Fashion and shopping in Rome

Rome, Italy

The Piazza di Spagna is both the heart of Rome’s main shopping district and a fashion stronghold. The fabulous Donna sotto le Stelle (under the stars) haute couture show held every July on the steps of the scalatina symbolizes this vocation. The square and surrounding streets converging on via del Corso (via dei Condotti, via Frattina, via Bourgognona, via delle Carozze, via della Croce, via Bocca di Leone, via Mario dei Fiori and via Belsiana) will delight fashion victims.

The big names in high-end ready-to-wear – Armani, Balestra, Biagiotti, Fendi, Ferragamo, Ferré, Genny, Gucci, Max Mara, Missoni, Prada, Valentino, Versace – have their signs here alongside a multitude of homeware, jewelry and art objets stores.

High prices are rarely negotiable, and sales (saldi) don’t always live up to expectations. Nevertheless, it’s hard to resist the allure of well-made items. In some areas, such as leather goods – clothing, shoes and bags – bargains can occasionally be found.

There are, of course, more affordable boutiques. In the small via del Gambero, for example, you’ll find blouses and sweaters at very reasonable prices. Via del Corso, the long artery linking Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia (appreciated by Stendhal for its 18th-century elegance) and via della Croce are home to numerous shoe and clothing stores.

La Rinascente, largo Chigi, is one of Rome’s few department stores. Completely renovated in recent years, it sells men’s and women’s clothing. Like a growing number of department stores, it is now open all day, even on Sundays and Monday mornings, when most fashion boutiques close (in summer, they close on Saturday afternoons and open on Monday mornings).

The streets around Piazza di Spagna are not Rome’s only shopping area, but simply the chicest, trendiest and, above all, most expensive. Failing that, you can opt for the via Nazionale, the wide cobbled avenue between largo Magnanapoli and piazza della Repubblica (or Esedra), which offers a vast selection of clothing and leather goods. Via Cola di Rienzo, on the other side of the Tiber in the Prati district, is in the same price range.

If you find yourself in the area, make a detour to Franchi to sample its tasty (but rather expensive) takeaway products. Nearby Castroni offers all kinds of Italian and foreign specialties. The area around Campo dei Fiori and Piazza Navona is home to more specialized addresses. The charming via del Giubbonari, for example, is lined with artisan stalls and boutiques featuring labels by young, often very promising, designers.

The number of specialist stores in Rome’s city center has dwindled. However, you can still find shops catering to a specific clientele, or highly skilled craftsmen making items in the old-fashioned way. The shops lining the streets around the Pantheon, for example, cater to ecclesiastics. There are also two passementerie (passamanerie) stores, in via d’Aracoeli (above the Gesù church) and near the Parliament building, selling silk tassels, pompoms and curtain tiebacks.

Despite the development of ready-to-wear shop windows, via del Babuino has retained some of its former activity: the antique dealers that line the street offer silverware as well as furniture and curios.

Via Giulia and Via dei Coronari will also delight enthusiasts. The latter hosts an antiques fair in May and October. Second-hand dealers abound in via dei Cappelari and via del Pellegrino, near Campo dei Fiori.

Practical info

  • Stores often closed on Sunday and Monday mornings
  • Transport: Rome, Metro A, Spagna
  • Via dei Condotti: Dior, Gucci, Prada, Armani, Ferragamo, Max Mara, Hermès…

Photo Gallery

Prada boutique

Boutique Prada à Rome

Valentino boutique, Spanish Steps

Boutique Valentino à Rome


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