The summer sales time in Italy also overlaps with one of the most popular months for tourism – July.
SALDI is the word you need to know. You’ll see it everywhere, so you’ll learn it quickly. It means “sales,” so it’s plastered in every shop window along with whatever percentage discount they’re currently offering.
Unlike other areas of the world, sales are closely regulated. In Italy everything has a story – the twice-yearly national sales were actually born during Fascism in Italy. A special law was passed on June 2nd, 1939 whereby stores could sell their wares for a super discount or liquidation which would be presented to the public as a favorable opportunity, like to help spur up economic growth during tumultous times. The merchandise was mainly clothing, because of its short seasonal usability. Like today, the item’s price must be clearly indicated during the sale and can not change during the period. The local authorities must decide on the start date, in 2016 it's the 2nd of July.
Shopkeepers are obliged to display both the full and discounted price of all items on sale; they must accept the credit cards displayed on their windows as payment during sales; unless the item is damaged shopkeepers do not have to accept returns on sale items, nor they are obliged to allow customers to try on items.
The sale will last until the inventory is gone and the discount tends to increase upwards to 50% as the weeks go on.
Department stores and boutiques are not shy about advertising, as proven by the ten foot signs in the window you can read a mile down the road.
Designer shops, on the other hand, are much more discreet. They consider it vulgar to announce to the world that they are offering a discount.