Shopping in Rome

Advertisement

Rome Shopping

Handmade leather goods are among the best things to splurge on in Rome—excellent workmanship and attention to detail are the norm, and you’ll find beautifully constructed jackets, shoes, gloves, handbags, and more. You can even have items made to order at artisan workshops.

Antiques and Prints

Ceramics and Decorative Arts

Flea Market Finds

Gloves

Handbags, Luggage, and Leather Goods

Shoes

Clothing

Vintage Clothing

Shopping

Planning

Rome is one of Italy's happiest hunting grounds for antiques and bric-a-brac. You'll find streets lined with shops groaning with gilded Rococo tables, charming Grand Tour memorabilia, fetching 17th-century veduti (view) engravings, and curios—perhaps even Lord Byron's snuff spoon.

Italy has always been beloved for its wonderful craftsmanship and decorative arts. In Rome, sometimes the best treasures are found not in its galleries but in artisan shops tucked away in the city’s numerous winding alleyways. Whether you fancy a typical Roman mask or a bust or even a copy of the popular Roman relic La Bocca della Verità, you’re bound to find something worth shipping home.

Treasure-seekers and bargain-hunters alike will appreciate Rome's mercati all’aperto (open air markets). Flea markets are great spots to gain insight into the thrift-shopping spirit of the capital. Every Sunday it seems that all of Trastevere comes out for the bustling Porta Portese flea market, where tents overflow with cheap luggage, new and used clothes, vintage World War II memorabilia, and everything else imaginable. Make sure to watch your valuables, as pickpockets abound.

You just wouldn’t be an Italian signora without a pair of fashionable handmade gloves, and you’ll find plenty to choose from in Rome. Whether you're looking for cashmere, silk, lambskin, or other types of leather, there is a sea of colors to chose from. Gloves make wonderful presents, too.

Really good bags—the classic kind that you can carry for years—don’t come cheap. Whether you’re in the market for something high fashion that the Hollywood A-listers are wearing or a one-of-a-kind travel bag, you’ll find plenty of splurge-inducing shops. You’ll find other types of well-made leather goods in Rome, too, like wallets, belts, and jackets.

When it comes to stylish slingbacks, strappy sandals, and cult-status heels, Rome has a scarpa (shoe) to fit every Cinderella. Whet your appetite in the swanky Spagna area, but you may not want to buy the first pair you fall in love with. If you have a dream shoe in mind, consider ordering something bespoke. Scarpe Diem!

Italians know fashion; it's indisputable. There are plenty of up-market flagships in Rome if you have the means for Prada, Biagiotti, or Valentino spend, but make sure to browse the smaller boutiques. You're sure to find a piece of two to liven up your wardrobe.

Looking good needn’t mean looking like everyone else. Rome has a wide range of vintage shops where you can find some great couture from the Dolce Vita days and other classic time periods. Spend some time going through the racks, you never know what treasures you might find.

In Rome shopping is an art form. Perhaps it’s the fashionably bespeckled Italian wearing Giorgio Armani as he deftly zips through traffic on his Vespa or all those Anita Ekberg, Audrey Hepburn, and Julia Roberts films that make us want to be Roman for a day. But with limited time and no Hollywood studio backing you, the trick is to find what you’re looking for and still not miss out on the city’s museums and monuments—and have enough euros left to enjoy the rest of your trip.

These days, many shop-’til-you-droppers heading over to the Trevi Fountain may be forgiven for humming that immortal song, "Three Coins in a Cash Register." Yes, the Eternal City is awash in fountains and iconographic Roman rituals: gazing at Saint Peter’s Basilica through a secret keyhole on the Aventine; putting your hand inside the Bocca della Verità, the city’s ancient lie detector; and tossing that fateful coin over your shoulder into the Fontana di Trevi. All are customs that will buy you a classic photo opportunity, but none will bring you as much pleasure or stay with you longer than the purchases you make in Rome’s appealing and overflowing emporia.

There may be no city that takes shopping quite as seriously as Rome, and no district more worthy of your time than Piazza di Spagna, with its abundance of shops and designer powerhouses like Fendi and Armani. The best of them are clumped tightly together along the city's three primary fashion arteries: Via dei Condotti, Via Borgognona, and Via Frattina. From Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Navona and on to Campo de' Fiori, shoppers will find an explosive array of shops within walking distance of one another. A shop for fine handmade Amalfi paper looks out upon the Pantheon, while slick boutiques anchor the corners of 18th-century Piazza di Spagna. Across town in the colorful hive that is Monti, a second-generation mosaic-maker creates Italian masterpieces on a street named for a pope who died before America was even discovered. Even in Trastevere, one can find one of Rome's rising shoe designers creating next-century nuovo chic shoes nestled on a side street beside one of the city’s oldest churches.

This chapter will help shopaholics choose the perfect souvenir for someone back home, find a vintage poster, choose a boutique for those molto chic Versace sandals, or rustle up truffles. When you’re done filling your bags with memories of Mamma Roma, you can be sure of two things: that you’ll be nostalgic for Caput Mundi long after you arrive back home, and that you’ve saved a few coins—to throw into that fabulous famous fountain.

Browse Rome Shopping

View all

Advertisement

Store
Guidebooks

Fodor's Rome

View Details
Travel Phrases

Learn Italian Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Learn More
Travel Deals
Forums