The January sales in Rome will begin as usual on the second Saturday in January, this year the 14 January, which is later than usual because New Years day falls on a Sunday. They will run for six weeks until 24 February. Bargain hunters visiting the city should not despair however, as some of the most famous names in Italian fashion appear to be holding discreet vendite promozionale or promotions at special prices.

The city specifically bans this type of selling in December and for the six weeks preceding the official winter and summer sales in January and July but there is nothing to stop retailers offering their customers hefty informal discounts on their marked prices, and this is just what is happening. The retailers advise their most favoured and loyal customers via an SMS or e-mail that special prices will be on offer, and then word travels fast. How do you find out where these sales are taking place? Look for a queue outside a designer store in the more prestigious areas of town and join it. You may be able to get a fashion-label item of clothing or boots, shoes, and accessories for up to 50 percent less than the normal price.

However the city authorities have declared war on shops that begin the New Year sales ahead of the legal start date of 14 January. They have clamped down on shops in central Rome with several stores on Via Nazionale and Via Due Macelli already hit with 1,000 plus fines and are threatening to enforce their ability to close shops down for between 5 and 20 days if they are found to have offered promotional offers more than the allowable once per year.