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Florence Supermarkets Overview

You can find supermarkets all over Florence. They vary in size and content but offer the same convenience and value for money that you would find in your local supermarket at home.

There are some slight differences of course. You will not find peanut butter and jelly, dozens of varieties of cereals or bread in plastic bags, but is this a bad thing? Instead you find gourmet quality jams, pastries, ice cream, fruit, vegetables, butter and cheeses for a great price. Often you will find that they are on sale. Freshly baked Italian breads, cold cuts and olives make a great picnic meal in your room for next to nothing. You can even buy delicious ready-made sandwiches and salads. In addition, you can also find shampoo, washing liquid, toothpaste, moisturiser and even good quality wine available.

You will find both heat treated milk and fresh milk in store. Heat treated milk is normally packaged in a heavy plastic white bottle or a cardboard carton.
Supermarket trolleys are normally chained to one another at the front of the store. To access a trolley, deposit a 1 Euro coin into the slot on the handle. When the coin is deposited the chain is released and you can pull the trolley free. When you finish shopping, simply return the trolley to the front of the store and join the chain from the last trolley in the storage area into the slot in your trolley. When this happens, your coin is released.

Fruit and vegetables are a great find in Italian supermarkets. They are normally of very high quality and you will find many varieties on sale. To purchase fruit and vegetables, take the amount of the fruit or vegetable you require and place into a plastic bag. Some supermarkets require you to use the provided plastic gloves to even touch the produce! Take the bag to the weighing machine that will be located nearby and place on the scale, enter the name of your choice (you will find that pictures are often used to make life easier) into the machine and a ticket will be released stating the weight and price. Place the sticker on your bag and then pay for it with your items at checkout.

Plastic bags have a tricky way of tearing at the worst possible moments and in addition, you are also expected to pay for them. To make life easier, buy a foldable tote size nylon bag and use it to pack your items. Italian supermarkets require you to pack your own bags. This is not necessarily a bad thing, who wants to find crushed biscuits at the bottom of their bag?

Grocery stores or Alimentari are smaller shops that sell a variety of food items. When you enter, greet the shopkeeper with ‘Buongiorno’. If you show some eagerness to speak the language, you will find the staff can be a great help. Usually there will be a wide choice of cheeses, wine and cold cuts along with freshly baked bread. Everyday basics can also be found but you will pay more for them than at the supermarket. Ask the shopkeeper for assistance if you wish to purchase any fruit or vegetables because it is not customary to handle these goods in alimentari.

 Room service is fun on occasion and dining out is always enjoyable when you are on vacation but the cost can add up. Choosing to shop like a local and eat in every few nights can save you a lot and enable you relax and recharge.
Supermarket hours vary depending on size and location. The usual hours for a larger supermarket are 8.00am-8.00pm Monday to Saturday and 9.00am-1.00pm on Sundays. Grocery stores usually open twice a day in the morning and late afternoon.


Sunday March 31st 2010

The Sale of Alcohol

Alcohol has now been prohibited from sale in convenience stores (alimentari) and supermarkets after 9.15 pm.  Fines for suppliers of alcohol after this time can reach 1000 Euros. The only exception to this law is on New Years Eve. This new law does not to apply to pubs,clubs, restaurants and hotels where the consumption of alcohol takes place inside the business.

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