Grocery Shopping in Italy by Jordyn Spraker

Grocery shopping in Italy required a lot of adjusting on my part, and it is one of the most noticeable culture shocks that I have experienced during my time here. If you are anything like me, you don’t particularly enjoy going to the grocery store on a normal day in Charleston. Walmart may not be the bane of my existence, but it certainly is not one of my favorite places to be. However, after living in Italy for three weeks, the grocery shopping experience I took for granted at home – large stores with plenty of space to avoid crowds and everything you may need, all in one place – is something I would appreciate now. The grocery stores in downtown Florence are relatively small, and are therefore unlikely to have everything that is on your grocery list for the day. This means that you will have to walk to multiple stores, or simply wait and look for the missing items another day. I have two grocery store tips for future study abroad students in Florence, Italy. First, when shopping for fresh produce, wear gloves! There is a stand near the produce section with gloves and bio-degradable bags intended for your produce. You will be scolded if you touch the product with bare hands, so don’t forget! After picking out your fruits and veggies, you will need to weigh the items yourself. The first time I had to do this, and sometimes even now, I was very overwhelmed and nervous because I’m not fluent in Italian and it was a new process for me to learn in public. It gets easier the more you do it. Lastly, bring your own reusable bags to carry your items. Italy, like other parts of Europe, encourages sustainable living more than the United States, I would argue. Consequently, if the stores even have bags for you, you will be charged for them. Bringing a reusable bag from home is a must on your packing list and you will have less plastic waste.

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