Never trust price tags in Italy, especially at a market! It’s common sense to haggle at a market with a dealer, and it’s a typical touristy fault not to negotiate the price. Because, why should you pay the full amount if you can get a discount quickly? The price tag is often anyways the 100% price plus an extra charge, and no one will have nothing to eat at the end of the day if you haggle at a market in Italy and ask for a discount.
Tips on how to successfully negotiate with a dealer and haggle at a market in Italy
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a (way) lower price
For most haggling feels a bit weird. But, it’s not about the ability to not afford the high price, it is just usual to haggle. It often even turns out to be quite entertaining, even as a spectator. Make sure to talk loud and clear, and if there is a language barrier, make sure to follow the next Tip for haggling in a foreign country.
- Overcome language barriers by smart tricks
If your Italian is not so good, or you don’t speak Italian at all, and the dealer probably doesn’t understand English very well, use another way to communicate. As it’s all about money with haggling, use your phone and type the price in. You can use your calculator App or just your Memo/Notes App. Be aware of pickpockets; don’t give your smartphone out of your hands! Another possibility, if you have a pen and a paper or brochure, write the lower price and show it to the dealer. If he’s shaking his head, you can write another, slightly higher, price. Often the sellers have a pocket calculator themselves, so both of you can use it.
- Act like you don’t need the product
It’s quite often that you don’t find each other during the first session of haggling at a market in Italy. But don’t worry, say ‘ciao‘ (Italian for bye) and go away. Come back after some time (max 30 minutes to one hour, not too long so he won’t recognise you anymore!) and continue a bit lower on the price scale than where you left.
- Stay true to your first, lower price, but then accept a price that is in between the initial and yours
- Be thankful after successful haggling!
The art of haggling should always be friendly; therefore it’s essential to say ‘Grazie‘ (thanks) after successfully making a purchase. It’s also not too uncommon to shake hands after finalising a price, and don’t forget to smile.
- Find joy in haggling, but don’t overdo it and value the products
You can feel free to haggle for clothes, shoes, leather goods or anything else but keep in mind that some things have a specific price. If a dealer asks 10€ per bottle of extra virgin oil from the best olives in Sicily (organic, hand-picked and what else), don’t embarrass him and don’t start haggling by offering to pay 4€. Olive Oil is a high-quality product, and no one will sell you a bottle of good oil for less than 50% of the asked price. In the end, you can maybe get the bottle for 9€ or even for 9,50€, but keep in mind that some products have their value and rate.