In Rome, shopping is an art form. Perhaps it’s the fashionably bespectacled commuter 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 long 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, of course, leave yourself plenty of euros to enjoy the rest of your trip.

Since you may be pressed for time, knowing how and where to put your best fashion foot forward is crucial. Luckily for shop-till-you-droppers, you can still fit your shopping sprees in between sights. A visit to the Trevi Fountain means not only reliving the movie classic Three Coins in a Fountain, but puts you within striking distance of some of the city's best shopping. Pose for a picture-perfect snapshot at Piazza di Spagna, as you keep your eye on that delicious handbag in the window at Dolce & Gabbana.

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 artist 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 some 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.

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  • 1. Braccialini

    Piazza di Spagna

    Founded in 1954 by Florentine stylist Carla Braccialini and her husband, Robert, this outfit makes bags that are authentic works of art in bright colors and delightful shapes, such as London black cabs or mountain chalets. The adorably quirky tote bags have picture-postcard scenes of luxury destinations made of brightly colored appliquéd leather. Be sure to check out the eccentric Temi (Theme) creature bags; the snail-shaped version made out of python skin makes a true fashion statement. There is another location on Via dei Condotti.

    Via Frattina, 117, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 2. Brioni

    Piazza di Spagna

    Founded in 1945, Brioni is hailed for its impeccably crafted menswear. Italy's best tailors create bespoke suits to exacting standards, measured to the millimeter and completely personalized from a selection of more than 5,000 spectacular fabrics. A single made-to-measure wool suit will take a minimum of 32 hours to make. The brand's prêt-à-porter line is also praised for peerless cutting and stitching. Past and present clients include Clark Gable, Barack Obama, and, of course, James Bond.

    Via Condotti 21A, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 3. Castroni


    Opening its flagship shop near the Vatican in 1932, this gastronomic paradise has long been Rome's port of call for decadent delicacies from around the globe; there are now 13 locations throughout the city. Jonesing expats and study-abroad students pop in for local sweets, 300 types of tea, and even some good old-fashioned Kraft macaroni & cheese. If you need a pick-me-up, try the house-roasted espresso, which is some of the best coffee in Rome.

    Via Cola di Rienzo 196/198, Rome, Latium, 00192, Italy
  • 4. La Rinascente

    Piazza di Spagna

    Set in a dazzling, seven-story space, Italy's best-known department store is packed topped to bottom with luxury goods, from cosmetics, handbags, and accessories to ready-to-wear designer sportswear to kitchen items and housewares. Even if you're not planning on buying anything, the basement excavations of a Roman aqueduct and the roof terrace bar with its splendid view are well worth a visit. There's also a location at Piazza Fiume.

    Via del Tritone 61, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 5. Patrizia Pepe

    Piazza di Spagna

    Patrizia Pepe first emerged on the scene in Florence in 1993 with an aesthetic that's both minimalist and bold. Jackets with oversize lapels, playful pleats, mesmerizing mesh, and the occasional feathered poof set the designs apart. Spending time in the shop of this relative newcomer to the Italian fashion scene gives you the opportunity to pick up an item or two before the brand becomes the next fast-tracked craze.

    Via Frattina 44, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
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  • 6. Pineider

    Piazza di Spagna

    This outfit has been making exclusive stationery since 1774. The first Rome shop opened at the request of the royal household, and this is where the city's aristocratic families still come for engraved wedding invitations and timeless visiting cards. It also sells desk accessories, wallets, and briefcases made using the best Florentine leather. 

    Via del Leoncino 25, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 7. Tod's

    Piazza di Spagna

    Founded in the 1920s, Tod's has grown from a small family brand into a global powerhouse so wealthy that its owner Diego Della Valle donated €20 million to the Colosseum restoration project. The shoe baron is best known for his simple, classic, understated designs done in butter-soft leather, but his light, flexible Gommini line of driving shoes, with rubber-bottomed soles for extra driving-pedal grip, are popular as well. There is also a location on Via Condotti.

    Via della Fontanella di Borghese 56a–57, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 8. Volpetti


    A Roman institution for 50 years, Volpetti sells excellent cured meats and salami from its buzzing deli counter. The rich aromas and flavors are captivating from the moment you enter the store. The food selection also includes genuine buffalo-milk mozzarella, fresh pasta, Roman pecorino, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and fresh bread. It's also a great place for assembling gift baskets, and it offers worldwide shipping.

    Via Marmorata 47, Rome, Latium, 00153, Italy
  • 9. Almost Corner Bookshop


    Bursting at the seams with not an inch of space left on its shelves, this tiny little bookshop is a favorite meeting point for English speakers in Trastevere. Irish owner Dermot O'Connell goes out of his way to find what you're looking for, and if he doesn't have it in stock he'll make a special order for you. The shop carries everything from popular best sellers to translated Italian classics, as well as lots of good books about Rome.

    Via del Moro 45, Rome, Latium, 00153, Italy
  • 10. Anglo-American Book Co

    Piazza di Spagna

    With more than 40,000 books in English and shelves that are stuffed from floor-to-ceiling with both British and American editions, this large, friendly shop has been a mecca for English-language reading material in Rome for more than 60 years. The bilingual staff always goes the extra mile to find what you need, whether you're a study-abroad student looking for an art history or archaeology textbook or you're a visitor searching for a light read for the train.

    Via della Vite 27, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sat. and Sun.
  • 11. Antica Caciara Trasteverina


    Step inside this beloved deli for some of the freshest ricotta in town, as well as ham and salami, burrata cheese from Puglia, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Sicilian anchovies, and local wines—all served with polite joviality. Although not everything can be imported to the United States, some of the savory delights can be vacuum-sealed in case you want to pack some Italian specialties in your suitcase.

    Via San Francesco a Ripa 140 a/b, Rome, Latium, 00153, Italy

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 12. Antica Farmacia Pesci dal 1552

    Piazza di Spagna

    Rome's oldest pharmacy, in business since 1552, produces its own line of skincare products and dietary supplements. The shop's herbs and 18th-century furnishings evoke a store in Harry Potter's Diagon Alley, and although you won't find any potions, the pharmacists can whip up just-for-you powders, syrups, capsules, gels, or creams to soothe modern ailments.

    Piazza di Trevi 89, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 13. Borsalino Boutique

    Piazza di Spagna

    Considered by many to be the Cadillac of fedoras, the dashing version by Borsalino has been a staple of the fashionable Italian man since 1857, adorning the heads of many silver-screen icons, including Humphrey Bogart (who donned one in Casablanca) and Harrison Ford (as Indiana Jones). Few hats are made with such exacting care and attention, and the company's milliners still use machines that are more than 100 years old. Borsalino also has boutiques near the Pantheon and Piazza di Spagna.

    Piazza del Popolo 20, Rome, Latium, 00186, Italy
  • 14. Buccone

    Piazza di Spagna

    A landmark wineshop inside the former coach house of a noble Roman family, Buccone has shelves that stretch impressively from floor to ceiling and are packed with wines and spirits ranging in price from a few euros to several hundred for rare vintages. The historical atmosphere has been preserved in the original wood-beam ceiling, long marble counter, and antique till. You can also buy jams, pasta, and packaged candy—perfect for inexpensive gifts. A simple lunch is available daily, as are aperitivo and dinner (though reservations are required for dinner). However, it is the atmosphere and wine list rather than the food that makes the old shop noteworthy. For that reason, consider booking (a week in advance) a guided wine tasting that features highlights from many of Italy's important wine-producing regions.

    Via di Ripetta 19/20, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 15. Bulgari

    Piazza di Spagna

    Bulgari (also seen as Bvlgari) is to Rome what Tiffany is to New York and Cartier is to Paris. The jewelry giant has developed a reputation for meticulous craftsmanship melding noble metals with precious gems. In the middle of the 19th century, the great-grandfather of the current Bulgari brothers began working as a silver jeweler in his native Greece and is said to have moved to Rome with less than 1,000 lire in his pocket. This store's temple-inspired interior pays homage to the jeweler's ties to both places. Today, the mega-brand emphasizes colorful and playful jewelry, as evidenced by such popular collections as Bulgari-Bulgari and B.zero1.

    Via dei Condotti 10, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 16. Castelli Profumerie

    Piazza di Spagna

    This fragrance shop has been in the business of heavenly scents for more than 50 years. In addition to offering an array of labels like Acqua di Parma, Bois 1920, Bond No. 9, and Comme des Garçons, the store has courteous, multilingual staffers who know the merchandise, making a shopping experience here a lot more pleasant than a dash through duty-free. There are three locations around the city: two on Via Frattina and one on Via Oslavia in the Prati neighborhood.

    Via Frattina 18 and 54, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 17. Di Cori

    Piazza di Spagna

    A woman just isn't a signora without a good pair of gloves. Luckily the tiny Di Cori shop makes the most of their space by filling cubbyholes that reach to the ceiling full of technicolor gloves. All are made in Italy out of the softest lambskin, and lined with silk, cashmere, rabbit fur, or wool. They also carry a smaller selection of unlined, washable versions.

    Piazza di Spagna 53, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 18. Dolce & Gabbana

    Piazza di Spagna

    Dolce and Gabbana met in 1980 when both were assistants at a Milan fashion atelier, and they opened their first store in 1982. With a modern aesthetic that screams sex appeal, the brand has always thrived on excess and is known for its bold, creative designs. The Rome store has a glass ceiling above a sparkling chandelier to allow natural light to spill in, illuminating the marble floors, antique brass accents, and (of course) the latest lines for men, women, and even children. It also has an expansive accessories area.

    Via Condotti 49–51, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 19. Eddy Monetti

    Piazza di Spagna

    Eddy Monetti, which began as a hat shop in Naples more than 130 years ago, is known for classic, upscale men's jackets, sweaters, slacks, and ties made out of wool, cotton, and cashmere. Sophisticated and pricey, the store carries a range of stylish British- and Italian-made pieces.

    Via Borgognona 36, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy
  • 20. Elena Mirò

    Piazza di Spagna

    Elena Mirò is a high-end brand that offers curvy women sophisticated, beautifully feminine clothes in sizes 46 (U.S. size 12, U.K. size 14) and up. There are several locations in Rome, including one on Via Nazionale.

    Via Frattina 11, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy

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