Shopping in Rome
Published: August 2013
By Valerie Waterhouse
T+L asked Rome’s tastemakers to open their little black books—here are our favorite tips.
Best Shopping Street: Via del Boschetto
With custom tailors, swank boutiques, and vintage shops, the bohemian street in the Monti neighborhood is perfect for a sartorial stroll.
Miki Way: Emerging Italian designers are the focus of this innovative concept store. Look for O-Pose’s silk-and-leather bags and Sofia Retro Bazar’s undergarments stitched from vintage scarves. No. 40-B-C.
Perlei: This tiny boutique showcases statement pieces by jewelry designer Kely Paucar, including asymmetrical silver necklaces with rough-cut semiprecious stones. No. 35; 39-06/4891-3862.
Colpo di Tacco: The street’s latest arrival sells 1950’s-style T-straps and block heels made in brightly colored leathers from Italy’s Marche region. No. 15-A; 39-348/599-6939.
Blue Goose: The meticulously edited collection of vintage and end-of-season fashions here includes 1970’s crocodile Gucci handbags and fitted Valentino suits. No. 4; 39-06/6476-0875.
Boschettotre: Interior designer Orianna Tombolesi showcases spherical metal plant pots, solar-powered radios, and other objets by emerging European talents. The latest hit: comfrey-and-meadowsweet-scented candles by Scottish company Beefayre. No. 3.
Tina Sondergaard: The Danish designer creates made-to-measure women’s skirts, dresses, trousers, and shirts from vibrant Italian fabrics in her inspiring tailor’s shop. No. 1.
Sunday may be the most religious day of the week in Rome—but for devout fashionistas, it’s all about bargain hunting. A short walk from Piazza del Popolo, Mercatino del Borghetto Flaminio (32 Piazza della Marina; Sundays 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m.) is the regina of the weekend bazaars. A $2 fee grants access to nearly 200 exhibitors—many of them residents of the wealthy zones of Prati and Parioli—who sell castoffs garnered from friends’ overstuffed wardrobes. Among the recent treasures: barely worn Prada stilettos and a Loro Piana men’s tweed jacket. At the nearby Mercato Monti (46 Via Leonina; 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; most Sundays, some Saturdays), crowds of hip, sharp-eyed locals scour the stalls for affordable, sometimes quirky finds, including organic-cotton baby tees, splashy hand-made notebooks, and polka-dot ceramic teacups from small-scale, up-and-coming artisans.
Taste of Italy
We asked Elizabeth Minchilli—author of the Eat Rome and Eat Florence apps and food-tour guide—for her favorite Eternal City flavors.
Gragnano Pasta: “I love the slow-dried, bronze-molded pasta from Gragnano, near Naples, available in the first-floor shop at Eataly. Set in a former airport terminal, it’s the biggest outpost from the Turin-based company.” Piazzale XII Ottobre 1492.
Guanciale Cotto nel Vino: “Rome’s lauded pizza chef Gabriele Bonci often uses toppings from D.O.L., an off-the-beaten-track store selling Lazio products. The bacon slow-cooked in white wine is the food of the gods!” 6/a Via Domenico Panaroli.
Calabrian Peperoncini: “The pocket-size Emporio delle Spezie stocks more than 150 spices in crystal-clear jars on every wall.” 20 Via Luca della Robbia.
Giallina Cheese: “Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi has 80-plus Italian cheeses, like this richer, nuttier cousin of Parmesan, made from Alpine cow’s milk.” 9a/11 Via Santa Maria del Pianto.
Organic Olive Oil: “The Roman outpost of a Tuscan farm, Podere Vecciano has bottles of bright-green farm-fresh oil—and a live, in-store olive tree.” 33 Via del Serpenti.
Tomato Conserve: “Products from Bottega Pio La Torre are grown on land confiscated from the Mafia. This one is made from a prized variety of Puglian ‘flask’ tomatoes.” 23 Via dei Prefetti.
What Romans Are Wearing
Local personalities reveal their favorite shops.
“The good: swooshing dresses, wide-legged trousers, and feminine silhouettes. The bad: thigh-high socks on young girls worn with short skirts or shorts. Not a good look!” —Livia Risi, Owner of Atelier Livia Risi (37 Via dei Vascellari)
“On women, I’m seeing vintage army jackets that are tapered at the waist. Men are loving classic British Baracuta jackets.” —Sergio Zambon, Art director for Galitzine (available at Genteroma boutiques)
“Brimmed Borsalino hats in pressed hare felt, on both men and women.” —Fabio Quaranta, Professor and founder of men’s-wear boutique and art gallery MonteSalieri (62 Via Giovanni Lanza)
Made by Monks & Nuns
Ai Monasteri: The dark wooden cabinets here are chock-full of mysterious lotions and potions sourced from convents and monasteries across Italy. Among them are aromatic, alcoholic Elixirs that promise love, happiness or eternal youth—and fourth generation owner Umberto Nardi swears that they work. Also on the shelves: herbal teas, spices, candies, cookies, cosmetics, and a generous selection of evocative scents. Our pick: the fragrance invented by 16th-century noblewoman Caterina Sforza “to make ladies of the court more attractive,” with notes of Ligurian rosemary, tobacco, and Icelandic musk. Corso Rinascimento 72.
Il Negozio Benedettino: Beside the terracotta-hued church of Sant’Anselmo on the Aventino Hill, this low, wooden Benedictine store is a treasure trove of by-products of the religious life. Among the highlights: chocolate made by Roman Trappists, prized honey from the Abbey of Norcia, in Umbria, and a soothing shaving lotion made by Tuscan nuns. Our pick: the sky-blue, coconut-and-honey make-up removing soap, guaranteed not to sting your eyes. 39-06/579-1363.
Made in Rome
Where to go for locally made crafts.
The Sirni family has been crafting made-to-order handbags and totes—including leather bucket bags with interchangeable handles and roomy shoppers that fold up into nothing—in the back of their tiny store since 1970. Via della Stelletta 33; sirnipelletteria.it.
From her minuscule boutique close to Piazza Navona, Ilaria Venturini Fendi’s niece Delfina Delettrez sells her own line of irreverent handmade jewelry. Think earrings that look like spiders and a two-finger ring topped with bright-red enamel lips. Via del Governo Vecchio, 67.
Making a splash on the Roman menswear scene is Natalia Rinaldi, whose first boutique opened in May. Each remarkably affordable piece is hand-stitched by the designer, from pinstriped sleeveless hoodies to leather jackets with jersey sleeves. Via Leonina, 87.
At La Cravatta su Misura, Melania Flamini crafts made-to-measure ties from Italian wools and silks, including embroidered logos or initials. She also carries a selection of off-the-peg ties, scarves, and pocket handkerchiefs. Via di Santa Cecilia, 12.
Local Personalities Reveal Their Favorite Shops
“Rome’s most beautiful perfume store is Roma Store Profumi in Trastevere. The window displays, by theatre set designer Enrico Miglio, are works of art. It’s packed with niche perfumes like Sunday Cologne for Men by Sweden’s Byredo, and the evocative Eau d’Italie, from Positano’s Hotel Le Sirenuse.” Via della Lungaretta.
“Master leather craftsman Federico Polidori makes minimal bags and belts in his tiny workshop near the Pantheon. I’ve been coveting one of his hand-stitched natural calf briefcases since forever—but this kind of quality doesn’t come cheap!” Via Pié di Marmo, 7.
“Whenever I need a break from my atelier, I head to family-run cookie bakery Biscottificio Innocenti. I gorge on stracetti, crunchy wafers with dried fruit, or the indulgent maritozzi—brioche rolls filled with raisins and whipped cream.” Via della Luce, 21; 39-06/580-3926.
“For menswear, I head to Empresa, a chain of Rome-based stores run by five siblings, stocking their own line of bohemian, Italian-made clothes. I’ve recently bought a black, waxed-linen jacket and loose-weave cotton sweater. The vintage-feel leather jackets are really cool.” 25-26 Via dei Giubbonari.
“For gifts, I often go to Emporio Libreria ’Gusto, the housewares and bookshop of the eponymous pizzeria. It’s crammed with clean-lined kitchenwares in white, wood, glass and metal—just like the store’s interior. I’ve bought white porcelain sauceboats and water bottles with colorful stoppers. The cookbook selection is well worth a browse.” Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 7.
Quanto costa? How much does this cost?
Mi potrebbe fare uno sconto? Can I have a discount?
Lo scontrino, per favore. The receipt, please.
Mi sta bene? Does this look good on me?
E’ troppo grande/piccolo. It’s too big/small.
Avete questo/questa nella mia taglia? Do you have this in my size?
Non mi piace il colore. Ne avete un altro? I do not like the color. Do you have another one?
Posso assaggiare? May I taste?
Potrebbe spedirlo negli Stati Uniti? Can you deliver it to the United States?