In all the excitement of Black Friday and sales in the US this weekend, I thought a post about where to find the best shopping in Rome would be timely. Coming to Italy involves many things, but shopping for quality leather, shoes, bags, and suits is very high on the list. It’s very easy to be taken in by tourist traps in the center, selling you over-priced and poorly-made products. But knowing where to find the best deals, high quality goods, and how to support local shops/artisans takes insider knowledge.
Finding shoes in Rome couldn’t be easier. On every major shopping street, you can find a plethora of shoe shops. Finding a shop that reflects your personal taste is a bit different. I’ve always enjoyed shopping for and buying shoes at Danielle. They have a great selection of boots in particular, but also sandals and heels as well.
Finding leather products (bags, jackets, etc.) is a bit more challenging. The most important rule is to steer clear of any stores with huge signs claiming, “Made in Italy!!!” and “Genuine leather!!”. If the products were actually made in Italy and of quality leather, they don’t need to rely on these signs to sell . Look in boutiques and smaller stores off the main streets and check the tags inside for product information such as where it was made, or what it’s made of. I still haven't found THE ONE yet, but this post about a hidden leather shop near the Spanish Steps seems promising.
Rome’s artisan boutiques and markets are the perfect places to find one of a kind pieces that are really special and will remind you of your trip. I recommend walking around smaller side streets in the center and going to the neighborhood of Monti to find unique places to shop. In Monti, the Mercato Monti, Pefibo Vintage Clothing and Humana Vintage all have special and affordable items.
Finding great makeup in Rome deserves its own post but a stop in Kiko is a definite must. this is the most famous brand in Italy for a reason; their products are great and not too expensive. To find other authentic Italian makeup brands, you have to look in a farmacia, which sells skin and body care, medicine, personal care products, and makeup all together.
For some serious window shopping, Via Condotti (near Piazza di Spagna) is where you’ll find the designer stores and all of the fabulous things that you can (almost) justify buying because of the return you get from the VAT tax at the airport on your way back. Via del Corso and Via Cola di Rienzo are good options for walking and shopping, with more reasonably priced products. If you’re really feeling like trying something different, Rome has many malls that are accessible by bus where you can find actual Italians shopping and a huge variety of stores (EUR Roma 2, Porta di Roma, etc.).
These suggestions only touch briefly on a subject that would take much more time to share all the relevant information. I recommend reading up online and then getting out there and finding that perfect souvenir from your trip to Rome. After all, stumbling upon treasures is the best part of shopping.