Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shopping in Como, Italy

We wanted to write about vintage shopping in Como, but since there are just couple of shops even remotely vintage, we are going to share what we think are the must see spots in this beautiful northern Italian city.

The reason why we travel to same city every year at the same time is Swing Crash Festival, one of Europe's biggest swing dance events during summer. We usually shop during the day and dance the night away... In between we enjoy Italian cuisine with nice wines. Here are some of our top picks from our latest trip:

Vintage shops
For clothes there's a shop called Mercatino Michela on Via Francisco Benzi 13. They mostly had modern fashion but there were some vintage pieces as well. The prices are quite high from our point of view.

We've only managed to find one shop that sells vintage stuff that's not really "old antique". It's located behind the main bus station and it's called Mercatino Usato. They have loads of stuff from past decades and prices are fairly cheap.

There's a department store called COIN in the center of Como (Via Boldoni 3), you can find people selling random vintage items next to the store in a small alley on most days. Handbags, jewelry and watches would be items to look for from those tables.

Vintage reptile embossed leather purse found last summer. 

Shoe shops
Our two favourite shoe shops are Square and Black One. Square has all the shoes categorized by size and they all cost the same, this year 30 eur, but we've seen 15 eur days too. And they got Italian leather shoes!

A shop called Black One has a great selection of Italian shoes, and the prices are very competitive, you can find chic leather shoes for 40 euros or even cheaper. Blackone is located on Piazza S. Fedele. We've never left Blackone without a new pair of shoes!

Square on Via Giuseppe Rovelli

Take a break
While us girls spend an hour in each shoe shop trying everything in our size, our male companions sit down for a cold beer in Café Tropical. They have nice seating outside and very friendly and welcoming staff. Sometimes they bring a complimentary snack. Their bathroom in the back yard is also something to see. Somewhat an exotic experience, go and find out!

Cafe Tropical is located opposite to Square shoe shop on Via Giuseppe Rovelli

Rosé wine for cooling down between shoe shops
Wine & dine
There are plenty of good restaurants in Como. Our all time favorites are the Il Pomodorino on Via Cinque Giornate and La Darsena by the lake. Pomodorino has outside seating in a small courtyart, very good place for a romantic dinner. La Darsena is the place to go if you want to watch the sunset while you eat. Both places serve pizza, price approx. 8-12 euros, bottle of local wine 20-25 euros.

Gelato is the obvious choice for dessert, snack, breakfast and for cooling down on a hot summer day. If you want something else, we recommend frozen yoghurt from the Yogurt & Co. It's delicious! 

Other stuff
If you are staying in Como for longer there are plenty of cool things to see and do. If the weather's nice (it usually is) there's a beach near the fountain. Just walk on the right hand side of the lake  (looking from the Piazza Cavour) untill you see a big fountain in the lake. There's a pizza restaurant and they've got a little private beach on their back yard. They charge for everything, but for 15 euros you'll get an entrance, towel and a sun bed.
Be a tourist
There are boats going to every little village along the banks of lago di Como. A great day trip is to visit Bellagio. It's quite touristic, but there's a chance to bump into George Clooney...

If you've already traveled along the lake, so next step is to try a bit of hiking up the hill. For beginners (like us) we recommend riding the Funicolare up to Brunate and walking the trail up to the Volta Lighthouse. the altitude is 900 meters above sea level, so remember to keep hydrated and take it easy if the weather is hot.

When you're walking up the hill and you see this sign, you're not even close. So take a break and have a cold drink, the view is great!

Wiev from Dolce Basilico

More shopping?
If you are up for some vintage shopping, hop on the train and ride to Milano. If you've rented a car and are into more modern look, there's a massive outlet mall in Switzerland side of the border, it's called FoxTown.

There's a market each Saturday next to the wall that surrounds Como from south. You'll find loads of cheap Chinese clothes from there, but also some Italian clothing and shoes. Watch your purse, it can get crowded in there!

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