As the holidays are fast approaching, so is the urge to shop. If you’re looking for a mind-blowing shopping experience, Rome is the place. Whether you like to shop like a diva or dig around for deep discounts, Roma has options for all walks of life and wallet sizes.
Shopping for jeans in Rome — Photo courtesy of Trés Bien Shop
Streets Known for Shopping
Newcomers to the city looking for some retail therapy will find comfort in the wide selection of shops. Divas and those with an American Express with an unlimited credit line can do some serious damage at the Rodeo Drive of Rome, Via dei Condotti. High end shops such as Bulgari, Gucci, Dolce Gabbana, Prada, Cartier and Hermès all have a prime spot here. Other boutiques and specialty shops specializing in haute couture can be found on Via Frattina, Via del Babuino and the surrounding areas of the Spanish Steps.
On a tighter budget? Never fret. There are equally good shops for all budgets located on Via del Corso such as H & M, Yamamay, and Stefanel. On Via Nazionale, you have the famous Italian clothing chain The United Colors of Benetton, Segue and 7Camicie. Just visited the Pope? Then pop on over to the nearby Via Cola di Rienzo in the Vatican area for clothing and accessories from Diesel, COIN, David Saddler, Miss Sixty, Furla and Geox.Castroni's Specialty Coffee Shop — Photo courtesy of garycycles6 Don’t forget about the specialty coffee shop, Castroni, also on Via Cola di Rienzo.
Shopping at mom-and-pop shops is a practice that’s gone pretty much extinct in Rome. Much like Americans, going to the mall has become a favorite past-time for Italians on the weekends. Mega malls are all the craze in the Eternal City and definitely worth checking out during your time here. The largest and most convenient to reach via public transportation is Euroma2 (Via Cristoforo Colombo, angolo Viale dell'Oceano Pacifico) in the EUR district. It has over 230 stores and restaurants including Intimissimi, Luisa Spagnoli, Bata and Carpisa. On the northern side of Rome there’s the Galleria Porta di Roma (Via Alberto Lionello, 201) with over 220 shops, restaurants and a movie theater. Shops include the famous H & M, COIN, Zara, FNAC, Sandro Ferrone and let’s not forget IKEA.
Also a big hit during the holidays - and a great place to snag gifts for the people on your list - are Rome's street markets. For big bargains, head over to the famous flea market at Porta Portese (Piazza di Porta Portese) in Trastevere on Sundays. Here you can find just about everything: clothes, shoes, antiques, bric-a-brac, rugs, incense, and a panoply of interesting stuff. You know the saying . . . one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Christmas Market at Piazza Navona — Photo courtesy of oneillsdc5
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, you might also consider checking out the Christmas markets in Rome. The most popular Christmas market is at the stunning Piazza Navona. One can find all sorts of unique trinkets, knickknacks and ornaments such as the Italian Christmas witch (la Befana). There are even a few rides and games to keep the kids occupied while mom and dad do their shopping.
Other alternatives are the Villaggio di Natale Ice Park (Parco Tor di Quinto, 55) near the Olympic Stadium featuring an ice rink and tents for shopping and the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Parioli (Viale Pietro de Coubertin, 30). Through January, they’ve got all sorts of fun stuff to ring in that holiday spirit including concerts, puppet shows, food tastings and tents with Christmas trinkets and other decorations.
Veni, Vidi, . . . Visa!