Shopping Till You’re Dropping – Rome

Via Margutta, Rome, 2012Via Margutta, Rome, 2012

Romans, like most of us, love to shop and I am not talking about window shopping!

Outdoor and weekend markets, upscale clothing, kitchen wares, decorative design and furniture – there is something for everyone.   Via Cavour, Via Condotti, Via Veneto, Via del Corso all great streets for shopping and worth a visit.  One of my favorites, however, is Via Margutta.  A narrow street in the historical center near both the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo.  Sometimes referred to a “the foreigner’s quarter”.  Originally home to craftsman and artisans, workshops and stables, you will now now discover art galleries, restaurants, chic hotels, and boutiques selling decorative arts and clothing.

Beyond Via Margutta there are several special shops that I discovered while living in Rome and would encourage you to visit if you have the time.

Gusto – For the latest in kitchen gadgets.  You can literally spend hours here.  Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 7 

Ditta G. Poggi – Art supplies, fountain pens, paper, inks, etc. Via del Gesù, 74/75

Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio – Amazing homemade chocolates and candies.  Stepping into this shop is like stepping back in time. Via del Pie’ di Marmo, 21/22 

Roscioli Salumeria – A wine bar, delicatessen, bakery, gourmet emporium.  I can’t say enough about the staff or some of the amazing prosciutto including venison.  Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22

Weekend Markets – Rome

Market at top of the Spanish Steps, Rome, 2012
Market at top of the Spanish Steps, Rome, 2012

It took me a few trips to Rome to finally take advantage of the many weekend markets.  Partially because these markets don’t occur in the same place and you have to know the schedule to take advantage of them.  I have listed some of my favorites and by no means are these all of the markets.  I encourage you to share any markets that you have found and enjoy.  Spending a weekend morning wandering the many stalls is one of my favorite activities.  Getting to and from the markets is also a wonderful way to discover new rione of Rome.  A special thanks to my friend at the American Embassy in Rome who guided me to many of these incredible markets!!

Ponte Milvio Market – 1st Sunday of every month.  Located just next to the Ponte Milvio Bridge north of the city.  Accessible by taxi or the # 2 tram from Piazza del Popolo.  This is one of my favorite markets not only due to its location along the river and near the bridge but for the wide array of antiques, old prints, rugs, jewelry, silver, glass, linens, and objet d’art.

Porta Portese Market – Every sunday.  Located next to the old gate Porta Portese in Trestevere this market is HUGE and gets very crowded.  If you are looking for kitchen items, new and used clothing, dvd’s, small electronics, shoes, and knick knacks then you will love this hodge podge of vendors.

Verdi Market – 4th Sunday of every month.  Located near the Borghese Gardens.  This market is not to terribly large and has some very good quality antiques, linens, furniture, rugs, prints, books, housewares, ceramics, silver, and jewelry.   I highly recommend going if you can.

Borghetto Flamino Market – Every Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.  This market charges a nominal entry fee of 1.60 euros.  Antiques, vintage clothing, handcrafted items, vintage signs – postcards – jewelry, unusual items.

Color

View in the GhettoView of a building in the Ghetto, Rome, 2012

We all have our favorites – blues, greens, reds, pinks, oranges, yellows.  No two places seem to have used the same paint but rather are a variation of the other.  Every time I went for a walk I had the pleasure of discovering a new color – even routes travelled every day.   As hard as I might try with the camera to capture the authenticism of the colors in my photographs I felt it was impossible.

Only after I picked up a paintbrush and attempted to paint with watercolor, what was in front of me, did I feel I had a fighting chance to get it right.   If you ever wanted to try something new, artistically, Rome is the place to inspire you – Painting, Photography, Drawing.

My favorite store to visit and browse art supplies is Ditta G. Poggi, located near the Pantheon.  They carry everything you could possibly need or want to be creative. UNLEASH YOUR INNER ARTIST!

Hills with a View – Climb One!

View of the Vatican from the Aventine HillView of the Vatican from Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill, Rome, 2012

Within the ancient walls of Rome are the Seven Hills upon which the city was built – Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinial, and Viminal.  In addition there are many other hills outside the walls of the historic center – Cispian, Janiculium, Monte Mario, Oppian, Pinican, Vatican, and Velian.  All of them offer spectacular views and I encourage anyone visiting Rome to take the time to climb one or more.  One of my favorites is the Aventine.  There you can enjoy one of the best views of the city as well as the church of Santa Sabina, mother church for the order of Dominicans.  I recommend approaching the hill from the north near the Circus Maximus and departing down the hill toward Via Marmorata. Time permitting visit Vopetti and the Protestant Cemetery.  You can spend an entire day in this rione (Ripa)