specialise in cat-shaped homewares. And that’s exactly my kind of souvenir!

Fancy reading some more on Amalfi? Read about the town, and the world’s cutest puppy, here.

ceramic cat mug amalfi

Guaranteed Shopping Satisfaction

If you’re a hardcore shopper, or if like me, you just fancy a poke around the shops every now and then, you’re in for a treat.

Wherever you visit in the Naples/Amalfi Coast region, you’re guaranteed to find things that you’ll want to bring home. For the big budget traveller, Capri is a paradise, with Via Camarelle hosting some of the most exclusive stores in Italy. Sorrento is perfect for lovers of handmade goods, and Positano will satisfy sweet-toothed art lovers. Naples and Amalfi are brilliant for finding the quirky knick-knacks that’ll find a place in your heart, but all of them will have you reaching for your purse or wallet, and making a memory.

Have you bought or tried any of the above? Let me know in the comments!

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Shopping in Italy - Capri, Positano, Sorrento, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast

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47 Comments

  • Reply
    Lorelle Catalano
    March 2, 2018 at 9:00 am

    A shoppers heaven! I remember stocking up on Limoncello and other lemon goodies when in Positano. Delicious. 🙂

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 2, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Me too! I bought a huge bag of the lemon sweets – they weighed me down for the rest of the day! Totally worth it, though . 😀

  • Reply
    Nicola
    March 3, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Oh what a great idea. Perfect as I’m going to Amalfi coast in April and I love lemon. Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Ha, you’re definitely going to the right place, in that case! Have a great time! 🙂

  • Reply
    Susanna
    March 3, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Your photos to go with this are so dreamy! One of my favorite things about Italy is all the lemon goodies. The ceramics are really cute as well. I’ve always wanted to go to the Amalfi Coast!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Ohh you’ve got to do it!! It really is like some beautiful, summer dream.

  • Reply
    Kyla
    March 3, 2018 at 9:29 am

    The lemon goodies in Positano look amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Positano is like Lemon Central. You see a lot of lemon goodies all over the region, but that seems to be where a lot of them are made!

  • Reply
    Nina
    March 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I remembered the Christmas gift alley in Naples! It was so cool. I bought my parents an ornament there.

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:05 am

      It’s a wonderful place!! I’ve never seen so many ornaments, it was awesome – I love how they make one for every profession imaginable!

  • Reply
    Lisanne
    March 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Great post! I want to visit Italy again at the end of the year so definitely saving this post!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Thank you! And ooo, nice! Where are you thinking of going?

  • Reply
    Hazel
    March 3, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Fantastic ideas, who doesn’t love all things lemon? The amalfi coast is so beautiful and it would be amazing to bring home some of the fab ceramics as a memento!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:07 am

      I definitely love lemony things! The ceramics are truly gorgeous, though some of the pieces you can buy are HUGE – I think most places offer shipping, fortunately!

  • Reply
    Helene
    March 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Okay this is the best post because… I went to all these places recently but it was such a quick trip and I left empty handed! I’m going back in May and now I’ll be fully equipped!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Oh yay!! I’ll be there this spring too, and I’ll probably be coming back with armfuls of lemon loot (again!)

  • Reply
    Kylie
    March 3, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    What cute little gifts! I love picking up ‘tat’ from my trips….me and my sis call it ‘tat shopping’ but we love it! Your gifts definitely aren’t tat though 😀

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Oh, I LOVE tat shopping! My boyfriend wanted as many tat souvenirs as I could bring back; it was glorious.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    March 3, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    We only spent a couple of days on the Amalfi Coast but I absolutely fell in love with it! The scenery is dreamy and you’re right, the lemon goodies are to die for! We might have drunk a little too much limoncello. LOL! Thanks for the great share!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:13 am

      I like to think of drinking too much limoncello as “supporting the local industry”. 😀 It’s such a beautiful area – I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last few days, and getting quite reverse-homesick!

  • Reply
    Christina
    March 3, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    SUCH a handy guide! those amalfi coast lemons are something else, hey?? I loveeed grabbing samples all around the different shops when I was there hehe.

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:15 am

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who grabs the samples!! 😀 You should see me in food markets; I’m terrible.

  • Reply
    Bruna Venturinelli
    March 3, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I’m usually scared of masks, but I’d buy one of those masks hanging as a souvenir. To put on the wall, you know? I hope it doesn’t sound creepy! Lol. 🙂

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:17 am

      I absolutely understand that! 🙂 I’m not keen on masks either (one of my worst-ever moments was when I was alone on a train, and a guy in a Goofy mask got on and stared at me. Thankfully he moved off!), but I have a mask from Venice on my wall. It’s so beautiful that it becomes anti-creepy!

  • Reply
    Maike
    March 3, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Great guide! I love limoncello and this cat cup from Amalfi is super cute!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Thank you! It’s by far my favourite mug! I’ll buy anything with a cat on it. 😀

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 3, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Awesome recommendations and gorgeous pictures!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Thank you very much! 🙂

  • Reply
    Chandrima
    March 3, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    This is such a great guide for shoppers! I’m definitely checking up on this when I visit Italy.

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Thank you, Chandrima! I hope it gives you some good ideas! 🙂

  • Reply
    Amy Poulton - Page Traveller
    March 3, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Oooh I love this guide! I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy, but haven’t been to this region since I was a kid and would love to go back precisely to shop! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Thank you!! It’s a really awesome area to shop in, though that often gets forgotten because there’s so many interesting cultural diversions and experiences there – some great markets in Naples, too!

  • Reply
    Sarah Shumate
    March 4, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Back in 2015, we visited all of these places (except for Capri – too busy!) and loved them all! Shopping wasn’t super high on our to-do list, but we did purchase a few lemon-scented goodies and gave limoncello a try! We even brought a couple travel-sized ones home because I liked the little jars they came in so much! 🙂

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:23 am

      I have a thing about pretty bottles!! I know exactly what you mean; I always want to bring them back and then line them up on the window, but then I worry about what impression of me that gives to my neighbours. 😛

  • Reply
    Viola
    March 4, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Oh that perfume sounds like it smells amazing. I love perfumes so I would definitely want to hunt that down in Capri! 😛 Awesome suggestions Nicky!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:25 am

      I really can’t recommend Carthusia enough; it’s such a strong reminder of Capri, very unique, and not overpriced! The shop on Capri is great for letting you sample all of the different ones, too!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    March 4, 2018 at 5:16 am

    So much fun!! I want ceramics from
    The Amalfi Coast because that cat mug is too cute. Also wouldn’t mind some perfume and that jewelry box is insanely beautiful. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:26 am

      I love my little jewellery box! The cat cameo lives inside it – it plays music, too! <3

  • Reply
    Sara Essop
    March 4, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Thanks for the great shopping tips. I’ve been to parts of Italy but not these places – yet. The Amalfi Coast is especially high up on my bucket list.

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:27 am

      The Amalfi Coast is definitely somewhere that’s got to be done – I’ve been there four times, but I just can’t resist going back!

  • Reply
    Tracy
    March 4, 2018 at 5:48 am

    Such a beautiful part of the world and some fabulous buys to be had! I have to say a bottle of limoncello and everything lemon is my favourite!

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:28 am

      I am there with you! I bought so much lemon stuff, as you can see – and that was still scratching the surface! 😛

  • Reply
    Rosie Kerrigan
    March 4, 2018 at 6:55 am

    What a great list!! I would buy so many packs of these lemon goodies, I’m ashamed to admit :))

    • Reply
      thatanxioustraveller
      March 4, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Haha, I bought the hugest bag of the lemon sweets – I’m still working my way through them!

  • Reply
    Louise
    March 4, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    I absolutely love Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. I did a cooking course in Sorrento last time I was there which was brilliant – I still make a few recipes from the recipe book I received! I haven’t been to Capri yet though – I’m saving it for when I’m no longer single as it seems like a very romantic place 😉

  • Reply
    Lisa - The Wandering Lens
    March 5, 2018 at 3:48 am

    Great article, I’m a sucker for buying ceramics when I’m travelling! Usually oversized tea cups so I’ll have to keep an eye out when I’m in Italy next 🙂

  • Reply
    Tahiya
    March 6, 2018 at 12:59 am

    It was so much fun buying masks and ceramics from Venice. Sadly, I did not have the time to visit Amalfi coast. Def want to do a cooking class! Pinning these pics!

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