I’ve spent a good bit of time wandering around downtown Trieste looking for various items. In the process I’ve had the opportunity to observe how Italians shop for clothing. For reasons unknown to me, every type of clothing has a specialty shop, with several of them nearby. For example, one particular pedestrian mall appears to be the Trieste underwear district:

ladies' underwear shop window

family underwear shop window

men's underwear shop window

All three of these shops are within meters of each other, the first two across the street. I am accustomed to stores selling only shoes, or children’s clothing or women’s clothing. But underwear? I saw another shop that appeared to contain mainly hats and scarves.

All the stores are small by American standards, although not so different than many in San Francisco. But the shopping experience is often not so leisurely. I visited several knitting and fabric shops that are basically counters behind which there are shelves of products retrieved by the staff. We visited an ancient hardware store where all the merchandise is on high shelves on the walls just as it would be a hundred years ago. There is no browsing to do and not even remotely a place to sit and compare purchases. (And I still was not able to locate the 120 cm circular needle I was looking for.)

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