Sarzana Shopping / Suburban Edition

Shopping in Italy is fun - really!  Yes, in many stores the merchandise selection can be limited and often it's the same stuff which is available everywhere.  It's also true that the sales clerks can oscillate between non-existent and over-existent. Right - the prices are seldom pleasing and reductions are infrequent. However, the opposite of all those descriptions can be true if you search a bit. Wonderfully different products are here, often of excellent quality, and often at very fair prices. This article describes four stores in suburban Sarzana in Lunigiana that you might like to visit.
Biscottini Art Trading                                                                                     Sarzana, Liguria
Biscottini - Closed in 2016 
This is a wild and crazy store. You may have visited stores that sell some unusual imports, but this place is on steroids.  You may be greeted by a giant dolphin or a six foot rooster, but that's just for openers. There are a hundred mirrors, scores of tables, and statues of lions and tigers and bears. You'll find child-sized birdcages and Nubian maiden lamps, displayed as if everyone has one. There's no predicting the inventory because it's the retail outlet of an import-export wholesaler.

Furniture at Biscottini, Sarzana.
Perhaps you're interested in a giant conical basket useful for umbrellas and your grape harvest; or a suit of armor suited for the guest bathroom. For Madame, a Mussolini portrait perhaps, or an antiqued bar sign ("If you are drinking to forget, please pay in advance."). Choose between faux-Georgian, faux-Ming, faux-Colonial, or faux-Renaissance.  Not everything is fantastical - there are ordinary hat racks, and knobs and lamps, but you won't remember them.

Bring a friend for a reality check, otherwise God knows what you might buy.
Closed in 2016.  All Good Things Must Pass.

Maisons Du Monde
Patio furniture display with unwitting model.        Maisons du Monde, Sarzana

This new store is part of a large French chain which has more than 220 stores in Europe. They offer a large variety of tasteful furniture and accessories of generally decent quality. Much of the furniture is in stock or available quickly, and they offer a nice catalog for easier decision-making.

Couch, Divan, Sofa, Ottoman, Davenport, Chesterfield display.
If you are interested in home furnishings, you want to visit. It's kind of an upscale Ikea, mixing furniture of different sizes along with accessories such as glassware and curtains and wastebaskets. The store is part of a four store building called Parco Commerciale Porta Di Luni. Lots of parking is available behind and under the stores. Two more of the stores are described below.

Maisons Du Monde 
Maisons du Monde Italian Website
via Variante Aurelia, 4B       Sarzana (SP)
Tel. : 0187 625977   Open 10AM to 9PM Daily

Casa / Maxi Toys

Christmas planning in May.                                                   Maxi Toys Sarzana.

Next door to Maisons du Monde is a store with a dual identity. There's Casa Shops and there's Maxi Toys in the same unit. We will not equivocate: Casa sells house goods, and small furniture. There is a big selection of interesting stuff, some new inventions , some with clever designs, some necessities, some useless geegaws. They seemed to have a lower price point than Maisons du Monde.  We determined that Maxi Toys sells toys and we identified lots of pink boxes, and other colorful kiddy items, but we lack qualifications in this subject area. We suggest you find a toy expert to accompany you.
Maxi Toys Italy   Casa Shops

Casa Shops / Maxi Toys Via Variante, 4F   Sarzana (SP)  Tel: 0187 622101   Open 9AM-9PM Daily

Risparmio Casa

After you buy that suit of armor at Biscottini, you'll need armor polish, and that's a job for Risparmio Casa. They offer a huge selection of detergents and sponges and plastic basins and cleaners and air fresheners. We can list more stuff, but you know this kind of store. We mention this store for the huge inventory which can make things easier for large household projects.   Risparmio Casa Website
Risparmio Casa  Via Variante  Sarzana (SP)    Tel: 0187 610583    Open Daily 8AM-8PM.

Here's a Google Map to help you find these stores, which can be easily reached from Sarzana exit on the A12 Autostrada (Genoa-Livorno).

Millennial Sprawl.  Like nearly every other city in the world, the small Ligurian city of Sarzana has suffered or permitted or encouraged sprawling commercial development in its periphery. However, the sprawl road  here has its origins 2,000 years ago since it's a traffic improvement to the Via Aurelia. The Aurelia was constructed by the Romans for consular travel between Rome and France, but - for better and worse - it passed directly through the center of Sarzana. As a result it didn't require much motorized traffic to create havoc. The solution was the Variante Aurelia - the Aurelia Bypass - a/k/a the SS1 (Strada Statale 1)  which in theory, and sometimes in reality, improves traffic flow through the Sarzana area. Unfortunately, the resulting suburban growth now clogs this road as well.  Plus ├ža change...

Written by Martha