From luxury fashion houses to small boutiques and from big department stores to cosy markets, Rome has something for everyone who loves shopping. The most famous shopping district is the area around Via del Corso and the Spanish Steps, which is called Tridente. The Monti district has been very popular for about 10 years now, and Trastevere, which used to be a nightlife area, is now very popular with bargain hunters.
Shopping in Rome
Apart from the Via del Corso, the Via Condotti is the most important street in the Tridente. It is here that the most famous fashion houses have their branches and it is also here that one can sometimes see movie stars strolling. Other famous streets in this district are the Via del Babuino, the Via Frattina, the Via Borgognona, the Via delle Carozze, the Via Vittoria and the Via delle Vite. Most of the shops in these side streets of Via del Corso are in the hands of exclusive luxury fashion designers. The Via del Corso itself, on the other hand, is mostly lined by chain stores such as H&M and Zara. About halfway down the street is the Galleria Alberto Sordi, Rome‘s best-known shopping arcade. Via Margutta, which runs parallel to part of the Corso, is known for its many artists’ studios.
About ten years ago, Monti started developing into a popular nightlife area. After a while this began to have an effect on the shops in this area. Where once craftsmen plied there trades, themajority of the district’s shops are now boutiques with vintage or other types of trendy clothing. Especially in the part of the district around the Via Urbana this is the case. A highlight is the Mercato Monti, a covered market which only takes place during the weekend.
Like Monti, Trastevere was originally a nightlife district and like Monti, it has also developed into a shopping district. Especially in Via della Lungharetta and Via della Scala there are many small trendy boutiques to be found. However, the main attraction for tourists who want to shop takes place on Sunday mornings. The Porta Portese market is the largest flea market in Italy. Half of the market is occupied by cheap clothing and accessories, while the other half is dedicated to second-hand goods, from the smallest jewellery to huge antique cupboards.
Around Piazza Navona and the Pantheon
In Piazza Navona itself there are always various street artists who make portraits and caricatures on the spot. More serious art collectors can visit the Via dei Coronari, with its multitude of antique shops. At the Largo della Fontanella Borghese you can buy old prints and antique books. Via del Governo Vecchio and Via dei Banchi Vecchi specialize in small shops where both handicrafts and works of art by young designers are available.
Around Campo de’ Fiori
As can be seen from the names of the streets around Campo de’ Fiori, this used to be a working-class neighbourhood. Most of the streets are named after old crafts, like the Via dei Cappellari (“Hatters’ Street”), the Via dei Chiavari (“Locksmiths’ Street”), the Via dei Funari (“Ropemakers’ Street”) and the Via dei Falegnami (“Carpenters’ Street”). Of the old shops is not much left, but the daily market held on the square itself is one of the most famous in the city.
More shopping streets
In addition to these areas, there are a number of other streets that are of interest to shopaholics. Via Nazionale and Via Cola di Rienzo are centrally located, while Via Appia Nuova is located outside the old city walls.
Due to the lack of parking space, there are not many shopping malls in Rome. The main exception is the already mentioned Galleria Alberto Sordi. Porta di Roma and Euroma2 are located on the outskirts of the city and the Castel Romano Designer Outlet and the Valmontone Outlet are not even in Rome itself. In the latter two you can get big discounts on brand names. Smaller department stores like Coin and Rinascente are located on the edge of the city centre.
Shopping in Rome doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. There are several markets, of which the Sunday flea market Porta Portese is the most famous. Other well-known markets are the Via Sannio market and the Mercato Monti.
Furthermore, each district has its own daily market, sometimes covered and sometimes in the open air, where you can buy fresh food from 07.00 to 14.00 hours. The most famous of these is the Campo de’ Fiori market, but that is more because of its location than because of its quality. Cheaper, better and more interesting markets are the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino and the Mercato Trionfale.
There are official sales periods twice a year. The sales period is strongly regulated. Winter sales usually start in the second week of January and last about 6 weeks. The summer sales start at the beginning of July and also last six weeks. The Italian word for sales is balances.