Shopping

market3Shopping information

Opening hours

Most shops, garages and businesses open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 am, close at 12.30 or 1 p.m. for lunch and re-open at 4.30 (5 p.m. during July & August) until 8 p.m. or later. Main supermarkets in nearby Castiglione del Lago are open Mon-Fri: all day. Almost every type of  shop closes on Sunday except bars, restaurants and delicatessens; Supermarkets  open Sunday mornings in July, August & December. Large shops selling household goods open Sunday afternoons and get very busy.

Official holidays, when everything closes, are:
January 1st, January 6th (Epiphany), Easter Monday, April 25th (Liberation Day),
May 1st, August 15th (Ferragosto – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), November 1st (All Saints Day), December 8th (Immaculate Conception), December 25th & 26th.

Methods of paying

Credit /Switch/ Master Cards
This part of Italy is still very much a cash society! Don’t rely on using credit cards at the supermarkets, they do take them (with the exception of Lidl) but during very busy times are often off line! Most general shops  accept credit cards in payment. At both the Etrusco and the Co-op there are Banks where you can  use the ATM but  do tell your Bank in advance so that they can authorise payments overseas.

Shopping Culture

The practice of shopping daily in village shops still exists but is slowly changing with the growth of Supermarkets. Independent Butchers can be more expensive than buying meat in supermarkets, but other things are usually competitively priced. Most general stores (Alimentari) and supermarkets now stock many of the things British visitors want such as fresh milk, butter, cereals, fruit juice, tea bags, instant coffee, etc.  ‘Lidl’ supermarket in Castiglione & ‘Pam’ in Chiusi stock a wider range of familiar products.

There are some things you won’t find such as bacon & baked beans! salted butter can be hard to find as Italians prefer unsalted. Much of the bread is unsalted too so tends to go rock hard in a very short time – you buy these loaves by weight or ask for Pane salato, ciabatta, Panini (rolls) and baguettes (sfilatini) if you want salted bread.  Sliced bread is also salted but lacks the authentic Italian bread flavour

Fresh fruit and vegetables are seasonal and reasonably priced – everything seems to have more taste here.

Joints of meat are cut differently but many things are familiar and Pork (maiale) either on or off the bone, is particularly good. ‘Bifesteak’ from the Val di Chiana is some of the best T bone steak you could taste. Try the fresh sausages, they are delicious, especially on the barbecue. Lamb is traditionally served at Easter and again at Christmas. It is delicious but much smaller than in the UK with bite size chops so often not worth the effort.

Umbria is famous for its raw hams (prosciutto crudo), salami’s and sausages, so try some of these at the many delicatessens in the Centro Storico at Castiglione del Lago and take home some of the handmade pasta, jars of truffles and pre-prepared soup mixes for the authentic Italian taste back home.

Local Supermarket & Shops

In our local villages of Goiella & Porto, which are approx. 4 kms away, there are small general stores which are fine for basic shopping including fresh meats, cheeses, bread and milk.

In nearby Pozzuolo  there is a  larger CONAD supermarket with a good fresh meat counters. It is also very good for fresh fruit and vegetables   and the Manager & the Butcher Vasco, speak pretty good English.

Supermarkets in  Castiglione del Lago

  • CO-OP with good fruit & vegetables and fresh fish & meat counter
  • EMI – smaller with good deli counter
  • Famigla- the newest supermarket, good for wine selection.
  • Lidl – budget cost, good range of products  & special offers.  Great fresh bread self service counter
  • Eurospin –  another budget cost supermarket with a good range of own label products and a fresh meat butcher

Supermarkets in  Chiusi

  • PAM – a good shopping Mall (the Etrusco) near Chius right by the Chiusi exit/ entrance for the A1 Motorway.
  • It has a wide range of familiar products but is slightly more expensive.
  • Lidl – budget cost, good range of products  & special offers.  Great fresh bread self service counter

market2Direct Sales

Wine – in Castiglione del Lago near the Emi supermarket is the local Cantina where wine growers bring their grapes. You can buy wine from approx. 75p a bottle there, or fill up a demijohn from their ‘petrol pumps’! Short scenic rides away from me  are many vineyards selling wine and it is possible to buy”Vino Nobile” & “Brunello” wines direct from vineyards around the Montepulciano and Montalcino areas. Nearer to hand Solismo in the village sells wine made from Gamay grapes and ten minutes drive away is our favourite the ‘Madrevite’ vineyard selling wine,olive oil and honey. Take along a demijohn and buy 5 litres of their ‘vin sfuso’ (literally loose wine), it is delicious.

Olive Oil – The nearest Frantoia (Olive press) is in Petrignano. Many ‘Agriturisimo’s’  and local vineyards sell their own oil  and I have my own 100% organic olive oil for sale too.

Fruit & Veg – on the road between Gioiella & Viaino is a local producer who sells organic fresh veg. which he picks to order -you cannot get fresher than that and his prices are excellent. Every time we go there we come away with a new recipe -after all eating is a very serious business in Italy!

Cheese – Pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese) is a local speciality and is probably the nearest to English Cheddar.  ‘Stagionata’ is the mature version and ‘fresco’ is the mild,  soft version suitable for breakfast. It is often sold on farms around Pienza so look for the signs as you drive along. All the local shops  sell many different types of Pecorino. Other wonderful cheeses to try is the ‘Mozzarella di Bufalo’  made with buffalo milk, ‘gorgonzola’ and its creamier version ‘dolcelatta’, ricotta, marscapone & provalone (both smoked and fresh) -try them all, they are delicious

market1Markets

The busiest time of the week in small towns is “market day” and this is an interesting time to visit the smaller places as you can combine being part of the local life style with looking at historic buildings etc.

There are always stalls with fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese and meats such as Porchetta salamis and prosciutto crudo (raw ham) clothes, shoes and household goods. They start early in the morning and finish before 1 p.m. leaving lots of time for sightseeing

Local Markets

Monday – Chiusi Scalo (near railway station), Tavernelle
Tuesday – Chiusi Citta (the old, high, town), Sinalunga, Perugia
Wednesday – Siena (all day), Castiglione del Lago, Chianciano Terme
Thursday – Camucia, Montpulciano, Magione, Lucignano, Trequanda
Friday – Pienza, Sarteano, Torrita di Siena, Montalcino, Castiglione Fiorentino
Saturday – Cortona, Arrezzo, Citta della Pieve, Cetona, Bettolle, Montepulciano Stazione.

On the 1st Sunday of the month – Arezzo hosts an Antique Market. This is a huge market that takes over the whole of the old town centre. Fascinating to see but very expensive.

In August Montepulciano hosts a summer fair, November Perugia hosts a week long Fair ‘Feira del Morte’ (fair of the dead) both of which sell just about everything and there are Christmas markets at Citta della Pieve and Perugia.

Medical care/Pharmacies

To access free/subsidised healthcare during your stay,UK residents will need to bring their plastic health insurance card which will entitle them to reciprocal health care in Italy. We have a very good cottage hospital in Castiglione del Lago and if you have any medical problems while on holiday here then you can just visit the Pronto Soccorso (emergency/minor injuries). Take your card and passport with you, there will be a 25€ charge. We also have an excellent English Dentist  in Castiglione del Lago

Pharmacies are identified by a green cross and we have a good one in Gioiella. The pharmacist is used much more here than in U.K. and they advise on minor ailments. Doctors and Hospitals are reserved for more serious issues. In the event of holiday ailments the pharmacist should be your first port of call.

Petrol Stations

Petrol is quite expensive currently it is about €1.615 litre. Petrol can be obtained during the same hours as the shops are open. Petrol is usually served by an attendant & they will check your oil & water if asked. Petrol can also be obtained from many larger Petrol stations on a 24 hour basis, using a self service system ( you put cash/ cards in a central machine to the value of the Petrol you want, select the pump and then go and fill up). Smaller petrol stations may not accept credit cards so ask first!