A Fashion Lover's Guide to Rome
Blackmarket Hall | © Livia Hengel
Italy is synonymous with fashion: la dolce vita, the sweet life, and fare la bella figura, the belief in the importance of making a good impression, are philosophies that are inextricably linked with the Italian way of life. Italians take pride in being well groomed, well dressed and well informed, flocking to pop-up events around town and always staying in the know about the latest hotspot or new restaurant opening. From vintage boutiques and luxury retailers to the city’s chicest rooftop bars and exhibition spaces, we’ve got you covered for a fashionable tour of the Eternal City.
Via del Governo Vecchio
This winding street near Piazza Navona is packed with trendy boutiques, vintage shops and little cafés. Whether you’re looking for handmade jewelry, vintage eyewear, a new leather jacket or some pumps, you’re sure to find treasures. For one-of-a-kind clothes, check out Dafano Omero and Cinzia Vestiti Usati, which are filled to the brim with vintage tees, chic handbags and more. For great basics in tonal shades, Kolby has an extensive menswear collection and a small selection for women, and Nicotra di San Giacomo creates unique hand-woven gold and silver jewelry that is sophisticated but wearable—the perfect accessory to round off your outfit.
Luxury Department Stores
You’ll be hard-pressed to find department stores in Rome’s historic center, as Italians tend to favor personal service over convenience, but la Rinascente is an exception. With locations at Via del Corso and in Piazza Fiume, this upscale retailer has an enormous range of clothes, accessories, beauty products and homewares conveniently located under one roof. Another great bet is the Coin Excelsior on Via Cola di Rienzo in Prati; you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into Harrods or Barneys.
Rome is best known for its colorful farmer’s markets, such as the food and vegetable market that opens every morning in Campo de’ Fiori, but the city has a number of noteworthy clothing and accessory markets, as well. On Saturdays and Sundays, try Mercato Monti, which exhibits a wide variety of clothing, accessories, home items and other knick-knacks. Many items are handcrafted by local artists, though there are some vintage pieces. The Porta Portese flea market is another weekend appoint in the city that takes place on Sundays in Trastevere. You can find a bit of everything at this unique shopping experience.
Eat & Drink
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Located above Fendi’s flagship store in the heart of the posh Tridente neighborhood, Zuma
is everyone’s favorite restaurant and bar to see and be seen. Situated on two floors of the palazzo, including a beautiful roof terrace that overlooks the city, Zuma is an elegant eatery that brings Rome’s beautiful people out to play when the sun goes down. Zuma was founded by chef Rainer Becker who was inspired by izakaya-style casual dining, which features a continuous flow of dishes. You’ll find great food here, along with extensive wine and cocktail lists.
Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, Italian, $$$
has one of the most enviable locations in the city at Piazza di Pietra, where the bar overlooks the ruins of the Temple of Hadrian, making visitors feel as if they’re on the set of an Italian movie. This stylish little “bookbar” has delicious drinks, tasty finger foods and cool music. Mingle with an upscale crowd in the evenings or enjoy a more relaxed ambience in the late afternoons, and be sure to grab a seat behind the sliding glass door to enjoy the vista. In addition to being one of the nicest bars in the city, some consider Salotto 42 to be one of the best bars in the world.
Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
, one of Monti’s newer nightlife hotspots, is a curated labyrinth of rooms, halls and nooks, where you can sip a handcrafted cocktail accompanied by live music that ranges from bossa nova and jazz to New Orleans ragtime and swing. Originally a monastery, the atmosphere here is decidedly vintage and cozy, with well-worn leather armchairs, gilded mirrors and candelabras that cast a warm glow against the exposed brick walls. The original Blackmarket Art Gallery is just down the street on Via Panisperna, and Blackmarket San Lorenzo is a bit farther on Via dei Sardi. The hall strikes a perfect balance between trendy and hip while remaining low-key and relaxed.
Chiostro del Bramante
Chiostro del Bramante is a Renaissance cloister commissioned in 1500 and designed by Donato Bramante. The space is evocative and exudes an aura of grandeur and grande bellezza. The cloister hosts some of the most intriguing exhibitions in the capital, including retrospectives of artists, such as Marc Chagall and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and thematic shows, such as last year’s “Love” exhibit and the upcoming “Enjoy” show. This is one of Rome’s trendiest exhibition spaces, and it brings out crowds on the weekends.
Chiostro del Bramante, Arco della Pace, 5, Rome, Italy, +39 06 68 80 90 35
Cinema, Music Venue, Museum
, the French Academy in Rome, hosts a series of interesting events throughout the year. The villa dates back to 1544 and contains extensive gardens, which fashion-forward Romans enjoy in the summer months, often at the open-air cinema they host each summer, with film screenings every evening. The villa also puts on Villa Aperta, a large electro, pop and rock music festival that welcomes French musicians, such as Air, Metronomy and Klaxons, who play late into the night. The Academy has rotating art exhibitions, lectures and more.