The first time I had heard about Nove was from a co-worker whose wife had made him stop in this small little town northwest of Venice on their way back to Stuttgart. He said she spent about $500 on ceramics and dishes that would have cost more than $1500 had she bought the same pieces in the States! And we’re talking dishes and ceramics that are shipped from Italy to Tiffany, Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, etc. Say whhhaaatttt?? I was definitely interested and made sure I tucked this little piece of information away until I could get a chance to visit myself.
That chance came sooner rather than later when John was sent to Vicenza for a work conference this past weekend. Not only would we get a chance to visit Venice (40-min train ride from Vicenza) and Verona (25-min train ride) – I could do a little shopping as well!!
I was a bit nervous that Nove, only about 20 minutes from Vicenza by car, wouldn’t be as great as I heard about. That the ceramics wouldn’t be as good or that the prices weren’t as much of a bargain as we were told they were going to be. I’m so, so happy to report that it was just as awesome as I thought it would be! (And even though I don’t think John believed me about how cool this could possibly be, it turns out he picked up more items than I did!)
Our first stop was La Ceramica VBC, probably the most popular of all the ceramic stores in Nove. This place was amazing, and even though we went to multiple shops, we ended up back at this store and bought all but one of our items from the store!
We moved on to a couple of other stores before the lunch time, when all Italian stores take at least a 90-minute break and shut down before reopening in the afternoon. I had seen these adorable Honey Pots online that I knew John would really like, but they weren’t in the first couple of stores we went too…however, right before we took a break we found them!
We had to wait for VBC to re-open after lunch, so we visited a couple of the other stores that didn’t close but none of them really came close to the selection at the first store. So armed with an idea of what we wanted, we made our way back to the store! Now came the hard part – deciding between what we wanted and what we really needed at the moment! 🙂
The Chicken Pitchers can be found in all of the ceramic stores in Nove, and the origin of them date back to the early Renaissance period in the Republic of Florence. There were two rival families in town, the Medici family and the Pazzi family. In 1478, one of the sons of the Medici family, Giuliano, threw a large party during which he and his guards consumed vast amounts of wine. While they slept, assassins hired by the Pazzi family tried to sneak across the yard to murder Giuliano and his guards. However, the assassin woke up the chickens in the yard who made such a fuss that they foiled the assassination plot. The assassins were caught and murdered, and Guiliano ordered the town artisans to to create ceramic copies of chickens to be used as wine pitchers. It is now an Italian tradition to give a chicken pitcher to friends and family as a symbol of good luck and to ward off evil from the home. I gifted one to John and me! 😉
Things to know before you visit Nove:
- Most of the stores advertise that they accept credit cards, but paying in cash can save money! We were given a 10% discount for paying in Euro, and then were able to talk the price down about 10 more euro!
- A majority of the stores open at 8 a.m., and it will be worthwhile to get there as early as possible so that you can shop and get a feel on what you want to see before the lunchtime siesta (Riposo!) when all the stores close for at least 90 minutes, sometimes more! The break will give you a good chance to decide on what you want so you can go back after lunch and get your purchases!
- After you make your purchases, you can pay 5E and they will box up your purchases for you! This is especially helpful if you have access to a military base so that you can ship the box at an especially low price! I made sure to box the Christmas gifts so I don’t have to worry. And trust me, watching them package the items – I knew they were secure!
John and I both agreed that we will probably be making a return trip before we leave Germany! It’s only about a six-hour drive from Stuttgart, and the bonus is that we will be able to make another stop in Venice! If you get the chance – a stop in Nove is HIGHLY recommended! Even if it is only to gawk! 🙂