They say ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’ and that means to enjoy good shopping! There are shopping opportunities for everyone including the snazziest designer clothes shops. If you are on a tight budget, you will find the small gift shops in Via del Mascherino perfect for souvenirs costing a few euros. There are several street markets in the city, with Campo Dei Fiori being the oldest one and in full swing by 07.00 in the morning. Also, there is a great bakery selling warm pastries in the corner!!
Piazza Navona is a lovely place to visit and contains Bernini – the city’s largest toy shop. There are numerous artists in the square selling their work and if you are brave, you can have your caricature done! Piazza Navona is also the setting for Rome’s popular Christmas market. As many people visit Rome for religious reasons, many shops are selling religious souvenirs in Via Della Conciliazioro – the road that leads to St Peter’s.
1. Be wowed by the designer clothes
There are some fabulous exclusive fashions to admire in the shop windows as you stroll through Rome and the names Valentino, Trussardi, Gucci, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana are almost household names. All the ‘big names’ have shops in Rome and if you love top fashion then the area to head to is Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) because in the surrounding streets – Via Dei Condotti, Via del Corso, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona you will find the most dazzling array of top-end designer shops.
Even if you know that your bank balance cannot stretch that far, it is well worth enjoying some ‘window shopping’ and admiring the beautiful styling of the different garments on display. If you head away from this part of the city, look out for stores stocking lesser-known brands as you will still find really good Italian styles – at a more affordable price.
2. Treat yourself to a beautiful pair of shoes
The Italians are known for their beautiful footwear and what better souvenir from your time in Rome than a gorgeous new pair of shoes? Italian styling is very distinctive and in fact, truly unique and names like Gucci, Casadei, and Albano are known all over the world. Shoes are beautifully crafted in soft Italian leather and the designers are not afraid to use bold colors and designs as they truly appreciate how wearing the correct pair of shoes can complement and complete the outfit – and how wearing the wrong pair of shoes can have the opposite effect!
There are some stylish shoe shops in the Piazza di Spagna area of the city and it is well worth looking out for lesser-known designers as the price tags are more affordable.
If you need convincing that it is worth investing in a beautiful pair of Italian shoes, try them on as not only are they stylish, but comfortable too and because they have been made by craftsmen they can be easily be maintained by your local cobbler so that you can enjoy them for years to come.
3. Invest in stylish accessories
Beautiful accessories are very important in Italy and this is a point quickly noticed at the fashion shows where the Italian designers accentuate the style of their clothes with gorgeous handbags, belts, and hats. The number one accessory for ladies is their handbag and of course, Gucci handbags are iconic! There are numerous shops across the city selling luxurious handbags, purses, and belts made in the softest leather and available in a wide range of colors.
Smart accessories are available for men too with stylish clutch bags, wallets, document cases, and belts- all beautifully styled and made.
4. Be tempted with some jewelry
The magic of Italian styling extends to jewelry too and there are several well known contemporary jewelry makers with Bulgari being probably the best known. There are necklaces, bracelets, and rings that are cleverly designed in both gold and silver, many of the designs enhanced by gemstones or pearls – the result is a simply stunning piece of jewelry to be enjoyed for years.
If you prefer classic styles, you will not be disappointed as many craftsmen make accurate replicas of ancient Roman designs in both silver and gold – gold is well-priced in Rome.
5. Admire the beautiful scarves
Not only does a silk scarf make a very special gift, but it is also a practical purchase as it takes up very little room in your suitcase! There are some stylish designs to choose from in all the colors of the rainbow and you can buy your scarf from a snazzy shop where it will be placed in a stylish cardboard envelope or you can take the cheaper option which is to choose a scarf in one of the many markets.
Along with lovely silk scarves, you will be tempted by the numerous pretty pashminas on sale and these, of course, will add warmth without weight to your winter outfits.
6. Choose some colorful ceramics
There has been a long tradition of making beautiful ceramics in several regions in Italy including Tuscany and Umbria. Each region has a different and instantly recognizable style – many of them bold and highly colored. Whilst some artisans make contemporarily styled designs, others prefer the styles that have been passed down through the generations – so there is certainly plenty of choices and there are plates, bowls, jugs, goblets and olive oil pitchers to choose from.
7. Enjoy some Italian wine
Italian wine is known and appreciated all over the world and Italy is a major exporter of numerous different types of wine, made in its 300 different official zones. Italian wine can be bought in food stores, but it is much more fun to go to one of the numerous specialist shops in the city. The best-known store in Rome is Buccone which is situated on the next road to Piazza del Popolo. Buccone has a fantastic range of wines from modestly priced bottles to its most expensive – a 1964 vintage bottle of Brunello di Montalcino retails at €3,500.
8. Pick some great Italian sweets
The Italians love sweets, cakes, and pastries and there are some irresistible bakery shops in the city! The most typical Roman cake is Pangiallo Romano which is a mixture of different types of nuts, honey, raisins, and chocolate. Panpepato is a slightly different version that has even more chocolate and a variety of spices. Another specialty you will see in the shops is Mostaccioli which is a very old recipe that is made from pistachio, almond, and sponge that is covered with chocolate and is popular to serve at weddings.
One of the best shops to hunt down is Valzani which is in Via del Moro and has been making such beautiful sweets for 100 years. The sweets can be chosen individually and then will be packaged into gift boxes which make a lovely gift – but do buy extra to enjoy yourself!
9. Pack some Italian chocolate
You will certainly be popular with family and friends if you gift them some Italian chocolate because it tastes so good! The top brands are Caffarel, Baci Perugina and Venchi. All of these chocolatiers have been making quality chocolate for more than 100 years and they incorporate locally grown nuts including almonds and hazelnuts. The chocolate is always beautifully packaged, whether it is in a gift box or a single bar.
There are several places where chocolate is made on the premises and this includes La Bottega del Cioccolato in Via Leonina – well worth hunting out!
10. Pack some Italian food specialties
Choose a few different specialties to take home as they make good and reasonably priced gifts and also are lovely for you to use and remember your time spent in Rome. If you love pasta, there are several shops where you can buy the most elaborately shaped and colored pasta – even black pasta which is colored with squid ink! Olive oil is another excellent buy (though not possible if you are flying with cabin baggage only) and it is fun to buy some oil that is flavored with different herbs.
Top-quality balsamic vinegar can be added to your shopping basket, smooth Italian mustard, and truffle products. Truffle is a great Italian delicacy that mainly comes from the Piedmont region. Truffle oil is a good buy and truffle flakes as both sprinkled over pasta taste extremely good!
Other Italian delicacies to consider buying include fresh Parmesan cheese and delicious sun-dried tomatoes.
Updated: August 6, 2019