Shopping in Rome
Shopping in Rome

Some travelers find shopping in new destinations to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel. For others, shopping reflects the need to buy trinkets for the folks at home, who might be expecting some small memento from your trip to Rome.Unfortunately, shopping in Rome is often more expensive than at home, as the Eternal City is perennially in the top-twenty most expensive cities in the world.

Goods and services here are usually on the high side (but less than London, Paris, New York or Tokyo).  On the other hand, prices are always going to be high in Rome and having that special purchase can be a great way to remember your fun-filled days in the Eternal City.

You will find bargains in mid-winter when the best sales of the year take place.  Other sales  (sales in Italian is saldi) may appear in  summer if  tourism is down.

Shopping

Rome offers wide-ranging shopping experiences, but we think that best of Rome’s shopping opportunities can be found in independent stores and boutiques lining the narrow lanes scattered throughout the city.   We have found our most enjoyable shops, those we consider undiscovered treasures, while walking between Rome’s magnificent attractions.  Of course, Rome also offers  brand-name, luxury stores that are always fun to shop.

If you are looking for quality leather goods (shoes, handbags, belts), unique jewelry, or authentic Italian lingerie, stores in Rome offer a wide selection of these signature products.

The best area for shopping in Rome can be found in a triangular shaped zone with its base running near Via dei Condotti between the Piazza di Spagna (at the Spanish Steps) and Via del Corso that runs along the Via del Corso and Via dei Babuino up to the Piazza del Popolo. Our map shows major shopping streets in this area – click anywhere on the map to see  a tinted outline highlighting  this area.

The majority of the shops in the list below offer women’s fashion.  We have added identifiers to the stores whose names may be unfamiliar to you.  We have arranged the list by major shopping streets and list the main stores that you will find along their extents.  Look, touch, feel, wander and have a wonderful time exploring the best shops in Rome.

On Via Borgognona –  Fendi, Versace, Tanino Crisci (leather), Massimiliano Seromoneta (men’s clothing), Moschino (women’s), Brighenti Boutique (women’s), Roberto Cavalli (men’s and women’s fashion).

On Via dei Condotti – Armani, Cartier, Bulgari, Dior,  Ferragamo,  Gucci, La Perla (lingerie),  Sogo Prada, Louis Vuitton, A. Testoni (men’s), Valentino (women’s),  Blunauta (women’s), as well as the Antico Caffe, one of Rome’s famous coffee bars..

On Via del Corso  – Benetton,  Fendi,  Zara and a variety of mid-level shops, plus the La Rinascente department store.

On Piazza di Spagna – D&G, Missoni, Krizia (women’s fashion), Dior, Giorgio Sermoneta (leather gloves), Blunauta, Sergio Rossi (shoes) and more.

On Via dei Babuino – Channel, Tiffany, Valentino (women’s fashion), Matassi (jewelry), Jil Sander (women’s fashion) and Tad ( designer household goods and more), Sandro Ferrone (women’s fashion), as well as art and antiques towards the Piazza del Popolo and to the east along Via Margutta. Take Via Margutta only if you are looking for art and antiques, although you will find some specialty jewelry here.

On Via Frattina – Max Mara, Flavio Castellani (women’s fashion),  Cesare Paciotti (shoes), Patrizia Pepe (women’s fashion), Tru Trussadi (leather goods), Frey Wille (jewelry), Stefanel (women’s fashion),  Andrea Fabiani (shoes), Marella (women’s fashion),  Fonari and Fonari (luxury household goods), Martini (Gioiellleri – jewelry), Tusseda (lingerie) and other boutique clothing stores.

A couple of shopping tips are in order.  Although major stores will be open during the day and into the early evening, smaller shops may keep a schedule that runs from 9am to 1pm and then reopen from 3:30 to 7 or 7:30pm.  August is the month when all of Italy seems to go on vacation and you may find many of the smaller shops and boutiques closed for a few weeks during August (usually near the start of the month).

If you want to find bargains, the best shops, consider hiring a local personal shopper to work up an itinerary that would reflect your shopping choices.  Many hotels can recommend these services. Just Google a phrase like “personal shopping advisors + Rome” for possible assistance.

Markets

There are several street markets in Rome.  It is our opinion that none of them offer good value, although finding out what’s available and the cost is often half the fun.  Campo di Fiori is Rome’s leading outdoor market and its oldest.  It  is focused on food and flowers although other items can be found here. It is open in the early mornings on weekdays and the actions drops off after 11am.

Campo di Fiore is a noted haven for pick pockets and “bag grabbers” so be forewarned.  In addition, read through our section on Safety and Security  for additional tips on safety during travel.

There is a flea market on Sundays in the Trastevere neighborhood near Porta Portese, but it is mostly filled with low quality items and not of much interest to serious shoppers.

Street Merchants

Just one more note that might be of interest.  According to Italian Law (Law 80 of May 14, 2005), anyone caught buying counterfeit goods (for example, DVD’s, CD’s, watches, purses, bags, belts, sunglasses, etc.) is subject to a fine of no less than EUR 1,000. Police in major Italian cities enforce this law to varying degrees. Travelers are advised to purchase products only from stores and other licensed retailers to avoid unknowingly buying counterfeit and illegal merchandise.