Shopping in Rome
Italy’s reputation for quality is well-deserved and nowhere more so than in Rome’s shops, studios and specialist boutiques. Major brands are well-represented but it’s the bespoke leather goods, clothes, accessories and food that represent the best value for money.
Via Condotti is where all the big-name designers have their shops. For smaller, independent boutiques try Via del Boschetto, Via del Pellegrino and Via dei Governo Vecchio. For mainstream labels and chains, focus your energies on Via del Corso. Luxury goods to take home include assorted vinegar, truffles and olive oil. Castroni, Via Cola di Rienzo 196, sells the culinary riches from Italy's regions.
Rome’s largest flea market is the vast Porta Portese in Trastevere (Sunday 0700-1300). The only market open on Sundays, Porta Portese is the place to pick up antique knick-knacks for a good price if you’re willing to haggle. Keep a watchful eye on your valuables – sneaky pickpockets run rampant in this part of town. Other local neighbourhood food markets are dotted all over town, but for the oldest and most famous, visit the Campo dei’Fiori (Monday to Saturday 0800-1300) for anything from fresh produce and fish to beautiful flowers.
The oldest shopping mall in Rome is the 100-shop Centro Commerciale Cinecittà Due, Viale Palmiro Togliatti 2. They have everything an eager shopper could want, from perfume shops to children’s toy stores. TAD, Via Babuino 155A, is a small conceptual department store that will answer your every niche style need from high-tech gadgets to high-end fashion.
Shops in Rome are open Monday to Saturday from 0900-1300 and 1600-2000. Supermarkets and department stores stay open all day, and are open on Sundays.
Roman souvenirs range far and wide; stop in any local shop and peruse the local leather goods, from handbags to boots, or pick up a hand carved rosary at the Vatican. At any of the markets, pick up homemade olive oil, fresh pasta, or locally made limoncello as a tasty reminder of the trip.
Value-added tax (IVA) of 21% is added to every purchase in Italy. If you are a non-EU resident and spend more than euro155 on a single item then you can claim a refund when you leave the country. The refund is only available from shops that display a ‘tax free Italy’ (or similar) sign.