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 | 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Art Privé

    Monti | Jewelry & Watches

    Just off Monti's principal square is the small jewelry shop where Tiziana Salzano makes chunky, multistrand torsade necklaces using the finest...Read More

  • 5. Borsalino Boutique

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    Considered by many to be the Cadillac of fedoras, the dashing Borsalino fedora has been a staple of the fashionable Italian man since 1857....Read More

  • 6. Bulgari

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    Every capital city has its famous jeweler, and Bulgari is to Rome what Tiffany is to New York and Cartier to Paris. The jewelry giant has developed...Read More

  • 7. Coin

    Prati | Department Store

    Department stores aren't the norm in Italy, but Coin comes close with its large selection of upscale merchandise including accessories, handbags...Read More

  • 8. Delfina Delettrez

    Piazza Navona | Jewelry & Watches

    When your great-grandmother is Adele Fendi, it's not surprising that creativity runs in your genes. Young Roman designer Delfina Delettrez creates...Read More

  • 9. Di Cori

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    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...Read More

  • 10. L'Artigianaio

    Monti | Jewelry & Watches

    The Artisan" is the place to go for handmade watches and rare vintage timepieces. The store's expert watchmakers specialize in nostalgic mechanical...Read More

  • 11. MMM—Massimo Maria Melis

    Piazza Navona | Jewelry & Watches

    Drawing heavily on ancient Roman and Etruscan designs, Massimo Maria Melis jewelry will carry you back in time. Working with 21-carat gold,...Read More

  • 12. Quattrocolo

    Piazza Navona | Jewelry & Watches

    This historic shop dating to 1938 showcases exquisite antique micro-mosaic jewelry painstakingly crafted in the style perfected by the masters...Read More

  • 13. Sermoneta

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    Whether you're looking for some fancy gloves to wear to the opera or for a fashionable pair of warm leather gloves to get you through the winter...Read More

  • 14. Spazio IF

    Piazza Navona | Clothing

    In a tiny piazza alongside Rome's historic Via dei Coronari, designers Irene and Carla Ferrara have created a tantalizing hybrid between fashion...Read More

  • 15. Gherardini

    Piazza di Spagna | Jewelry & Watches

    In business since 1885, Gherardini has taken over a deconsecrated church and slickly transformed it into a showplace for their label. Gherardini...Read More

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