Rome has a huge and diverse array of specialist shops, fashion boutiques and artisans' workshops, with a particularly impressive portfolio of food, clothing and accessory boutiques. Many of these businesses are family owned, having been passed down through the generations. Others have grown from their modest origins into global brands known for their classic designs and quality workmanship.
Big-name designer boutiques hawk their covetable wares in the grid of streets between Piazza di Spagna and Via del Corso in Tridente. All the great Italian and international names are here – Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Armani, Prada, Dior, Valentino, Versace and Bulgari included – as well as many lesser-known designers, all selling highly fashionable clothes, shoes, accessories and dreams for men, women and children. The immaculately clad designer-fashion spine is Via dei Condotti, but plenty of haute-couture boutiques pepper Via Borgognona, Via Frattina, Via della Borghese, Via della Vite, Via del Babuino and Via dei Due Macelli too.
For chic, independent boutiques stocking pieces by smaller, lesser-known or young rising designers, mooch the lengths of Via dell’Oca and Via della Penna near Piazza del Popolo, or head to Via del Boschetto in Monti and Via del Governo Vecchio in the centro storico.
Downsizing more than a few euros, midrange stores line Via del Corso, Via Nazionale in Monti, Via dei Giubbonari in the centro storico and Via Cola di Rienzo in Prati, with some enticing small boutiques set amid the high-street chains.
One-Off Boutiques & Vintage
One of the best strips for cutting-edge designer boutiques and vintage clothes is bohemian Via del Governo Vecchio, running from a small square just off Piazza Navona towards the river. Other places for one-off boutiques are Via del Pellegrino and around Campo de’ Fiori. Via del Boschetto, Via Urbana and Via dei Serpenti in the Monti area feature unique clothing boutiques, including a couple where you can get your clothes adjusted to fit, as well as jewellery makers. Monti is also a centre for vintage-clothes shops, as well as a weekend vintage market, Mercato Monti Urban Market.
For antiques, Via dei Coronari, Via Giulia and Via dei Banchi Vecchi in the centro storico and Via Margutta in Tridente are the best places to look – quality is high, as are the prices.
Rome’s shopping scene has a surprising number of artists and artisans who create their goods on the spot in hidden workshops. There are good options in Tridente (try Via Margutta, Via dell'Oca and Via della Penna) and Monti (try Via del Boschetto and Via Panisperna).
Rome is deli heaven, of course – try Salumeria Roscioli in the centre or Volpetti in Testaccio. Also well worth a visit are Rome’s many wonderful food markets – there's usually one in every district – where you can buy cheese, salami and other delicious stuff. There are also various weekend farmers' markets around town, the best of which is the Mercato Campagna Amica al Circo Massimo, behind the Roman Forum. It's open from 8am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Need to Know
- Most city-centre shops: 9am to 7.30pm (or 10am to 8pm) Monday to Saturday; some close Monday morning
- Smaller shops: 9am to 1pm and 3.30pm to 7.30pm (or 4pm to 8pm) Monday to Saturday
Winter sales run from early January to mid-February, and summer sales from July to early September.
Taxes & Refunds
Non-EU residents who spend over €155 on any one given day in a shop offering 'Tax Free for Tourists' shopping (www.taxrefund.it) are entitled to a tax refund of up to 22%. You'll need to show your passport, get a form and have it stamped by customs as you leave Italy.