Rome offers temptations of every kind. In our limited space below we’ve summarized streets and areas known for their shops. The monthly rent on the famous streets is very high, and those costs are passed on to you. Nonetheless, a stroll down some of these streets presents a cross section of the most desirable wares in Rome.
Note that sales usually run twice a year, in January and July.
The Top Shopping Streets & Areas
Around Piazza di Spagna — Most of Rome’s haute couture and seriously upscale shopping fans out from the bottom of the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti is probably Rome’s poshest shopping street, where you’ll find Prada, Gucci, Bulgari, and the like. A few more down-to-earth stores have opened, but it’s still largely a playground for the superrich. Via Borgognona is another street where both the rents and the merchandise are chic and ultraexpensive. Like its neighbor, Via Condotti, Via Borgognona is a mecca for wealthy, well-dressed women and men from around the world. It offers a nicer window-browsing experience, however, because it has pedestrian-only access, and storefronts have retained their baroque or neoclassical facades. Via Frattina is the third member of this trio of upscale streets. Here the concentration of shops is denser; chic boutiques for adults and kids rub shoulders with ready-to-wear fashions, high-class chains, and occasional tourist tat vendors. It’s usually thronged with shoppers who appreciate the lack of motor traffic.
Via Cola di Rienzo — The commercial heart of the Prati neighborhood bordering the Vatican, this long, straight street runs from the Tiber to Piazza Risorgimento. Via Cola di Rienzo is known for stores selling a wide variety of merchandise at reasonable prices—from jewelry to fashionable clothes, bags, and shoes. Among the most prestigious is Bertozzini Profumeria dal 1913, at no. 192 (tel. 06-6874662), the historic Roman perfume store. You will also find the department store Coin at no. 173 (with large supermarket in the basement); the largest branch of venerable gourmet food store Castroni at no. 196; and the smaller, more selective gourmet grocery Franchi at no. 204, good for Parmigiano cheese.
Via del Corso — Not attempting the stratospheric image or prices of Via Condotti or Via Borgognona, Via del Corso boasts affordable styles aimed at younger consumers. Occasional gems are scattered amid the international shops selling jeans and sporting equipment. In general, the most interesting stores are toward the Piazza del Popolo end of the street (Via del Babuino here has a similar profile). Via del Corso also has a branch of department store La Rinascente, Piazzale Colonna 357 ((tel) 06-6784209). Pavements are narrow, so it’s not a convenient street to window-browse with a stroller or young children.
Via dei Coronari — An antique-lover’s souk. If you’re shopping (or even window-browsing) for antiques or antique-style souvenir prints, then spend an hour walking the full length of this pretty, pedestrian-only street.
Via Margutta — This beautiful, tranquil street is home to numerous art stalls and artists’ studios—Federico Fellini used to live here—though the stores tend to offer the same sort of antiques and mediocre paintings these days. You have to shop hard to find real quality. Highlights include Bottega del Marmoraro at no. 53b, the studio of master stonecarver Sandro Fiorentini; and Valentina Moncada’s hugely popular contemporary art gallery at no. 54 (tel. 06-3207956).
Monti — Rome’s most fashion-conscious central neighborhood has a pleasing mix of indie artisan retailers, hip boutiques, and honest, everyday stores frequented by locals. There’s not a brand name in sight. Roam the length of Via del Boschetto for one-off fashions, designer ateliers, and unique, gift-sized homewares. In fact, you can roam in every direction from the spot where it meets Via Panisperna. Via Urbana is another to add to the list; boutiques jostle for shopfront space with cafes that are ideal for a break or light lunch. Via Leonina likewise. Via Urbana also hosts the weekly Mercatomonti.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.