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Piazza di Spagna
Filled with lithe-limbed glamazons looking uber-smart and sporting sun-kissed complexions, the ultrachic zone along Via dei Condotti,Via Borgognona, and Via Frattina gathers up Armani, Bulgari, Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, and Valentino into one luxurious, fashionista’s Shangri-La.
Rome has been setting fashion trends since the days of the Caesars, so it's little wonder that this is the city that gave us the Gucci "moccasin" loafer, the Fendi bag, and the Valentino dress Jackie O wore when she became Mrs. Onassis. While the famous double-Gs can now be found in boutiques around the world, the mother store is right here on Via Condotti, a "shopping mall" lined with Bulgari diamonds and Pratesi linens. A stroll along this concentrated corridor is as great for people-watching as it is for Italian haute couture and prêt-à-porter. The shops can be as intimidating as they are strikingly beautiful, but plastic is the universal equalizer so go ahead and indulge your inner celebrity.
BEST TIME TO GO
Visitors with a sumptuous sense of bella figura will want to time their retail therapy for just after lunch Tuesday through Friday afternoons or during the evening passeggiata when Via Condotti becomes one gigantic catwalk.
BEAUTY AND THE BEACH
For candy-apple red polka dots or that bombshell bikini worthy of a pin-up poster, Marisa Padovan (Via delle Carrozze 81) has had the market cornered on one-of-a-kind couture swimwear—ever since Audrey Hepburn and Claudia Cardinale discovered her.
BRUNCH BEFORE BROWSING
Shopping is a great way to work up an appetite, and what better way to satiate your hunger than with a vegetarian brunch at Il Margutta RistorArte (Via Margutta 118, Spagna, 06/32650577). More than just a vegetarian restaurant, Margutta takes a holistic approach to natural, locally sourced vegetarian cuisine that will nourish your body, restore your spirit, and give you a bit of art to look at all in one peaceful sitting. Check out their very original dish called “6 different ways of eating artichokes.”
Daddy Wore Bucks
If diamonds are your girl’s best friend, she need look no further than Via Condotti, where two jewelry barons have breathtaking boutiques: Bulgari and Buccellati.
Yarning for the Good Old Days
With knitting in vogue, a stop at Missoni (Piazza di Spagna 78) is an absolute must. Their handspun, hand-dyed skirts and sweaters in undulating curves and wild, chevroning colors will have you channeling your inner designer granny. (Psst…find new Missoni patterns in Vogue Knitting every year).
There Armani Reasons
Well-heeled women love Armani for his catwalk couture. Power executives prefer his black-label collection. Recessionistas should check out Armani Jeans, the designer’s lovely, lower-priced line with a focus on young urban streetwear.
Resistance is Futile
From Cameron Diaz to Jessica Simpson, nearly every celebrity has been spotted wearing Prada. So why not join them? Can’t afford a handbag? Try a strikingly smart pair of sunglasses for your “I’m a celebrity” disguise.
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