Shopping in Rome is fantastic, no matter if you are searching for haute couture, antiques, or a bargain. Following are a few ideas on where to shop in Italy's capital.
Shopping for High Fashion in Rome
Some of the biggest names in Italian fashion - Fendi, Valentino, Bulgari - hail from Rome and you will find their flagship stores, as well as boutiques by Prada, Armani, Versace, Ferragamo, Cavalli, Gucci, and many others, along the grid of streets near the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti is Rome's main drag for haute couture and "aspirational" window shopping, though you'll also find high fashion beckoning from the boutiques on Via Borgognona, Via Frattina, Via Sistina, and Via Bocca de Leone.
Chain Stores and Mainstream Shopping in Rome
If you want to shop where regular Romans shop, there are several good places to go.
Via del Corso, and the streets that radiate from it, is the most obvious shopping area. The mile-long street which runs from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo has all manner of shops, including the Ferrari flagship store, numerous shoe stores, popular fashion brands like Diesel and Benetton, and department stores (Rinascente, COIN).
Another area popular with Romans is Via Cola di Rienzo in the Prati neighborhood. This long street north of the Vatican has a similar assortment of stores to those on Via del Corso but has far fewer tourists crowding the sidewalks.
Outdoor Flea Markets and Antiques in Rome
There are several good outdoor markets, flea markets, and places to buy antiques in Rome. Porta Portese, which operates on Sundays from 7am until 1pm, is the most important flea market in Rome and is one of the largest flea markets in Europe. At Porta Portese, you'll find everything from antique housewares to secondhand clothing and music to original art, jewelry, posters, furniture, etc. Porta Portese is located at the south end of the Trastevere neighborhood.
Another flea market to try is the one at Via Sannio located just a few blocks south of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. This market sells mostly clothing and accessories, including designer knock-offs. It operates in the mornings Monday through Saturday.
Tip: It is technically illegal to buy and sell counterfeit items, including designer knock-offs. In fact, the purchase of knock-off wares could mean hefty fines for both the seller and buyer.
While you can find many good antiques in Rome's flea markets, there are several streets and districts that are known for their antiques sellers. Via del Babuino, near the haute couture shops around the Spanish Steps, is renowned for its antiques, particularly antique furniture and paintings. An incredibly picturesque street on which to do your antiques shopping is Via Giulia, a street which runs almost parallel to the Tiber just west of Campo de' Fiori. You will also find a handful of antiques dealers on the warren of streets at the curve of the Tiber between the Via Giulia and Via del Governo Vecchio. One of the easiest ways to approach this antiques district is by starting at Castel Sant'Angelo and walking south on the lovely Ponte Sant'Angelo (Angels' Bridge).