Shopping in Rovereto


Surreptitious browsing in my favourite Rovereto store.

Something of a joke among our friends here is that this area is too wealthy. Why is this a problem? Because it means that making money just does not seem to be a priority. And a business proprietor uninterested in making money is also uninterested in their customer. In our small Italian town that means opening hours are limited. Monday mornings, Saturday afternoons and Sundays are all common closing times. Long, 3 or 4 hour lunchtime closes are not uncommon.

Time and time again I find my perfect shopping time is a shop's preferred closing time. On slow, lazy mornings I leave my house just as the stores are closing. Or after lunch, as my meal is digesting and I haven't regained my work rhythm, I might venture out for stamps. This is always a mistake. Our first summer here, I was often the sole inhabitant on the city's streets at 3 pm on a hot July afternoon. If the Roveretani hadn't already disappeared to their mountain houses, they were shut behind the wooden shutters, not daring to go out in the heat of the day.

I am quite happy to live in a city where shopping is not encouraged. Where even the facades of stores seem to retreat into themselves. When their metal grills are down they are almost unnoticeable. It was some months before I realised there was a bread shop on corner, and in fact a number of stores hide in what I had originally thought was our quiet residential street.

This photo, in which I have been told I look rather guilty, is in one of my favourite stores. Because it so perfectly encapsulates the erraticness of a small town. The proprietor is rather crotchety. Browsing in the store is not encouraged. Touching is forbidden. My mother was encouraged to leave because she was so obviously a visitor. Non toccare (don't touch) signs are everywhere and if you do presume to browse, the proprietor will be bustling and busy in your way, no matter where you step. I invent items to buy, just to take guests in there. Often it will be a dish brush, sometimes a cookie cutter. 

On this occasion the proprietor had a friend visiting. Allowing my visitor and I to poke around, to take a photo. This was considered a success.

A lot of visitors must wander in because it is so inviting. A veritable magpie nest of shiny cookie cutters, crowds of tea cups and a clutter of kitchenware: the most anti-minimalist of displays. In the great tradition of Italian stores, all the merchandise is also displayed in the window. So if you do want to browse you must do it outside.

2 Comments on “Shopping in Rovereto

  1. I was so glad to run across your blog. It’s quite entertaining. My husband and I have recently started to live part of the time in Rovereto when we are not in the U.S. I know this store, and your comments are so true. You were brave to go there more than once! I’m curious if you have any recommendations for places to take Italian lessons. We’ve studied in Verona, but I’d like to find somewhere closer when we are in Rovereto. Thanks for your blog!

    1. That’s so nice that you get to split your time across two countries! I would love if I could do that one day :)
      For language lessons in Rovereto you can try the Don Milani school, which offers community/adult education classes. The classes are cheap, but the students change often meaning there’s often not much continuity across lessons. Or try Aispik which offers private lessons. I emailed them last year, at that point they had private or two person lessons for 3o ish per hr. Or through the language centre at Trento University. This last one is in Trento, but the train ride is much shorter than to Verona. This last one I always wanted to try but the timing never matched up for me. I hope some of that helps!

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