It’s no secret that Rome is a shopper’s paradise. Here’s why.
Mass marketing and online shopping means you can now buy Capri-made limoncello or Venetian Murano glass pieces from the comfort of your own home, wherever you are in the world. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on the look-out for unique and locally produced items when you travel, and Rome is the perfect place to pick up a one-of-a-kind Italian item. The Italian capital really turns it on for shoppers, whether you’re looking for haute couture, authentic food, leather goods, or handmade homewares. Take one of these items home with you to keep memories of your trip to Rome alive long after you leave.
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Young and talented, Costanza De Cecco and Giulia Giannini are Rome-born designers with a passion for telling Rome’s story through design. With a background in architecture, Co.Ro’s unique jewelry creations are inspired by Rome’s monuments, metro lines, and architecture. Even some of the lesser-known monuments such as the Roman aqueducts are the inspiration for the various pieces and collections. Choose from pendants, rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in a variety of metals including gold, silver, and bronze. Odescalchi Jewelry by Roman designer Lucia Odescalchi is sophisticated, contemporary, and avant-guard. Designs made of everything from gold and platinum to resin and precious stones can be found in her collection.
Lazio may not have the reputation of Piedmont or Tuscany when it comes to wine, but some local wineries, including the versatile Cesanese, are finally putting the region on the map. Wine in Rome can be purchased at wine shops and even wine bars and supermarkets. For quality labels and expert staff on hand to guide you, head to food stores like Castroni, Rimessa Roscioli (where you can enjoy a tasting or wine flight with food), Bulzoni Enoteca, or the Eataly Enoteca (which counts an impressive 25,000 bottles in its collection). And for orders when you’re back home, the food shop Roscioli ships globally via their e-shop.
Gourmet Food Products
The impressive selection of produce in Italy can be overwhelming for visitors, and Rome has no shortage of specialty food stores, gourmet outlets, and artisan shops for foodies to browse. Roman wine biscuits (ciambelline al vino) and other assortments can be found in bakeries like Roscioli or Biscottificio Innocenti. For locally produced olive oil, vinegar, condiments, coffee, and sweets, visit Volpetti in Testaccio or the chain of Castroni stores across the city.
Pecorino Romano Cheese
Rome’s famed sheep’s milk cheese, known as Pecorino Romano, is the star of many classic Roman dishes, from cacio e pepe, the creamy cheese and pepper pasta sauce, to supplì, Rome’s most popular street food of fried rice balls. You can get your hands on the cheese in delicatessens across town, and most will vacuum pack your purchase for your travels. Visit Antica Caciara in Trastevere for some of the best or check out Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi and their never-ending displays.
Walking into Pasticceria Valzani in Trastevere is like stepping back in time. The cake shop opened in the 1920s and has not been touched since. Also known for their cakes (which are especially popular at Easter), locals flock here for the decadent chocolate creations, like a novelty-size Italian coffee moka percolator. Another one of the city’s oldest chocolatiers dates back to 1850—Moriondo and Gariglio first opened in Turin, Italy’s then-capital, before setting up shop permanently in Rome with this opulent red store. Many of their exquisite handmade chocolates are prepared according to 19th-century recipes.
For the most comfortable ballet flats, softest leather handbags, and chicest leather accessories head to Marta Ray (with locations in the city center, Jewish Ghetto, and Trastevere). Created by local female designer Marta Ratajczak, the brand combines contemporary style with outstanding craftsmanship and high-quality leathers. Their trademark ballet flats are elegant and come in a variety of bright and neutral colors. The spin-offs from the original classic-style see a range of textures and patterns.
Local Designer Fashion
While all the major global brands and international fashion houses are well represented in Rome, if you’re going to go designer, you might as well go Roman. The most famous Roman fashion house known globally is Fendi and the flagship store is in the heart of the shopping district. Break the bank here for leather goods, shoes, accessories, and clothing. Another household name in Rome is Laura Biagiotti; stores in Rome and across Italy sell her designer clothes for men and women and her famous perfume, Roma (the bottle is even inspired by the columns of the ancient Roman Forum).
For something truly unique that you won’t be able to find elsewhere, browse the one-off items at Studio Forme. The store and workshop are located in Trastevere, where you can choose from designer pieces and kitchen items like bowls and serving dishes. The shop produces and lives by its slogan, “art you can use,” making versatile and functional use out of marble, ceramic, and stucco. A short walk from here is the neighborhood’s favorite antique shop, Polvere di Tempi, where you can find pieces that are just as charming, but with a history.
The historic Italian travel and stationery brand Campo Marzio was established in Rome and has been producing leather passport holders, journals, notebooks, and other leather goods since 1933. With locations across the city, their colored collections put the “fun” in functional. For bags, clutches, and other fabric and leather accessories, studioaccanto offers playful, stylish, and eclectic designs, all made in Italy.
With the Vatican positioned in the heart of the city, religious tourism is a bit of a big deal in Rome. That means items like religious art or rosary beads can readily be found about town, particularly near St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican Museums. In these areas, market stands and street sellers abound with everything from kitschy priest calendars to more devout Catholic souvenirs. Higher-quality rosary beads, Bibles, and artwork can be purchased at the Vatican Museum shop.