This past year, more than ever before, I’ve been thankful for all the souvenirs I’ve purchased while traveling. Meting out a precious dose extra virgin olive oil spoonful at a time has brought my taste buds endless happiness and a gustatory trip to our favorite vineyard in the Chianti region—Montefioralle Winery. Staring at photos we’ve taken (or had taken of us), as well as paintings and prints on our walls allows me endless day dreaming of happier times. Spraying a favorite perfume gives me an olfactory trip to my favorite perfumer—Aqua Flor in Florence.
From the cream I rub on my face to the spray I use on my linens, from the black leather coin purse in which I keep my change to the hand-tooled chard holder for my Roaming Historian business cards, I’m constantly using products that remind me of my travels. Every room of my house bears a memento from a vacation past. By surrounding myself with these treasures I keep the good times rolling and the memories of the places I’ve been alive. They become “memory keepers” so to say.
For me, it’s important to buy local. I especially seek out souvenirs that will support the local economy—its shopkeepers, producers, and artisans. It’s a nice way to support the cultures I appreciate and a good way to ensure they stay alive to delight future generations.
We will travel again and when we do here are the souvenirs I recommend you buy in Italy or wherever you roam.
- Photos—we buy vintage photos of places we love, postcards, or frame our own (Roaming Historian has its own photo shop on Etsy). We hired a photographer in Rome one year and he took the most fabulous shots of us. See more about him in this blog: https://roaminghistorian.com/2019/06/16/airbnb-experiences-photo-shoot-rome/
- Paintings/Prints—I like to buy from street artists or at local markets. I’ve found some gorgeous paintings and prints just by shopping at antiques markets or outdoor vendors in artsy areas of a city.
- Ceramics—tiles are easy to pack and transport. With ceramics, smaller is better (unless you have them shipped), because they can add a lot of weight to a suitcase. Wrap your clothes around the piece to help insulate it from the roughness of travel.
- Blown glass—Murano island near Venice is known for its glass blowing. Make sure to pick up a piece while there, but double-check that is was indeed made there (there are a lot of foreign glass pieces for sale).
- Hand-tooled leather goods like keychains, card holders, and boxes can make a long-lasting gift.
- Jewelry—I love seeking out local jewelry makers. It ensures that I have one of a kind pieces to bring me joy for years to come.
- Stationary/journals—some places, like Florence or Amalfi, have a history of producing quality paper products…often with fine leather bindings.
- Marble plaques–there is a store on the via Margutta in Rome called La Bottega del Marmoraro. I’ve picked up engraved marble plaques many times. See my video for close ups.
Perfume, creams, lotions, room sprays, soaps, and other luxurious beauty goods make great gifts and a nice way to pamper yourself once you return home.
Clothes, scarves (make great gifts since you don’t need to know a size), purses, wallets, and belts all make easily transportable souvenirs.
Olive oil, spices, candy, and other non-perishable items allow you to recreate that special meal you enjoyed on vacation. Just make sure you are familiar with customs regulations, because a lot of food goods are prohibited.
Magnets, keychains, bookmarks, and other little goodies make great souvenirs. I also like to find local artisans who make decorative arts for the home to take home. I have some neat little pieces of decorative art that I’ve found throughout my travels.
Because I always enjoy seeing what people buy on vacation, I made a short video showing you some of my treasures from our travels.
These are some souvenirs to bring home from your next trip. Do you have something that you collect when on vacation? What gifts do you give to yourself when you travel? Please leave a comment–I love to hear from my readers. Happy travels! Amy