Rome is the Eternal City and, as such, the list of gift options available here is countless. Whether it’s something edible, drinkable, wearable or pleasing to the eye that you want – you will find it all here in abundance. However, if time or budget is the factor, perhaps you might want to benefit from some insider knowledge and save yourself some effort. If you do, feel free to utilize this guide and steer yourself in the right direction. Enjoy your gift shopping in Rome!
Italy has a great tradition of hand-painted ceramics, and a nice gift can be chosen from a diverse selection of pottery from all over the country, including both traditional and modern pieces. Receiving a piece of hand-made ceramics will make friends and family feel like sharing the Italian lifestyle, appreciated by people with different tastes, habits and traditions. Plates, tea pots, bowls, spoons, jars and glasses, all kinds of objects and colors will be able to bring a piece of the “made in Italy” spontaneous charm. Beautiful pottery coming from many different regions, such as Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily, is made by modern designers who refer to ancient and current Italian traditions, especially representing the countryside daily routine. Prices vary from €5 up to several hundreds of euros.
Tourists in the lookout for such colorful gifts can find them during their visit to the beautiful Piazza Navona, where small shop L’Artigianato, at number 84, sells colorful ceramic pottery and kitchenware from many Italian regions created by some of the most famous local artists. Opening hours are 9.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 8pm, Monday to Saturday; closed on Sundays.Where to find it:L’Artigianato
Address: 84 Piazza Navona
Italy is famous all over the world for its food, but its wine tradition is not less rich. Being one of the biggest wine exporters, Italian reputation is due not only to the big quantities produced, but also to the great variety of types, colors and flavors of wines on offer. Depending on the region, local wines can reach very high quality attained through various techniques used, types of land, and vines, not only local, but also those mixed with international varieties. Near Rome lies a region of Castelli Romani popular for its natural beauty and excellent wines, widely sold in the capital alongside most famous and appreciated wines from other parts of the country, such as Tuscany, Sardinia and Puglia. Experts say, Italian wines are among the world’s finest, being strictly controlled in more than 300 zones officially classified as DOC or DOCG.
A good range of local wines is available at most grocery stores throughout Rome, although for a truly wide selection and aptly given advice, go to a specialized store. One of the most popular wine stores is Buccone at 19-20 Via di Ripetta, just beside Piazza del Popolo. Dating back to 1969, Buccone offers a wide choice of the best Italian wines, such as Nobile di Montepulciano, Tignanello, Morellino di Scanzano, with prices ranging from €20 up to €3600 for a bottle of red wine Brunello di Montalcino of 1964. Opening hours are Monday-Thursday from 9am to 8.30pm; Friday-Saturday from 9am to 11.30pm; Sunday closed.Where to find it:Buccone
Address: 19-20 Via di Ripetta
3. Sweets and Pastries
No meal is properly finished without a combined dessert, and on Italian tables this can hardly be missed. The whole country boasts a great tradition of sweets, pastries, cakes and cookies that can be bought at many bakery shops in the capital, but Rome alone has its own very ancient sweet delicacies and, as such, is the best place to find them. Typical pastries belonging to the old Roman tradition are the famous Pangiallo romano, a sweet made of a mixture of different nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts, combined with honey, raisins and chocolate. Other typically Roman sweets include: Panpepato – a different version of Pangiallo, enriched with chocolate and spices; Mostaccioli – very old recipe that ancient Romans used for weddings; and Torrone romano, also dating back to the ancient Rome, and featuring pistachio, almonds and chocolate.
A great sweet shop where tourists can find pastries of both, ancient Roman tradition and those of other parts of the country, is Valzani. Open since 1925, it is located at 37 a/b Via del Moro in a beautiful Trastevere district, a true must-visit for anyone coming to Rome. Opening hours are 10am to 7pm Wednesday through Sunday; Monday and Tuesday closed.Where to find it:Valzani
Address: 37 a/b Via del Moro
4. Gourmet Food
Italian food is very popular all over the world, and a well-packaged piece of the local culinary tradition can certainly make a great gift from Rome. From flavored olives to pickles to cured meats, tourists can find any kind of gastronomic delight in the Eternal City, nicely packed and easy to carry. Some of the best gifts, apart from artisan pasta and mustard cream, are high-quality balsamic vinegars, usually coming from the northern city of Modena, and delicious specialties made of truffles, such as truffle oil, sauces and flakes used for pasta seasoning. Truffles are a typical Italian delicacy and in certain parts of Northern Italy, such as Piedmont, and in the region of Umbria they are a key ingredient in local dishes. All types of truffles are related to mushrooms and are known as hypogenous fungi. Like mushrooms, truffles have a system of root-like structures, but unlike mushrooms, they never show up on the surface. Truffles can be black and white, and the products based on them are many, from preserved whole truffles to purees to dried pastas to pastes to sauces.
A lovely shop that carries a wide range of truffle-based delicacies and other specialties of Italian culinary (flavored oils, wines, chocolate, artisan pasta and mustard), is Dolce e Non Solo, located at 81 Via Leonina, near Fori Imperiali and the Colosseum. Prices here range from €2 for a candy up to €100 for a bottle of high-quality balsamic vinegar. The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 3.30pm and from 4.30pm to 8pm. Sunday closed.Where to find it:Dolce e Non Solo
Address: 81 Via Leonina
5. Artisan Chocolate
Italy has a long tradition of producing artisan chocolate. Apart from being delicious, it makes for a very nice gift as it comes in a variety of colorful shapes and packages fit to be considered a true form of art. A typical Italian chocolate product is Gianduia, created in 1856 by Caffarel, the oldest Turin-based chocolatier, featuring a mix of hazelnut and chocolate. Famous brands, such as Caffarel, Perugina and Venchi, are always beautifully packaged and ideal for a gift; each of these names is a certain guarantee of high quality. Venchi, in business since 1878, draws on centuries-old Italian recipes using strictly selected ingredients typical to the Italian tradition, such as hazelnut and almond. Be it finely packaged chocolate bars or boxes with small pieces, they all make for a perfect gift and won’t disappoint. Prices vary, depending on quality and weight, from €2 up to €20, with the possibility to create your own basket.
If tourists want to buy freshly-made chocolate, there are many artisan shops in town, such as La Bottega del Cioccolato at 82 Via Leonina, where chocolate is made right on the premises. Among their products you can find typical Roman symbols, such as Colosseum, Pantheon and the Mouth of Truth. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 7.30pm. Sunday closed. Another beautiful shop is Cioccolata Artigianale at 27 Via San Francesco a Ripa, open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am-8pm. This store closes between June 5th and September 5th because temperatures get too high for chocolate at this time of year.Where to find it:La Bottega del Cioccolato
Address: 82 Via Leonina
Operation Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9.30am-7.30pm; Sunday: Closed
Address: 27 Via San Francesco a Ripa
6. Italian Fashion
Admittedly, visitors can buy Italian designer clothing everywhere in the world, but collections vary remarkably. In Rome, a walk along Via dei Condotti, near Piazza di Spagna, is a must for tourists who want to spoil themselves with the most exclusive pieces from all the popular Italian designers. Names like Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Trussardi don’t need any presentation, and between Via dei Condotti and adjacent Via del Corso, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona, all around Piazza di Spagna, it’s possible to find both haute couture and prêt-à-porter, with prices varying from fifty to some thousands of euros, depending on the brand and the piece of choice. All the popular brands have their stores here, from Laura Biagiotti to Giorgio Armani to Alberta Ferretti to Gianfranco Ferré, and it’s certainly not difficult to find a gift to match every taste.
One of the most popular names of the Italian fashion is, of course, Valentino, known for his love of red color and the elegance of his pieces. At number 52 Via dei Condotti sits another big name of the Italian fashion, Dolce & Gabbana, popular for their controversial creations. Opening hours for all stores in the area are from about 9-9.30am to 1pm and 4pm to 7.30pm.Where to find it:Dolce & Gabbana
Address: 52 Via dei Condotti
The role of shoes in attaining a proper Italian stylish look is hard to overestimate. Alongside clothing, Italian style in footwear is unique, particularly if matched by masterly selected dresses, suits or denim. Needless to say that Italian shoes are famous and vastly appreciated all over the world. Stilettos, sandals boots, decollete footwear can equally make or break the look, and this is why the designers tirelessly experiment with styles and colors trying to adapt to every season and occasion. In Rome, you can find all sorts of shoes, both expensive and affordable, from many different brands, including famous ones like Gucci, Casadei and Albano, and little known independent designers, whose creations are less expensive but oftentimes more daring. Still, no matter what price or style it is, a pair of shoes makes a beautiful gift for either male or female. Normally, prices range from €40 to €1300 a pair.
The stores where tourists can find beautiful Italian shoes are scattered all over the city, but if it’s class and elegance that you’re after, explore the surroundings of Piazza di Spagna. For stylish shoes at affordable prices, Albano at 92 Piazza di Spagna is one of the first choices. Prices here range from €115 to €340, with the most expensive of their boots being embellished with Swarovski crystals. The store opens daily from 10.30am-2pm and 3pm-7pm; Saturday open all day. Who doesn’t mind forking out good cash, in Piazza di Spagna there’s also more expensive footwear to be found, e.g. Casadei at number 89 and Sergio Rossi at number 97. Their prices range from about €300 up to over €1000.Where to find it:Albano
Address: 92 Piazza di Spagna
Address: 89 Piazza di Spagna
No outfit is complete without perfect accessories, and bags, wallets, gloves and belts are no less important than shoes. Some of the Italian names for accessories have reached an iconic status, such as Gucci (for their bags). In Rome, it is possible to find both big brands and lesser ones, not as pricey but not less classy. Well-chosen accessories are essential to a woman’s look to such an extent that, sometimes, shoes and accessories have the power to boost an otherwise modest appearance. Although most women won’t hesitate to declare handbags to be their most important accessory, scarves, belts and hats play just as important role. And Italy boast a long tradition in this department as well. Silk scarf is one such garment, essential to any woman’s wardrobe, and Italy produces some of the world’s finest. This and other luxurious decorative adornments are available in Rome in a wide range, delivered by both big brands and small private workshops.
A popular store carrying a great stock of these accessories is Galleria Alberto Sordi. Not far from Piazza di Spagna, at 5/6 Via del Corso, is another good shop, Coccinelle, open every day from 10am to 8pm. Here you can find beautiful handbags at €150-€400, and other accessories for €30-€150.Where to find it:Galleria Alberto Sordi
Address: Piazza Colonna
Along with the designer clothing, a piece of Italian jewelry makes for a very classy and elegant gift. In Rome, you can find with ease some rather expensive, high-end pieces by famous brands, such as Bulgari, as well as creations by local artisans that are less expensive but equally beautiful. Italy has a long tradition of making fine jewelry that has always been part of the Italian chic style, enriching the look of queens, first ladies and women in general all over the world. These are glamorous pieces featuring all kinds of precious materials, from gold and silver to gemstones and pearls, coming up in innovative, elegant limited editions or one-of-a-kind jewels. Prices vary remarkably, depending on the material and the brand name, and range from €50 to €300 for bracelets and necklaces by designers, such as Annamaria Camilli, Pasquale Bruni or Pontevecchio, and upwards of €2000 for Bulgari diamond-based jewelry.
As Bulgari is one of the best-known Italian jewelry brands worldwide, tourists can start their quest for precious gifts right here, at 10 Via dei Condotti. For less expensive but still very fine jewelry, a store worth a stop is Iannetti, at the Galleria Alberto Sordi in Via del Corso, selling both designer pieces by the likes of Annamaria Camilli and Pontevecchio and their own creations.Where to find it:Bulgari
Address: 10 Via dei Condotti
10. Religious Art
Image Courtesy of: faungg’s photosWhether you are a passionate believer or not, you can’t help noticing that Rome is also the capital of Christianity, and around the Vatican City there is obviously no lack of religious shops. While many of them sell cheap souvenirs of little value, there are others where tourists can find truly beautiful pieces of art, such as paintings, decorations or even precious rosary beads that can be well qualified as jewelry. Apart from rosary beads, religious gifts can include statues, cards, pendants, medals, towels, etc. Prices vary, and tourists can buy rosary beads for less then €2 or almost €900, depending on the material (sometimes, gold) and overall quality.
Shops selling religious art are usually found in downtown area, with a higher concentration near the Vatican city. One of the most popular stores is Comandini, at 151 Borgo Pio, open daily from 9am to 6.30pm and Sunday from 9.30am to 1.30pm. At 15 Via del Mascherino, between Saint Peter’s Square and Piazza Risorgimento, is Mango, another religious shop selling all kinds of gifts, from some of the cheapest ones to the most expensive.Where to find it:Comandini
Address: 151 Borgo Pio
Operation Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-6.30pm; Sunday: 9.30am-1.30pm