Where to go shopping in Rome: six interesting shops

Rome is a shopping mecca, home to an assortment of quaint centuries-old establishments and quirky new boutiques.

By Angela Locatelli
Published 29 Oct 2021, 06:00 BST, Updated 1 Nov 2021, 10:44 GMT
Visitors and locals alike flock to the many shops and boutiques along Via Condotti.

Visitors and locals alike flock to the many shops and boutiques along Via Condotti.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci

1. Polvere di Tempo 

‘Polvere di tempo’ means ‘dust of time’, and that’s one way to describe what’s on offer at Adrian Rodriguez Cozzani’s workshop. For the past 30 years, the self-defined ‘time artisan’ has been studying and restoring time-measuring instruments that have fallen into disuse, like hourglasses and sundials, with painstaking precision. In his one-of-a-kind store in Trastevere, visitors can also find a range of hand-built, travel-inspired mementos, including geographical maps, compass keychains and reproductions of 15th-century globes. 

2. Massimo Maria Melis

Straddling the border between the Campo Marzio and Ponte neighbourhoods, Via dell’Orso has long been a centre of craftsmanship, and among its artisans is costume designer-turned-goldsmith Massimo Maria Melis. His intricate jewels are an ode to antiquity, moulded with age-old techniques to revive traditional Roman, Etruscan and Greek fashions. For full effect, pendants, rings, brooches and other pieces are even strung with original artefacts, from Roman Empire-era coins and cameos (small relief carvings) to necklace beads, glass and natural stones. 

3. Antica Caciara Trasteverina

This delicatessen has been a Trastevere institution since 1900 (and it’s still run by the same family). Salumi, goat’s cheese, smoked ricotta: the counters are a smorgasbord of artisanal delicacies, ready to be served in a sandwich or vacuum packed for longer trips. Among their handwritten labels, look out for Pecorino Romano DOP, a cheese with protected status that's been produced in the Lazio region since Roman times and is essential for an authentic pasta all’amatriciana

4. Antica Cartotecnica

Half-stationery store, half-museum, Antica Cartotecnica is a treasure trove for lovers of the written word. There are elegant pens and leather notebooks; typewriters and ink bottles; vintage pieces and collector’s items. Located between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, the store first opened in 1930 and still preserves all the elegance of yesteryear with its original walnut furnishings and displays of old-school writing paraphernalia. 

5. Re(f)use

After working for the fashion behemoth founded by her family, Ilaria Venturini Fendi decided to apply her know-how to… waste. She’s the founder of Carmina Campus, a brand that collects end-of-line, vintage or defective fabrics (as well as scraps and off-cuts) and gives them a new lease of life as one-of-a-kind accessories and furniture. Pieces from her collections, plus products created by other designers who work with recycled materials, are on sale at Re(f)use, her store in central Rome. 

6. Marini

For more than a century, this shoemaker has been producing bespoke footwear for a distinguished list of clients that includes Queen Victoria and Robert De Niro. Each elegant pair of shoes is handmade through a painstaking 200-step process and is entirely customisable. Once a wooden cast has been created with personal measurements, it’s archived at the store in the Colonna district for future orders. 

Published in the November 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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