Support Livorno's local businesses!
By local shopping I mean shopping at independent stores that don't belong to huge chains, something that is becoming more and more difficult worldwide. Italy is still one of those countries where local shops are part of the popular culture, but they are a dying breed. Although these small stores usually offer friendly, personalised service, they are being pushed out of many city centres, including Livorno, because of impossible rents that only the retail giants can afford.
It is still common to find local food shops - such as bakers' (panifici) and general grocers' (alimentari) - especially in the market area of Livorno, and in the districts away from the city centre, but local shops selling clothes, shoes, jewellery and other goods are not as easy to find.
It is worth seeking them out though. Don't be intimidated by small shops and the undivided attention of the shop assistant (who will often be the owner)! If you know what you are looking for, ask, and if you don't, it's quite alright to say you are just looking. They may not speak perfect English, but they will usually go out of their way to understand you and try to meet your request. Independent shops often stock items that you wouldn't find at home, and certainly not in the big and all-too-familiar chain stores. And using these local shops is also a great way of coming into real contact with local people.
Livorno, still has a good choice of local shops run by Livornese families. If you would like to support the Livornese people by shopping at their shops, take a look at the list that follows.