Rome

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. Bartolucci

    Piazza Navona | Toys

    For more than 60 years and three generations, the Bartolucci family has been making whimsical, handmade curiosities out of pine, including cuckoo...Read More

  • 2. Braccialini

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    Founded in 1954 by Florentine stylist Carla Braccialini and her husband, Braccialini—currently managed by their sons—makes bags that are authentic...Read More

  • 3. Brioni

    Piazza di Spagna | Clothing

    Founded in 1945, Brioni is hailed for its impeccable craftsmanship in creating made-to-measure menswear. The iconic brand hires the best men...Read More

  • 4. Cartoleria Pantheon dal 1910

    Piazza Navona | Books/Stationery

    Instead of sending a postcard home, head to the simply sumptuous Cartoleria Pantheon dal 1910 for fine handmade paper to write that special...Read More

  • 5. Castroni

    Prati | Wine/Spirits

    Opening its flagship shop near the Vatican in 1932, this gastronomic paradise has long been Rome's port-of-call for decadent delicacies from...Read More

  • 6. Fendi

    Piazza di Spagna | Clothing

    Fendi has been a fixture of the Roman fashion landscape since "Mamma" Fendi first opened shop with her husband in 1925. With an eye for crazy...Read More

  • 7. Gucci

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    Guccio Gucci opened his first leather shop selling luggage in Florence in 1921 and as the glamorous fashion label approaches its centennial...Read More

  • 8. IN.OR. dal 1952

    Piazza Navona | Crafts

    For more than 50 years, IN.OR. dal 1952 has served as a trusty friend for Romans in desperate need of an exclusive wedding gift or those oh...Read More

  • 9. Laura Biagiotti

    Piazza di Spagna | Clothing

    For 40 years Laura Biagiotti has been a worldwide ambassador of Italian fashion. Considered the Queen of Cashmere, her soft-as-velvet pullovers...Read More

  • 10. Le Gallinelle

    Monti | Clothing

    This tiny Monti boutique may live in a former butcher's shop, but it houses some of the most sophisticated retro-inspired fashion garments around...Read More

  • 11. Patrizia Pepe

    Piazza di Spagna | Clothing

    One of Florence's best-kept secrets for up-and-coming designs, Patrizia Pepe first emerged on the scene in 1993 with an aesthetic that's both...Read More

  • 12. Pineider

    Piazza di Spagna | Books/Stationery

    This shop, near Piazza di Spagna, has been making exclusive stationery in Italy since 1774. The first Rome shop opened at the request of the...Read More

  • 13. Prada

    Piazza di Spagna | Clothing

    Besides the devil, plenty of serious shoppers wear Prada season after season, especially those willing to sell their souls for one of their...Read More

  • 14. Saddlers Union

    Piazza di Spagna | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Reborn on the mythical artisans' street, Via Margutta, across the street from Federico Fellini's old house, Saddlers Union first launched in...Read More

  • 15. Tod's

    Piazza di Spagna | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    First 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...Read More

  • 16. Valentino

    Piazza di Spagna | Clothing

    Since taking the Valentino reins, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has faced numerous challenges, the most basic of which is keeping Valentino...Read More

  • 17. Volpetti

    Testaccio | Other Specialty Store

    A Roman institution for more than 40 years, Volpetti sells excellent cured meats and salami from its buzzing deli counter. The rich aromas and...Read More

  • 18. A. Testoni

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    Amedeo Testoni, the brand's founder and original designer, was born in 1905 in Bologna, the heart of Italy's shoe-making territory. In 1929...Read More

  • 19. Al Sogno

    Piazza Navona | Toys

    If you're looking for quality toys that encourage imaginative play and learning, look no further than Al Sogno. With an emphasis on the artistic...Read More

  • 20. Almost Corner Bookshop

    Trastevere | Books/Stationery

    Bursting at the seams, with not an ounce of space left on its shelves, this tiny little bookshop is a favorite meeting point for English speakers...Read More

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