Window Shopping is Always Free!
Wondering how Italians always seem to look so effortlessly fashionable? Or maybe you're hoping to score a few summer vacation souvenirs at bargain prices or come home from your Roman holiday with some truly unique gifts? Have a quick glance at these four Roman shopping hubs and decide which best suits your tastes and budget.
For shopping that's as epic as any of the Eternal City's most historic sites, Via Condotti is the place to be. Stretching from the base of the famous Spanish Steps westward toward the Tiber River, this opulent street is home to the greatest number of Rome-based fashion retailers. The biggest names in fashion have been flocking to Via Condotti at least since Bulgari opened here 1905. Today the designer brands offering upscale retail therapy here include the luxurious likes of Armani, Hermès, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino and more. Can't even fathom the price tags? Don't worry. Window shopping and people watching are free.
Via del Corso
Commonly referred to simply as the Corso, this tony and buzzing thoroughfare intersects with Via Condotti and is chocked full of plenty of shops. Compared to Condotti, many find the shops on and clustered around the Corso. Popular European brands such as Diesel and Benetton have outlets here along with innumerable shoe stores and even the Ferrari flagship store.
Rome's biggest flea market may seem a world away from the glitz and glamour of Via Condotti and the Corso, but Porta Portese exudes just as much idiosyncratic style. Located in the traditionally working class quarter of Trastevere, this popular market welcomes throngs of locals and visitors alike every Sunday from 7 a.m. to midafternoon. New and vintage clothing, vinyl, old books … you name it! How's your Italian? And how skilled are you at haggling?
Via del Boschetto
For lots of quirky shopping opportunities, amble through the lanes of the trendy neighborhood of Monti, such as the incredibly quaint Via del Boschetto. Home to some of Roman's best boutiques, Via del Boschetto paves a fascinating way for hipsters and historians alike. Handmade jewelry, standout clothing from up-and-coming designers, vintage movie posters, antiquities and more – this is Rome at its quaintest, blending old and new with effortless panache. Essentially in the shadows of the Colosseum and the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, this sweet little street offers a fascinating contrast in scale alongside some fantastic alternatives to the standard stock of schlock souvenirs you're apt to find clustered around any of Rome's most popular attractions.
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photo: Chris Osburn