Shopping in Italy: 4 Brand Names You Probably Already Know

So, your ticket is all booked and you are getting ready to take a trip to Italy or perhaps you are planning to live in Italy for an extended period of time. It’s only natural to want to bring any and all your daily hygiene products with you.  Oh no, you forget your toothpaste while rushing out the door to get to the airport! Now what’ll you do? Supermarkets in other countries can be intimidating with all their foreign product labels staring at you but, rest assured, in many countries, like Italy, you can find your trusted and favorite products in most stores.

And if you look closely, you’ll find some brand names in disguise.  Here are 4 brand names you probably already know that have been slightly altered for the Italian marketplace.

The least obvious of the bunch, the toothpaste brand AZ is actually Crest.

toothpaste shopping in italy

There’s no mistaking this famous bald-headed man.  In Italy, Mr Clean goes by the name Mastro Lindo, which literally means Master Clean – close enough!

mrclean shopping in italy

The beauty products of Olay are known as Olaz here, probably due to the fact that the letter “y” isn’t part of the Italian alphabet.


Is your throat feeling a little sore?  Head to the pharmacy and pick up a box of Benagol or as you may know it – Strepsils. I was recommended Benagol my first winter in Italy and didn’t think anything of it.  It wasn’t until I was back in Canada that I realized it was a brand I already knew and had used in the past (only the packaging had changed in Canada).


There are other common brand names that haven’t changed names or packaging but be careful how you pronounce some of them or you’ll get confused looks:

Pantene: Pan-ten (instead of teen)
Colgate: coal-gah-teh
Nestle:  Nest-leh (instead of lee) This one makes me think about the episode of Friends when Monica is trying to discover Phoebe’s grandma’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.

These are just a few I’ve noticed personally while living in Italy.  Did I miss any?  Can you think of any other products that are “the same, not the same”?  I’d love to know, so leave a comment below! 🙂

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