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Rome is one of the best cities for designer shopping in the world. Armani, Dolce and Gabbana, Bulgari and the like line the streets of the city center, tantalizing passerby with their luxurious window displays. But you don’t need to cough up your entire savings to go home with a Prada purse or a Roberto Cavalli blouse. What’s even better than designer? Vintage designer, and Rome has plenty of that as well.
We’ve shared our favorite vintage shops in the past, but we’ve found a few new gems to add to the list. Here are five of the best vintage designer shops in the city, so next time someone compliments your Versace scarf or Valentino dress you can respond with, “Oh this old thing? I got it in Italy.”
Via del Governo Vecchio 35
This shop in the center of the city is literally overflowing with treasures. The owners, an older couple, travel all over Italy to find new and unique goods, and their care is obvious in the collection. Sifting through the layers of clothes you’ll find Emilio Pucci dresses, soft cashmere sweaters, racks of silk blouses and fantastic Gucci bags. If you have something specific in mind, they have tons in storage and will be happy to go through more boxes with you. The woman, like a fabulous grandmother, is always good for fashion advice and a second opinion.
Piazza della Marina, 32
Sundays, 10AM – 7PM
€1.60 entrance fee
Also in the center, just opposite Piazza del Popolo, the Borghetto Flaminio Market is an outdoor vintage and antique market, only open on Sundays. You’ll have to pay to get in, but the €1.60 entry fee is completely worth it. The market isn’t very large or overwhelming, but it’s packed with stalls, so you’re sure to find something you love. You’ll come across racks and racks of clothing, tables of accessories, and even household items. Fendi bags, fur coats and Armani dress shirts fill each stall, and because they’re used, the prices are surprisingly low. The tables of vintage jewelry are worth a stop, if just to marvel at the older costume pieces.
via del Boschetto, 94
With two locations, one in San Lorenzo and one in the trendy Monti neighborhood, King Size Vintage is one of the best-priced vintage stores in the city. It’s small, crowded, and you’ll have to do some digging, but that’s the fun part. Full of men and women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories, it’s hard not to find a gem. High-end designer pieces are reasonably priced, but they also have beautiful unnamed clothes along side the well-known labels.
via dei Serpenti, 141
Also in the Monti neighborhood, this store is the image of what probably comes to mind when you think “vintage.” Evening gloves spill out of old hat boxes, sequined jackets hang in the back, and cowboy shirts and old band t-shirts fill the shelves. It’s like digging through your grandma’s closet, if your grandma happens to have eclectic taste and an eye for exceptional pieces. Make sure to look at the large collection of real leather, worn and soft, yet always classic. They’re constantly getting new products in, so it’s worth stopping back every so often if you’re in the area to check out the new bags and boots.
via di San Francesco a Ripa, 105
If you love designer goods, but can’t stand the often-musty smell of vintage shops, and hate sifting through piles of clothes, then Twice, in the Trastevere neighborhood, is for you. The clothes are vintage, but the shop is fresh and modern, and everything is laid out neatly. Clothes are mostly from the 1960s to 1980s, and include men and women’s shoes, accessories, and clothing. The real designer purses here are a steal compared to what you would pay for new versions in the stores. Think vintage Chanel for €175. If you don’t have too much time to shop on your trip, Twice even has online shopping, which is revolutionary for Rome.