Shopping in Livigno
Livigno is renowned for its shopping, and part of its fame is due to the tax free status it enjoys. For many centuries, Livigno was largely isolated from the rest of Italy, particularly during the long winter months. This kept the area in poverty. Smuggling was widespread and almost necessary to survival in the harsh mountain climate.
The area of Livigno was first established as an economic and legally independent region as early as the 160’s when the Grigoni were the rulers of the valley. Later on, the area’s economic independence was also recognised by Napoleon in 1805, the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1818, Italy in 1910 and the European Economic Community in 1960. It has maintained its historic customs benefits.
The tax status has helped enable Livigno to grow and develop as popular tourist location and lift the region from poverty. Recent decades have brought a new found wealth to the area, and as access to the region has improved, some outsiders have started to question whether its duty free status is still justified.
The current duty free status provides the opportunity for tourists to enjoy some of the cheapest prices of a wide range of goods anywhere in Italy. Bargains can be found in every one of the 250 or more duty free shops in the region, and most of the best brands from Italy and around the world can be found here too. A great number of old stone and wood houses in Livigno have been skilfully restored and converted into luxury boutiques of a quality rivalling those found in the fashion district of Milan.
The prices of goods sold in Livigno are exempt from VAT. Prices for products such as cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, perfumes, photo cameras, computer, electronic devices, leather jackets and speciality goods all benefit greatly from this. Supermarkets provide a huge range of tax free alcohol from Scottish Whiskies to speciality wines, all at low prices.
There are some restrictions to the quantity of duty free goods that can be taken out of the area, and there are some customs checks on the way into Switzerland or as you leave the region to travel on to the rest of Italy.
The duty free quantity limits are applied as per below. Should any items exceed these limits, they have to be declared at customs.
- Tobacco is restricted to 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of smoking tobacco per person and only people over the age of 17 can carry these goods.
- Alcohol is also restricted to people over 17, and each person is entitled to 1 litre of distilled spirit over 22% alcohol or 2 litres of distilled spirit under 22% alcohol. The limit for wine is 4 litres and for beer it is 16 litres.
- Other items considered to be of personal use and not for trade purposes are duty free to the value of 300 Euros for people over the age of 15, or 150 Euros for people under the age of 15.
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