Where to Shop in Rome for Antiques
By Maria Pasquale
Rome Local Expert
Rome is simply a mecca when it comes to shopping and in a city where 'old' is done pretty well, it's no surprise that the eternal city packs a punch if antiques are your thing.
Antiques add so much to a home or office: a sense of quality, history and refinement. It's no wonder that people find them hard to resist and antique lovers will relish Rome's bounty. A wide selection of antiques of all vintages, provenances and places of origin can be found and this list will lead you to the top sources.
Many outlets are centered around the upscale Via Babuino and Spanish Steps area, like Cesare Lampronti, a gallery specializing in 17th and 18th century art. Then there's, Alberto di Castro. Highly regarded as Rome's best antiques shop, this family run business has been in the trade for over four generations.
If markets are more your thing, the historic Porta Portese flea market is centrally located by the Trastevere neighborhood and is a bit of a mish mash of everything, including used (and sometimes stolen!) goods, new and used clothes and accessories, antiques and homewares. Make sure you have your haggle on and dedicate a good amount of your Sunday morning to trawl through items at the hundreds of stands. Mercato Monti in the hip Monti district features young and local artisans plus some antique jewellery and accessories in an undercover space.
Whatever antique you're in the market for, you're bound to find it in Rome with these tips.
Another antique specialist in the stylish Via Babuino and Piazza di Spagna area, Artimport is quite an upscale antique store. The shop boasts an extensive range of antiques, sourced both locally and overseas, at various price points. Walking in, one of the first things you'll notice are the beautiful marble floors. Artimport showcases a series of antique table displays and glass shelves exhibiting the numerous items for sale. Other precious items such as silver tea services, goblets and candlestick holders dominate the inventory while fine china, local and international prints and some antique clocks and mirrors are also available here. METRO: Spagna (06-3221330)
Located in the middle of the shopping district of Rome, antique shoppers often head to Vivanti to pick up those smaller antique pieces they are on the hunt for. In store here, you will find a wide selection of wooden tables, unique chairs and other occasional pieces. Stunning and ornate pieces of china and porcelain from dinner sets to tea sets, can also be found on display here and the vast majority of the merchandise at Vivanti dates between the early 16th and 18th centuries. The shop prides itself on stocking antiques that are predominantly Italian in design. Metro: Spagna, Flaminio. (06-36000066)
8 Oasi Antiquariato
A certain manner of organization sets this store apart from the usual and more traditional antique stores. The long, wide walls and vaulted ceilings neatly display tables, roll-top desks, and chairs from the 17th and 18th centuries. Oil paintings on the walls, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, marble and wood pieces of art plus a number of strategically placed clocks set a real unique tone and look in the gallery. Given the outstanding quality of the items for sale (both local and international), Oasi - by those in the know - is reputed for being quite moderate with their pricing. Metro: Spagna. (06-3207585)
7 Mercato Monti
Held every weekend in the area of Monti, this "urban" market is a good place to go shopping if you're looking for a unique gift for someone special, or even for yourself! At Mercato Monti you can find young and old handmade designers who create and sell notebooks, vintage and handmade clothes, jewelry, vintage sunglasses and much more. The artisans sell their products so shopping here gives you a chance to talk to them, making for a more personal shopping experience. Even if there's little chance to take a piece home, make sure you take time to admire the vintage furniture, often expertly restored. METRO: Cavour BUS: 75, 117
6 Porta Portese
The historic Porta Portese market has over 900 stalls and is centrally located in Trastever. This market is a roman institution and there have even been old roman folk songs written about it. The market features new and used clothes, antiques, electronics, souvenirs and just about everything else under the kitchen sink. Make sure you have your haggle on and dedicate a good amount of your Sunday morning to trawl through items at the hundreds of stands. Porta Portese is open only on Sundays (every single week of the year) between 7:30am until 1:30pm. TRAM: 8, BUS 3, 3B, 75) (392 473 3152)
5 Gallerie Benucci
An art gallery as well as a high-end antique store, Gallerie Benucci has been in the business for over thirty years. This upscale store features a wide variety of large, ornate pieces of furniture as well as oil paintings, marble items and antique tiles. Other items on display here, include a series of stunning chandeliers, clocks and mirrors and a vast selection of ornate wood work pieces. The Gallerie is active in the Italian art and antique sector and host a range of exhibitions and events. The size and selection of the merchandise here is any antique shopper's dream. Metro: Spagna, Flaminio. (06-36002190)
4 Cesare Lampronti
Cesare Lampronti has more than 50 years' experience in the international art market and represents the third generation of an established family of art dealers. The gallery was opened in 1914 by Cesare's grandfather and to this day, specializes in Italian Old Master Paintings of the 17th and 18th Centuries, with a particular focus on view paintings, landscapes and still lives, ranging from Caravaggio to Canaletto.An extensive selection of 16th, 17th, and 18th century oil paintings is available in this charming store. Subjects range from conservative landscapes to more intricate designs depicting Italian life and while a majority of the works have been framed, though some prints are available. Metro: Flaminio, Spagna. Bus: 116, 117, 119. (06-3227194)
3 Nicola di Castro
For antique collectors, Nicola di Castro is a trove of wonders. Some say that the age-old civilisation and history of Rome is better reflected in the collage of rare antiques available at Nicola di Castro than anywhere else in the city. Antique shoppers will be pleased to discover a variety of chairs, tables, ceramics and chests for sale in this store. The merchandise is not arranged neatly, so you may have to spend some time searching for any particular item. But antique lovers won't leave disappointed because not only is the quality outstanding here, the prices are quite affordable. Metro: Spagna. (06-6790210)
Carlucci gallery sits just about one block from Piazza del Popolo in the heart of Rome and offers a vast selection of Italian antiques. The majority of the merchandise in this upscale store is ornate, with gold leaf and silver incorporated into the designs. Various tables have marble and wood included in their patterns. Old Masters Paintings, furniture from Roman palaces, fine porcelain, and quality upholstered chairs are just some of the stunning pieces that make up the fine assortment. Here you'll find smaller objects too like ornate mirrors and clocks from a wide span of art eras. Metro: Flaminio, Spagna. (06-3227305)
1 Alberto di Castro
Touted as one of Rome's best antique shops, Alberto di Castro is a family run business and has been so for four generations. Here you'll find vaulted ceilings covered in fresco paintings that create a very traditional Roman feel. In fact, the shop has been in the very same location since the late 1800s. Matted prints and engravings depict a wide variety of subjects from ancient Roman ruins to sunflowers. The majority of the prints are matted, though some are framed. Antique pieces and objects here, range from the Renaissance until the mid-19th century and prices vary accordingly. Metro: Spagna. (06-6792269, 06-3613752)
About Maria Pasquale
Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne. She has a formal background in political science and policy and now runs her own event management & PR company, through which she manages marketing & social media for Eating Italy Food Tours in Rome. An unabashed romantic (Rome being her one true love!) she is the creator of popular food, travel and lifestyle blog HeartRome (www.heartrome.com). In Rome you'll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends.
Read more about Maria Pasquale here.