AOL PICK from our Editors
People are lured to Rome for its history and grandeur. But they also come for fabulous Rome shopping. Via del Corso, the long straight street running between Piazza Venezia and Piazza del Popolo, is flanked with consumerist intrigue. But if it’s high fashion you want, take a stroll up Via Condotti, lined with shops from all the famed Italian designers. But there’s more to Rome shopping than household names. And we’ve put together a list of a few shops that sell items you can only find in Rome, sweet Rome.
Only in Rome. Want the ultimate souvenir of the Eternal City? Stop by this staid-seeming shop near the Pantheon and you may be dressed for a divine experience. Ever wanted a nun outfit or a tall papal hat? Whatever your favorite clerical garment might be, it can be bought right here. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to have an excuse to wear a monk’s habit or a clerical collar or cassock. Who knows? Maybe you’ll help bring them back into style when you go shopping in Rome at De Ritis.
Porta Portese Flea Market
There’s a mid-17th century gate at the entrance of the Porta Portese Flea market which, for a time, marked the beginning of Rome. Now it marks the beginning of the huge Sunday flea market, one of the most enjoyable forms of Rome shopping. Anything and everything is sold at this spectacle of a market where conspicuous consumption is the order of the day (or at least until 1PM). Everything from retro track suits to vintage lamps to knockoff bags are sold here. Shopping in Rome was never so full of wonder. But watch your wallet. Crowds tend to get so thick that it’s a paradise for petty thievery.
Neighborhood: Campo de’ Fiori
It’s fitting that this creaky, kind of dusty bookstore would be tucked away down a tiny alleyway named “Pellegrino,” or “Pilgrim.” Selling Rome travel books in both English and Italian, the diminutive shop near Campo de’ Fiori is one of the best places to go shopping in Rome if you're looking to find the latest travelogue on the city and its environs or even an up-to-date guidebook. The Libreria del Viaggiatore's books are both new and used. Want to attempt “The Travels of Marco Polo” in its original language? This would be the place to find it.
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Rome boasts two major soccer teams: AS Roma and S.S. Lazio, but the former has always been the cooler team to like, perhaps because of their large and rowdy, blue-collar support. And at this store, just off the long, straight, shop-central street, Via del Corso, you can pick up a cool track jacket or a T-shirt that flashes the maroon and yellow AS Roma colors. There are also coffee mugs, baby clothes and even underwear imprinted with the Roma name. If you're a fan of football, or American soccer, the AS Roma is one of the best places to go shopping in Rome for local sports teams' authentic merchandise.
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Neighborhood: Piazza Navona
Established way back in 1894, the intriguing Ai Monasteri has been run by four different generations of the Nardi family. There’s enough good stuff in here to inspire buying another suitcase to take back with you. As the name suggests, all the products here come from monasteries. That’s right, monks spent their time making things like chocolate, tea and even cosmetics. The big hit, though, and one of the top reasons people consider the Ai Monasteri to have some of the coolest Rome shopping, is the booze: beer, wine and various liquors all toiled over by monks.
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