Buying sunscreen in Italy

Ed Kay

New Member
#1
Hi,

Hoping an Italian forum member can help me to understand how things work over here.

I need to buy some sunscreen, but it seems to me that the pharmacies in Italy are similar to boutique fashion stores, in that there are nicely curated sections of beautifully packaged and expensive products. It seemed to also be the case in Spain, where I asked for sunscreen and was offered a tiny tube for 25 euro.

Where can I buy a big bottle of cheap, generic sunscreen? In the UK we can go to Boots or a supermarket and find a whole range of types and manufacturers, for a range of prices. I get the feeling that in Europe the chemicals are restricted for sale by the pharmacists as there is nothing in the supermarkets. It would also explain why even small towns have 2 or 3 pharmacies!

Any advice welcome, as I'd rather not be paying high prices for some Loreal anti-wrinkle cream if I can avoid it!

Thanks
 

Ronha

New Member
#2
I did some searching on google and it seems you can purchase sunscreen in the grocery stores. I am assuming this since you can buy over the counter medication there now. But I will find out in Aug when I head out on my walk. I guess if you need it you need it where ever you can buy it.
 

Ed Kay

New Member
#4
@Ronha - you are right, at some point I'm gonna need it and will buy it wherever I can! But still haven't seen in any grocery stores (also no cold medicines, anything with an active ingredient) but I will keep trying!

I went into another pharmacist tonight in Vercelli and she offered me two tiny tubes for 10 euro each. She said it wasn't the right season, which makes sense. I guess they will sell more in the summer. Now I'm out of the mountains it seems less critical.

@jujubery - I have had fantastic weather so far. Beautiful blue skies every day, very few clouds. Today was grey grey grey, but no rain, so for that I'm thankful! During the day, in the sun, it has been very warm, I've been hiking in a t shirt and my outer shell and been sweating a lot. However, the air is still cold - especially at altitude - so as soon as the wind picks up or the sun starts to go down it's pretty chilly and I have to put my gloves on. I was hoping for more heat but I guess spring is spring, wherever you are.

If you're interested you can see my photos on Instagram here:

https://www.instagram.com/ed_kay/
 

Piero Frustascarpe

Moderator
Staff member
#5
You can find sunscreen in every supermarket, "Profumeria", "Farmacia", "Parafarmacia", although that item for us is still "off season".
The sun in this season is not burning, yet. Take it easy!
 
#7
Ed,
You will be a few days ahead of us on the VF; We are starting from Piacenza on April 5. Would it be too much of a bother to ask you to write on the forum the places you stayed along the route and what you thought of each? Also, Is the VF busy at this time; have you seen many pilgrims? Have you had to call ahead for a bed?
Love your instagram pics!
safe travels! hopefully we will meet on the trail by chance!
juju
 

Ed Kay

New Member
#9
@Piero Frustascarpe - thanks for the confirmation. I assume that I can't find any in the supermarkets because it is off season. I am a nice 'healthy' (!) pink colour now so will rely on natural defences until I start to burn!

@jujubery - I will start a new thread in the Italian VF board to record my progress and comments on accommodation. So far I have always called ahead since that's what I read I had to do! It's not at all busy so there's no need to book a place, more that its a good idea to check that places are actually open and ready to host you. I may well have been able to turn up and knock on the door but I'm not that brave! The main issue with this is calling a number with ready prepared statements ("I am a pilgrim, do you have a bed tomorrow? ") and having them reply with a lot of information ("yes, please call Dom Giovanne on this number and meet him in the cemetery"). But so far I have muddled through with the help of strangers and blind luck!

I met one other pilgrim at Vercelli yesterday, he came from Torino. Otherwise, I am about the 5th peregrino on the route this year, according to the log books I've seen in various hostels.

I am using the recommended accommodation downloadable from the official website: http://www.viefrancigene.org/en/

30 euro B&Bs before you've even had dinner is expensive over 40 days so I'm going for donativos where I can. So far a bit more expensive than my Spanish Camino but perhaps not as bad as I'd feared.

Good luck!
 
#10
I am so excited to start! Thank you for answering all my questions. Hopefully it has not interrupted your trip. When you say you " will start a new thread on the Italian VF board" ; does that mean this forum?
My husband and I finished the Camino Frances in May 2017. We loved it and can't wait to start this new pilgrimage. I have heard it is quite different and am happy to try new experiences.
Stay safe! Enjoy your travels
juju
 
#11
Where can I buy a big bottle of cheap, generic sunscreen? In the UK we can go to Boots or a supermarket and find a whole range of types and manufacturers, for a range of prices. I get the feeling that in Europe the chemicals are restricted for sale by the pharmacists as there is nothing in the supermarkets. It would also explain why even small towns have 2 or 3 pharmacies!
are there any müller or dm stores? they usually stock at least something year round.
 
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#13
I found a very friendly pharmacy a while back where I got some not too expensive factor 50 which has seen me to Siena. A couple of days ago I saw a full on display in a supermarket of cheap standard Nivea suncream, so I assume we are now entering the season.

Apparently the Italians also have very strict clothing seasons, which would explain why I still see locals walking round with puffa jackets in 20 degree heat. Also explains why I've been getting funny looks when I walk past in shorts and t-shirt - at least, I hope that's the reason...?! :)
 
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