Italian in Italy
Intrinsic to Italian life is the idea of fare bella figura , that is, making a good impression. As one of the world centers for fashion, Italy is highly fashion-conscious as evidenced by omnipresent indications of dressing well. Even when Italians take their evening stroll (the famed passeggiata ), they dress distinctively. A shopper has an array of choices that range from a designer boutique such as Versace, an exclusive establishment such as Max Mara, a smaller chain shore such as Benetton, an individually owned boutique, to the open markets that travel from town to town. Fortunately, for the price conscious, there are two periods of large sales ( saldi ) during the season - one in January and in August. Unlike the American shopping experience where one can go to a mall, try on many items, and buy nothing, in Italy one literally window shops. In most boutiques, the merchandise is displayed in the windows and one enters the store to inspect or purchase a particular item. Shoes, for example, are displayed in the windows. One chooses the style from the window display, points them out to the clerk and then enters the store to try them on.