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Bargain Shopping in Italy    

Italy is full of culture, history, fabulous architecture, and artisans of every sort. Tourists flock to Italy for romance, the delicious cuisine, and to experience the wonders of this lush country. But did you know that Italy is also a shopper's haven?

For ceramics and pottery, you can find many great deals throughout Italy. The Lake District boasts many fine manufacturers with discount shops, especially around Lake Maggiore. Or, if you're in the south of Italy, you can find a large selection of vendors throughout Sicily, where artisans have been fine tuning their craft for hundreds of years. the best deals are howver in Vietri sul mare on the Amalfi coast and Deruta in Umbria. Deruta is a small town with only 500 inhabitants and 200 pottery business so you will have plenty of choices. The tip: Buy directly from the large manufacturers to have the best prices. Avoid ceramiche Funny ( you can find many complaints about them on the web ) and avoid ceramiche Ficola ( they sell  Deruta-style ceramics that are actually low end goods mostlly made in China etc).  

Outlet stores are another way to go when scouting out bargains in Italy. They are literally everywhere, but can sometimes be tricky to find. If you remember the famous teapot with the little bird in the spout, then you already know about Alessi. They are known throughout the world for their innovative and functional kitchenware, and the Alessi outlet can be found in Piedmont.

Ginori china is known worldwide, and you can get factory seconds and discontinued pieces at the Richard Ginori Botteguccia outlet in Sesto Fiorentino (just outside of Florence). They also carry glassware, crystal, and silverware. The shop is across from the Richard Ginori Museum.

In Rome, you'll find the Fabris Leather Outlet, and at Fucecchio you can discover Marianelli. Both stores carry a wide variety of wonderful leather and leather products.

Fine crystal can be found at the Cristalleria Laica, at Colle Val d'Elsa. This well known line of crystal can be had for 50% off regular prices, so don't miss this one!

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Shopping in Tokyo    

Dotted around train stations and in some shopping areas you can find 100 yen shops. They are similar to $1 shops found in some other countries. In 100 yen shops, you can find chopsticks, tableware, fans, kites, origami paper, calligraphy sets, "Hello Kitty" and much, much more! A great place for buying cheap souvenirs.

There's no shortage of department stores in central Tokyo. The best shopping locations are Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukero (JR Yamanote Line), Ginza and Nihombashi (Ginza Subway Line). Isetan prices are mid to high; one of the biggest branches is on the east side of Shinjuku Station. There's a food hall in the basement. Established in the 1930's, the flagship Mitsukoshi store is in Nihombashi (Ginza Subway Line). Two lions (modeled after the lions in Trafalgar's Square, London) guard the front entrance and once inside, another statue - Magokoro, the Goddess of Sincerity - reaches from floor to ceiling. There's also a 1930's Wurlitzer pipe organ and a theatre!     

Shopping in St. Thomas, USVI    

St. Thomas is home to world renowned shopping! Hundreds of duty free shops line the streets and alleys of the capital, Charlotte Amalie. The best buys on St. Thomas include jewelry, alcohol, china, crystal, perfumes, art, clothing, watches and cameras. If you are in the market for something in particular, primarily jewelry and cameras, it is a good idea to know what the going price is in your home town; some items are better deals than others so it pays to know what items cost at home.

The greatest density of stores is in Charlotte Amalie. The principal street there is Dronningens Gade, better known as Main Street. Parallel to Main Street is Back Street and Waterfront. In Charlotte Amalie there is an area called Vendors Plaza where vendors set up small booths, tables and tents from which they sell an assortment of souvenirs. Vendors Plaza is located across from the Emancipation Park and Fort Christian. There you will find silver jewelry, t-shirts, tropical print wrap skirts, shirts and dresses, imitation bags and watches, trinkets and more. Smaller shopping areas include; American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook, Lockhart Gardens, Tutu Park Mall and Nisky Center. These areas cater primarily to residents; you will find pharmacies, clothing stores, grocery stores, unique shops, art shops and music stores at these locations. Mountain Top and Paradise Point are both attractions, primarily known for offering extraordinary views but they both offer shopping as well. Tillett Gardens, is an oasis of arts and crafts; pottery, silk-screened fabrics, candles, paintings, jewelry, and more.

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