By Samantha Collins in Rome–
Whether you are seeking designer dresses or cheap chic, Rome has some of the best places to shop in Italy. The names of Italy’s finest designers sit alongside independent boutiques and market stalls as shopping in Rome caters to every budget.
Here is my “Top Five” guide to the best places to go whether you are looking for Prada shoes or a flea market bargain.
1. Via Condotti and the Spanish Steps
This is the home of Rome’s designer shopping area and where you will find Prada next to Armani with a sprinkling of Gucci. The shops that line Via Condotti entice your credit card out of hiding with their glittering window displays. Take time also for people watching, as this is the haunt of any celebrity in town worth their Hermes bag. And even if this is way out of your budget, remember it costs nothing to go in and unfold things.
2. Via Cola di Rienzo
This busy shopping street just behind Castle St. Angelo is home to mid-price shops with a mix of designer boutiques and high street chains. Look out for Brandy, a teenage basement clothes shop that is almost hidden below street level. COIN, one of Rome’s few department stores is a great place to spend an hour or two browsing.
For a bite, check out “Castroni,” a delicatessen that sells not only a fantastic range of Italian delicacies but also stocks international food. It’s the only place in Rome where you can buy peanut butter or baked beans! (Metro A, Lepanto or Ottiviano)
3. Via del Corso
This long narrow street is at the heart of Rome’s historic centre running from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo and a short walk from the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. During the evenings, the street is packed with shoppers. Wander around the mix of high street stores like H&M, Mango, Diesel, Levis, and Zara mixed with small designer boutiques, bookstores, and the elegant Galleria Alberto Soldi shopping centre.
4. Porto Portese Flea Market
Held every Sunday morning, this is the largest market in Rome and the place to come for a bargain. With a mix of second hand and new goods, food, antiques, and general bric-a-brac, spare at least a couple of hours to browse the endless rows of stalls.
Getting there: Tram 8 Largo Argentina to Trastevere Station – then about a five minute walk to Via Ippolito Nievo. Follow the crowds.
5. EurRoma2 and Castello Romano Outlet
Euroma2 is a newly-opened shopping centre in the EUR area of Rome spread over three floors in an elegant temple style with ornate glass domes. Chain stores and designer shopping sit alongside coffee shops and restaurants catering to all budgets. This is a good place to come during summer as it’s air-conditioned and all indoors.
Getting there: Take the Metro to EUR Palasport Metro Line B and then take the free shuttle bus that stops just outside, a journey of around 10 minutes.
Castello Romano is a designer outlet village, part of the McArthur Glen chain, around 15km south of Rome. Designer discounts housed in a mock ancient Roman village, brands here include Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabanna, and Roberto Cavalli.
Getting there: There is a bus service to the outlet that operates from EUR FERMI Metro Line B and there is a private shuttle that can be booked at most hotel receptions.