If a city, especially one like Rome, is a great outdoor museum, then shopping is one of the (legitimate) ways of exploring it. Lexically speaking to do the shopping or fare la spesa is a needs based activity, consisting mainly of a long list stuffed into your back pocket (or left at home on the kitchen bench) and a slightly unpleasant haul through the nearest supermarket. Certainly it becomes a more pleasurable experience at an outdoor market, but it still falls under the to do verb category.
To go shopping on the other hand, which in Italian is simply fare shopping with a cute accent on the shopping, implies shoes, clothes and enjoyable things like Italian leather bags. Being as I am a guilt wracked product of my antipodean Catholic upbringing – shopping in Rome can be justified under the heading BUY MORE MADE IN ITALY.
As the main shopping drags Via del Corso and Via Nazionale are clogged with same same International chains, set the map to these smaller streets for local designers and interesting made in Italy.
I’ve broken this list into zones, and list both streets and individual shops. Mid season sales are on NOW, winter sales start after Christmas.
The Butcher, Via di San Francesco a Ripa 16
Verso SUD, Via di San Francesco a Ripa 168
Vintage and current Labels – 2nd hand style – Via Luciano Manara 8
Frankenstein – vintage and current labels – Via San Dorotea, 2
Around Campo de Fiori:
Empressa – via dei Giubbonari, 25-26
Mauro Leone – via del Biscione – gorgeous handmade shoes
Via del Pellegrino – various small boutiques
Via dei Cappellari e Via dei Banchi Vecchi
Banchi 141, Hand made Italian Cermamics, via dei Banchi Vecchi, 141
Borino Franco – via dei Pettinari – unpretentious little shoe store with occasional one offs
Carepina – artisan gelato – via dei Chiavari, 37
Around Piazza Navona / Pantheon:
Via del Governo Vecchio, from vintage bolt holes to boutiques like Josephine de Huertas & Co at n. 68