But, since I moved back to the U.S., whenever I go to Italy, my first thoughts for what to buy tend toward food. Here's a sampling of what I brought home from my trip just last month. Of course, there was wine and olive oil. But I also brought back coffee, honey, cheese, lentils, polenta, chocolates, lots of cookies, and more. It's seriously like Christmas when I unpack. Even the wooden "bowl" (made from olive wood) is something I brought back. It's fun to go out into the countryside and shop local specialties, but whenever I travel anywhere in the world, I also love to make the local grocery store one of my stops. For me, it's great fun to see what the locals are putting in their shopping carts.
There are an incredible number of ceramics shops in this one small town. It would be impossible to go into them all in one day. But I do have my favorites that I return to whenever I'm there. The artisans in this town have family histories steeped in pottery making and in painting. Prices are higher than they used to be years ago (Isn't that true everywhere?), but they are still a bargain compared to what you would pay for these products in the U.S., and you see a LOT more variety. Irene's rule of packing: Never travel without bubble wrap.