Shopping is in Rome’s DNA. The Eternal City developed this skill early, when the riches of lands the Romans conquered where brought back to the city.
You might say Romans have a good eye for shopping, weeding out the junk of conquered lands to bring back only the best.
While you could go the 21st Century route and do all of your shopping online for the holidays, those boarding flights to Rome should definitely explore these Roman finds.
Your wallet might not love you but anyone on your gift-giving list certainly will.
Porta Portese: Held on Sundays at the southern reaches of the Trastevere neighborhood, the Porta Portese flea market is well worth digging through its thousands of stalls for good buys. Considered one of the city’s best flea markets, Porta Portese has it all, from secondhand clothing, jewelry to original art. The open-air flea market is of colossal proportions but you wouldn’t expect anything less in Rome. If you want to complete your entire souvenir shopping in one trip, head to Porta Portese on Sunday.
Via dei Condotti: You might not come to Rome to break the bank, but Via dei Condotti could sway your intentions in the opposite direction. From the top of the Spanish Steps, you get the sense this grand staircase is intended to lead down to Via Condotti and not the other way around. Rome’s main drag for shopping and iconic fashion lines up along this thoroughfare at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. While posh and pricy, you can see where the likes of Gucci, Armani and Valentino made a name for Italian designs. Unless you have a yacht that needs outfitting and outfits to match said yacht, window-shopping and people watching along Via Condotti is worth the price your feet might pay.
Via Del Corso: The common man and woman’s answer to Via dei Condotti in Rome is easily Via Del Corso. The one-mile long street fills with all shorts of shops, with much more reasonable price points than those on Via dei Condotti and its neighbors. Amidst some of the kitschy stores, there are a few gems that won’t break the bank. Via Del Corso runs from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo.
Mercato delle Stampe: If you have an affinity for old prints and vintage novels, Rome’s Mercato delle Stampe will have you drooling. Just make sure you aren’t doing so on a first edition that might be worth something. Throughout shabby book stalls, the market can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. What is of value and what is not is really in the eye of the beholder of the print, engraving, or magazine from 1955.
Soffitta Sotto i Portici: Antique lovers and those in search of all things collectible will have a field day at Soffitta Sotto i Portici. Some even plan their visit to Rome around when the antiques and collectibles market is held, twice a month on the first and third Sundays. The gem of an antique’s market sets up in Piazza Augusto Imperatore.
CC Flickr photo credit: Rene Cunningham