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When it comes to sprezzatura – basically, looking good without looking like you’ve tried too hard – Italians have got it nailed. While Milan is Italy’s official fashion capital, Rome can more than hold its own as a sartorial hub. So, if you’re planning a trip to the Eternal City, here are the essential spots to make sure you look as effortlessly cool as the locals do.
First things first, a gentleman must be well-groomed. For the ultimate in old-school styling, head to the Max&Jò Barber Shop near Campo de’ Fiori. This retro salon offers a range of traditional treatments including bad-barnet-transforming classic cuts, ritualistic cut-throat shaves and luxurious beard and moustache styling. All finished with the finest products from brands like Acqua di Parma, American Crew and Proraso.
Max&Jò Barber Shop, Via dei Cartari, 10, Rome, Italy, +39 06 6813 6095
While designer labels are easy to come by in Rome, made-to-measure garments put together by accomplished tailors are truly synonymous with understated Italian style. Sartoria Gallo has been running up elegant shirts, jackets and trousers since 1960, dressing a number of politicans, actors and international celebrities in the process. Each suit takes 60 hours of work, requires three metres of fabric, 10 cuts and 25,000 stitches. Stop by to be measured for one of their famous ‘travel jackets’. Made from just 300g of fabric, it’s the lightest jacket in the world and ideal for the hot Roman summer.
Sartoria Gallo, Via Flavia, 45, 00187 Rome, Italy, + 39 06 481 8650
A new suit needs new shoes, and Rome is not short of places to find stylish footwear. The Marini family has been handcrafting bespoke shoes since 1899, and the wooden lasts (replicas of the foot) used to craft shoes for some of their most famous clients, such as Robert De Niro and Gregory Peck, hang from the shop ceiling. Marini Calzature requires two store visits to create a bespoke pair of shoes, but for something straight out the box head to Tod’s, creator of the iconic Gommino shoe. With a rubber pebble sole for optimal grip, the Gommino is specifically designed for driving and is a subtle way to show off your status as a sports car owner.
Marini Calzature, Via Francesco Crispi, 97, 00187 Rome, Italy, +39 06 679 3858
Tod’s Boutique, Via dei Condotti, 53/A, 00187 Rome, Italy, +39 06 699 1089
In Piazza San Silvestro, just a few steps from the Trevi Fountain, is the historic store of Bedetti. The brand was founded in 1882 by Antonio Bedetti (who also contributed to the design of the water clock on the Pincian Hill) and in the 1930s, began its long and prestigious relationship with Rolex. With the range expanding in the ’50s to include other Swiss watchmakers such as Tag Heuer and Breitling, Bedetti soon became Rome’s leading boutique for quality timepieces. In the ’60s, at the height of la dolce vita, stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti could be seen browsing the timepieces and later, jewellery, on display.
Bedetti, Piazza di S.Silvestro, 9/12, 00187 Rome, Italy, +39 06 679 7941
Located on the ivy-draped Via Margutta, Saddlers Union specialises in handcrafted, high-quality leather goods. Their signature bucket bag and classic weekend bags have been joined by newer, more contemporary designs in a variety of leathers and exotic skins, as well as iPad cases, laptop bags and a line of edgy leather jewellery. Personalise your item by changing up the handle, strap or adding your very own monogram.
Saddlers Union, Via Margutta, 11, 00187 Rome, Italy, +39 06 3212 0237