Rome Shopping Streets Walk (Self Guided), Rome

You may come to Rome for the ancient history, stunning architecture or out of this world gelato, but you shouldn’t leave the city without discovering the variety of shops it has to offer. From big brands to artisanal boutiques, there’s enough to keep even the most discerning shopaholics happy. Amid the lack of one-stop shops or malls in downtown Rome, if you really want to indulge in retail therapy, you should stick to certain neighborhoods to maximize your options. One of the Eternal City's most lusted-after areas is the so-called Trident, formed by Via dei Condotti, Via Borgognona, Via Frattina and the adjacent Via del Corso . This is perhaps the most high-end destination for Roman shopping, with a concentration of renowned jewelers and important Italian and international flagships and ateliers. Italy’s saldi (sales) happen twice a year, in January and July – something worth keeping in mind if you are planning to do a lot of shopping in Rome! To explore some of Rome’s key destinations synonymous with great shopping, follow this self-guided walk!

Getting to Sight #1. The first tour stop (Spanish Steps) can be reached by Bus 119, 160, 61, 63, 913; also 40 Express and 116 electric bus, Train: FL5, R, RV, Metro: line A
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Rome Shopping Streets Walk Map

Guide Name: Rome Shopping Streets Walk
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Author: alexei
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Piazza di Spagna. Fountain of the Longboat
  • Via Condotti
  • Via del Corso
  • Via del Babuino
  • Via Borgognona
  • Via Frattina
  • Via dei Coronari
  • Via del Governo Vecchio
1
Piazza di Spagna. Fountain of the Longboat

1) Piazza di Spagna. Fountain of the Longboat

With its Spanish Steps overlooked by the Trinita dei Monte Church, Piazza di Spagna is one of the most visited squares in Rome. While the famous staircase is a favorite spot among tourists to relax and enjoy the views, the area is practically synonymous with high-fashion and luxury, thanks to the many designer shops lying on the surrounding streets.

In this piazza, you will also find one of the most remarkable fountains in Rome, called Fontana della Barcaccia (“Fountain of the Longboat”).

Created in the 1620s, it is the work of Pietro Bernini, the famed sculptor and a go-to man for Pope Urban VIII on many occasions, who also contributed to the creation of the Neptune Fountain in Naples and made statues for numerous churches throughout Italy. Initially collaborating with his son, Gian Lorenzo, the old Bernini was later overshadowed by the young man's talent in marble cutting. In fact, this fountain is often attributed to both Bernini the father and the son.

The design is based upon a real-life event. Back in the 15th-16th centuries the River Tiber regularly flooded the area and a legend has it that one flood was so devastating that Piazza di Spagna remained submerged for several weeks. When the water receded, a boat was found in the square that inspired Bernini in his choice of a subject for the new fountain. The boat is depicted as half sunk in its basin with water spilling over the bows and trickling out of the side of the prow.

Many a people like to sit on the benches, basking in the sun, near the fountain, listening to its gurgle. Because of the low water pressure in the area, the water doesn’t come out in a jet and, luckily, no-one has ever thought of changing that by adding a pump. Famous English poet John Keats, who used to live nearby up until his death in 1821, is said to have heard the sound of water lying in his deathbed, upon which he asked that the words “Here lies one whose name was writ in water” be inscribed on his tombstone.
2
Via Condotti

2) Via Condotti

Via Condotti, starting at the base of the Spanish Steps, has the highest concentration of hotshot Italian and international design boutiques, which you will immediately notice as being straight out of the pages of Vogue. If high fashion is your thing, this is the area to purchase those items for which Italy's designers and clothes manufacturers are rightly famous.

Ideal for shopping – if money is no object, here you can treat yourself to an “it bag” from Salvatore Ferragamo or something precious in one of Tiffany & Co’s iconic pale blue boxes. Or browse at Bulgari, or set down some serious change at Gucci or Chanel. The presence of Jimmy Choo, Church’s and Tod’s ensures footwear fans won't leave empty handed either. Prada and Dior’s alluring displays are usually worth a peek and Louis Vuitton has a mesmerizing digital staircase that attracts selfie takers and Instagram addicts in their numbers.

Otherwise, feel free to join the crowds of window shoppers and admire the always chic (and sometimes rather wacky) displays at one of Rome’s most exclusive retail destinations. Before that, for a small splurge, consider stopping for a cup of coffee at the city’s oldest coffeehouse: Antico Caffe Greco where Goethe, Liszt, Dickens and Picasso had theirs all those years ago (the place is like a history book since 1760!). Prices for standing are quite affordable, while sitting down and ordering from the menu – not so much. In any case, a definite place to feel charm and class oozing from every corner.

At the end of Via dei Condotti is Palazzo Fendi. Part boutique, part art gallery, this five story complex features original sketches and photographs from creative director Karl Lagerfeld as well as artworks and sculptures from around the world.
3
Via del Corso

3) Via del Corso

If you intend to hit the shops big time, whilst in Rome, there’s really no better place than Via del Corso. This bustling thoroughfare, stretching from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo, is packed with stores to the brim. Cutting through the center of Rome, it has the highest concentration of stores for all budgets in the vicinity of historic sights, with the major international brands like Zara, H&M, Massimo Dutti, Pinko and Gap taking up serious real estate.

Those aiming at a slightly higher price-point, may head to the premium stores like Sisley, Miss Sixty or Diesel, while the sporty types call at Nike, Adidas, Puma and Lacoste. For all your beauty needs, visit Sephora, MAC, or Italy’s very own Kiko Cosmetics. If you seek to invest in Italian leather, make a beeline for Gazelle, one of Rome’s most trusted leather goods brands.

There is also a new AS Roma Store open since 2016, and the Galleria Alberto Sordi – a big shopping mall at the center. Alongside flagship superstores here you will find some small family-run shops as well, including true little gems, like the Alfieri Leather store with artisan Made in Italy jackets (Via del Corso 2).

Beware! The boulevard gets incredibly busy, especially at weekends and during sales period, with the crowds sometimes spilling onto the road when the sidewalk is overrun with tourists and the Romans looking for new stuff.
4
Via del Babuino

4) Via del Babuino

Via del Babuino, connecting Piazza di Spagna to Piazza del Popolo, is rich in history and modernity. Among other things, the street is quite popular for its antique and art shops, much as for bars, such as Canova Tadolini caffè that used to be frequented by the likes of Fellini and Guttuso.

Recently, Via del Babuino has been restored in its cobblestone elegance, as part of the Trident project, and made traffic-free for the convenience of multiple of tourists and locals alike. With all the parking lots eliminated and sidewalks widened, it is now particularly good for window shopping. Here, alongside antiquities shops, one can find luxury brands like Armani Jeans, Tiffany, Tory Burch, Gente, Maison Margiela, and Valentino mixed up with the haute couture boutiques such as Sandro, Maje, Brioni, and Compagnia Italiana.

In the course of history the street has changed its name many times. The current name – Via del Babuino – is related to the statue of Silenus, ancient classical deity patron of springs and fountains, that is found in the middle of the street. Cardinal Dezza used to bow in front of it every time he walked by, thus making it very famous. As a drunken follower of the wine god Dionysus, Silenus is depicted ugly and deformed, bald and fat with thick lips and squat nose resembling a monkey; hence the name “Babuino” which is the Romanesco (old Roman Italian dialect) for “baboon”.
5
Via Borgognona

5) Via Borgognona

For a less crowded, more relaxed shopping experience, head to Via Borgognona, running parallel to the famous Via dei Condotti. This quiet, green, cobbled street is lined with upmarket designer fashion houses as well as lesser-known boutiques – perfect for picking up some unique gifts. Here you will find interspersed premiere Italian and international labels such as Emilio Pucci, Moschino, Fratelli Rossetti, Balenciaga, Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, and BlueMarine.

Discerning gentlemen should pay a visit to the chic menswear store Eddy Monetti. Originally founded in 1887, this brand offers sophisticated clothing and accessories. Il Bisonte is a great place for stocking up on leather bags and accessories while Iro’s minimalist menswear, womenswear and accessories styles are perfect for all seasons.

If it's lunchtime, sit down at Ginger, a vibrant health-oriented restaurant renowned for its vegetable dishes, such as creative garden salads and quinoa with goji berries and cucumber, while also catering to meat and fish eaters. Their fruit plates are elegantly served on ice in silver buckets, but do save dessert for macarons at next-door Laudurée.
6
Via Frattina

6) Via Frattina

Via Frattina is a home to numerous stores such as Geox, Brighenti, MaxMara, Stefanel, Falconeri, Trussardi, Swarovski, Pinko, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Polo Ralph Lauren. If it's value-for-money shoes that you're after, check out Andrea Fabiani for a huge selection of really really low price footwear. Some of their shoes are even Made in Italy! It's a bit chaotic there at times, but can be worth it.

On the opposite side of the street sits one of the great Roman fashion houses, Fausto Santini. They make simply gorgeous bags and shoes of matching quality. The shoes fit like gloves and the bags are comfortable to wear – cleverly made so as to be not just beautiful but also practical.

After a long day of shopping, treat yourself to a glass of wine at Enoteca Regionale Palatium, a contemporary wine bar/restaurant that stocks wine exclusively from the Lazio region and serves a variety of well-prepared entree.

Another great place to stop by on via Frattina is the eponymous Bar Frattina, the only one on this street so far. This small neighborhood bar/café serves very good coffee and, literally, superb(!!!) rich, dark chocolate gelato; their walnut gelato is just as fabulous though. The bar is often full of locals which is a good sign. Remember to get your receipt ("scontrino") first, and then go to the counter to order. Also, avoid sitting outside as they charge extra for whatever you may get there.
7
Via dei Coronari

7) Via dei Coronari

Via dei Coronari is one of Rome's most picturesque streets. It houses a few shoe stores and luxury antique shops seemingly thrown in here for a good mix of real Roman shopping experience. Alongside these there are number of small jewelry shops and the artisan perfumery Essenzialmente Laura. Also, if you're a fan of Roman ice cream, you will find a good choice at Gelateria del Teatro.
8
Via del Governo Vecchio

8) Via del Governo Vecchio

Located near Piazza Navona, this cobbled street is the place to come to find unusual items you're not likely to find anywhere else in Rome. Home to several cute wine bars (Cul du Sac and Il Piccolo), Via del Governo Vecchio is packed with lovely shops – old and modern boutiques ranging from reasonable to splurge worthy, plus a good choice of vintage stores as well.

Among the latter are the true vintage treasure troves like Omero & Cecilia offering great value leather and other vintage items; Cinzia – specialized in clothing and homeware from the years gone by; Penny Lane, Civico 93, Arsenico 36 and Kolby (to name but a few) – offering upmarket fashions: leather brogues, stylish knitwear and sharp accessories. Also well-worth perusing, if you're keen on movies, are the shelves at Altroquando, an engaging bookshop specialized in cinema, straddling both sides of the street. Here you can buy screenplays, posters, etc.

A true asset of this street is that it is still unknown to tourists – ideal for a walk without chaos.

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