Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So, with that in mind, you’ll undoubtedly return home with hundreds of keepsake photos from your trip. What if you want to bring back an actual piece of the city? Skip the tacky souvenir shops stocked with Vespa magnets, replicas of ancient sites and phallic pasta shapes and bring back something truly original from the city. Local artisans are continuing to keep Italian traditions alive, from inspired jewelry and quality leather products to artistic ceramics and handmade clergy attire.
1. Engraved Marble Tablets
Lying on picturesque Via Margutta, a street famed for its art galleries and artisan workshops, is La Bottega del Marmoraro, a quaint little shop run by marble worker Enrico Fiorentini. You can choose from marble tablets hanging in the shop already etched with a variety of different Latin and Italian inscriptions (“Carpe Diem”, “In Vino Veritas”) or create a customized slab with a phrase of your choice, starting at €15 for small tablets. The typography recalls ancient script and makes for a truly unique keepsake of the city.
When in #Rome stop at La Bottega del Marmoraro in the suggestive #viamargutta, close to our #hotel. A tiny shop plenty of small marble plaques where Enrico Fiorentini, the owner, will chisel any words you want into a piece of #marble #eternalcity #seetoshare #mypassionpassport #volgoroma #romeandyou
2. Pope Francis’s Favorite Socks
It can be hard to buy gifts for the men in your life but when in Rome, take a cue from the clergy and pay a visit to Gammarelli. This institution has been outfitting priests, bishops and cardinals for over 200 years and is a favorite store of Pope Francis. Naturally Gammarelli sells plenty of religious attire but it also produces top-of-the-line accessories such as gloves, belts, scarves and socks. So if you’re struggling to find the perfect souvenir for your father-in-law, a pair of the pope’s favorite socks are a great conversation starter.
3. Architecturally-Inspired Jewelry
Co.Ro. is a jewelry boutique created by two young Roman architects who create beautiful bijoux inspired by the city’s rationalist architecture history. Entirely handmade, genuinely original and extremely wearable, these unique pieces pay ode to structures in Rome such as the gasometer in Ostiense, the “square Colosseum” Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in EUR and the Palazzetto dello Sport in Flaminio. For art you can don around your neck and on your hands, Co.Ro. has got you covered.
Co.Ro.: Via dei Capocci 97, Rome, Italy, +39 06 4893 0454
4. Mesmerizing Time-Keeping Objects
Filled with astrolabs, telescopes, globes and hourglasses, this whimsical boutique makes you feel like you’ve stepped through to another time (or realm). Polvere di Tempo, the dust of time, is an enchanting shop run by the passionate Argentine-born Adrian Rodriguez, a kind and wise man who resembles the Alchemist and who is passionate about the concept of time and our place in the universe. From bound leather journals and sealing wax stamps to compasses and sundials, these gifts are perfect for your anachronistic and curiousity-inclined friends.
5. Artistic Ceramics and Glass Works
Studio Forme is a restoration studio and workshop that produces gorgeous items made out of glass and ceramic. Its artisans work on national restoration projects around the country, restoring everything from frescoes and stained glass windows to marble and stucco elements, so you know they are masters at working a variety of different materials. In the shop, you’ll find imaginative vases, candelabras, dishes and random objects that are original yet timeless. If you’re a fan of playful accents and pops of color, you’ll surely find something to your liking in the store.
6. Italian Meats and Cheeses
Italy is known for its culinary excellence so why not take home some quality food products to recreate authentic Italian food at home? A treasure trove for foodies, Volpetti will make your mouth water with its enormous and fragrant selection of quality meats, cheeses and other food items. Located in Testaccio, where Roman cuisine was born, it stocks everything from salami infused with Barolo wine to pecorino cheese with truffle and aged balsamic vinegar. You can try samples of many of the foods and have your purchases vacuum-packed and bubble-wrapped for the trip home.
Volpetti: Via Marmorata 47, Rome, Italy, +30 06 574 2352
7. Quality Leather Goods
Most people want to buy leather products while they’re in Italy. If this is the case on your trip to Rome, check out the historic Mancini leather goods shop, just around the corner from the Pantheon.
In business since 1918, Mancini is a family-run business that continues to produce all of its products by hand. The aesthetics lean towards classic and you can still find a wide range of luggage and briefcases in stock, the shop’s original claims to fame. Come here for purses, belts and wallets.