The Tabacchi shops are one of the backbone items of daily life in Italy. They are not just cigarette stores. However, this is where you buy your smoking supplies: cigarettes, tobacco, lighters, etc. If you’re from the USA, think of it as a 7-11 on steriods, in a tiny space and without the mystery meat hotdogs and slurpies.
The Tabacchi shops do vary on what they sell – some are so simple and sell the ciggies and maybe some lottery tickets. Others amaze me in the variety of items they sell in such a small shop. I would just sometimes ask for things to watch them perform a Mary Poppins act, sticking their hand in a bottemless purse and pulling out what you asked for!
What you can find in the tabacchi shops (negozio):
- Very Important for your daily needs – Pay Bills:
- some/many have the Sisal machines – this is where you can pay many of your bills (electric, gas, phone, recharge SIM cards)
- The Bollati – the ‘fancy’ stamps you need for your Permesso di Soggiorno and other government paperwork.
- Postage stamps (francobolli) * do make sure you state if it’s for international use
- Metro/Bus/Subway/Tram – Public Transport Tickets
- Stationary supplies: paper (carta), folders, pens (penne), highlighters, notebooks (quaderno)
- Some sell moving boxes (empty cardboard boxes – cartone)
- Shipping supplies; boxes, tape, mailing labels
- Lottery tickets a go-go…this is HUGE in Italy!!
- Greeting cards (though, most are just horrible. Hallmark it is not!)
- Gifts. I’ve seen some with crystal ashtrays, fancy pens, statuettes, necklaces and other random things
- There was one larger tabacchi shop where they sold concert tickets.
Look at the ‘T’ sign. It will list most of the ‘services’, look at their window – they cram all sorts of notes, signs on their windows showing what they sell or just go inside and ask 🙂
- The prices are the same at every shop (not like the USA where each vendor sets the price)
- a pack of 20 is around 5€ a pack. Varies slightly on brand. (current price 2014 – they also sell mini packs of 10 for some brands)
- A Pack = ‘Un Paccho, per favore‘
- A Carton = ‘Un Stick, per favore“
- After hours many shops have a machine available (as seen in the photo above). The trick with the machine is that you MUST insert an Italian ID card: Permesso or your ASL card….it must have one of the chips in the ID card. Without the ID card, you aren’t able to buy the cigarettes.