What better way is there to get to know a city than by shopping in it? If you find yourself in Rome, there will be no shortage of iconic stores for clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes from labels that have become synonymous with Made in Italy quality. While there is a long list of well-known designers to seek out in Rome, why not mix in some under the radar spots? If you step a little bit off the beaten path, you’ll find yourself rewarded with unique vintage and independent design shops as well as storied classics that you’ll only find in the Eternal City. Here are some of best shopping addresses you’ll want to check out while strolling through the heart of Rome.
Shopping in Trendy Monti
If you have an iconic image of Rome in your mind, it probably involves a cobblestone street with sprawling ivy and terracotta walls that catch the light just right as it shines on a vintage Vespa. Those scenes dot the Eternal City, but in the Monti neighborhood it seems like every street is picture perfect and every corner just begs to be explored. Located a stone’s throw from the Colosseum and within easy proximity to transport hubs like Termini Station, Monti is the ideal base for your own Roman Holiday. Stay right in Monti at the Cicero apartment or the Imperial Vista, which offers remarkable views looking out onto the amphitheater where gladiators once roamed (get it?). Once you’re settled in, get to know the area in style with a shopping day that will take you from the eclectic to the extravagant – all within a short walk from your Rome vacation apartment rental!
Tucked in between some of the most well-known tourist attractions in the city, the Monti neighborhood has the uncanny ability to retain the feeling of well-kept secret even though it’s quickly overtaking other neighborhoods like Trastevere as the capital of trendy Rome. While you can spend hours musing over Monti’s fascinating history, the array of artisans, designers and shops really do tell a story of their own.
In Italy, culture often expresses itself through fashion and in a dynamic neighborhood like Monti that means lots of eclectic shops that specialize in one-of-a-kind finds. There are no shortage of vintage and second hand shops along Via dei Serpenti, Via del Boschetto and Via Urbana, all of which also have great bars, restaurants and views of the ancient city. Moll Flanders Roma was one of the first consignment stores in the city and over the years it has become an institution for hip Romans who want unbeatable bargains. Its afternoon-only opening hours just increase the cool factor, and they’re even open on Sundays for the inevitable passeggiata that they know you’ll make.
If you want it loud, King Size Vintage on lovely Via Leonina is practically bursting with the kinds of finds that your friends will ask you about when you get home, and it’s easy to get lost in the seemingly endless racks of highly curated designer clothing, shoes, bags and coats from all over the world. But don’t forget to save room for Pifebo and Flamingo: the first is exactly what your mind conjures when you think of a thrift shop, and its tiny frame contains all of the well loved multitudes you need. The second is a beautifully considered, bright oasis of 1940s and 50s retro gear alongside puffy sleeves from the 70s and 80s.
View this post on Instagram
The vintage vibe of Monti has helped it become a design micro climate, and its sun drenched streets are often the backdrop and inspiration for cutting edge designers from around Europe. One of the longest in residence is Le Galinelle, where owner Wilma has been inventing and re-purposing since 1989, creating one of the most original shops you’ll ever find in the process. Danish born Tina Sondergaard makes made to order creations in her shop on Via del Boschetto that seem to come right out of the pages of a 1950s photo album, but with all the comfort of a custom fit.
And if you’re around on the weekend, don’t miss the Mercato Monti, a quintessentially urban space tucked into a courtyard on the fringe of the neighborhood that is somewhere between an art gallery, performance space and avant-garde department store. Entry is free and designers are more than happy to talk about their work (especially if you pick up a keepsake!) as well as the history of the area. You’ll leave with a totally unique item as well as a one-of-a-kind story.
Strolling Via del Tritone to Rinascente
If the classics are more your speed, or if you’re in the mood to do some serious window shopping, you’re never too far from one of Rome’s most glittering addresses. Depending on the time of year and who is in town, the Giardini di Quirinale, or Presidential Gardens, are open to visitors and make a perfect passageway between Monti and its more upscale neighbors. If the gardens aren’t open, walk along the sloping hill of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Piazza Barberini where you’ll want to stop and admire the 17th-century Baroque Fontana del Tritone by Bernini. From there you’ll find yourself on Via del Tritone, whose storefronts will seem familiar to almost any traveler in the world.
View this post on Instagram
However, you’d do well to make a stop at Rinascente: even though you will have heard of many of the hallowed brands that grace the many display areas, this is much more than a department store. One of nine editions of the store originally opened in 1865 by the Bocconi brothers, Rinascente defined what the department store would become in the decades that followed. It was the first store to display clothes and accessories on shelves and to make them visible to passers by through window dressing, and it was the first to use electric lighting to make the spectacle possible.
Today, Rinsacente is filled with luxury goods that may not fit every budget, but the experience remains. Plus, its rooftop bar is one of the most spectacular the city, serving lunch, dinner and aperitivi all day long. Before leaving, check out the remains of the Vergine aqueduct on display in the basement in the housewares department, which was unearthed during remodeling.
Shopping around the Spanish Steps
From Via del Tritone, it’s only a short jaunt up Via del Corso to the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti, where the most illustrious names in fashion, jewelry and accessories all vie for the title of most luxurious label. There are plenty of windows to watch and even more people, but take a walk down one of the quieter side streets in the neighborhood and visit Campo Marzio, a heritage brand that has been producing high quality leather and stationery goods from this location since 1933.
View this post on Instagram
Originally a “bottega artigiana,” or artisan workshop, Campo Marzio was known the world over for its pens, calligraphy kits and stationery, continuing a long tradition of Italian paper making. The brand is so synonymous with penmanship that it was Campo Marzio who crafted the Pope’s personal stationery set for the 2000 Jubilee. The best part about picking up your own personal pen and paper on your Roman holiday? You’ll be able to sit back at day’s end and write about it all from your terrace overlooking the Eternal City. You’ll find just the spot at our Donizetti Dream or Giada apartments near the Spanish Steps.
Shopping Near Piazza Navona
As you meander through the historic streets of Rome, you won’t want to miss one of the city’s most iconic spots: Piazza Navona. After taking in the famous fountains, head off to explore some of the quieter streets in the area. Via del Governo Vecchio and Piazza di Pasquino near our Pasquino apartment, have a great selection of boutiques and design stores like Society Limonta for the home and Kolby for menswear.
View this post on Instagram
While in the area, head to Via dei Coronari, another charming local shopping street near our Cortigiana apartment. Located just off Piazza Navona, this street is lined with interesting boutiques from stylish clothing to antique finds. For beautiful leather goods, stop in at Del Giudice–an Italy Perfect favorite in Rome–located at Via dei Coronari 2. A family-owned company since 1959, they produce fine quality leather bags and accessories. You’ll find a tempting selection on hand, but for something truly unique, Del Giudice can also create custom and bespoke pieces.
We hope this inspires you to head out strolling and shopping in Rome! What are your favorite shopping finds from the Eternal City?