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The Best in Rome

Rome Shopping: MONTI
contributions by Kelsey Lisle and and Christine D. Elliker

The region of Rome we call Monti, was once the Suburra, the residential area below the city. From Roman times until as recently as the 1940s it was an area of ill-repute, populated by prostitutes. Messalina and Nero are said to have gone there in disguise in search of debauchery. The working class inhabitants of the area spoke their own dialect, Monticiano, a sub-dialect of Romanesco. Today it is one of Rome's most expensive and exciting neighborhoods, stretching from the Colosseum to San Giovanni in Laterano. Relics of several epics stand side-by-side, and tucked among all the history are beautifully restored apartment buildings, chic shops, enoteche and restaurants. It is beautiful by day and magical at night, when you can see the Colosseum lit up from the top of the hill at Via dei Serpenti. Monti gets its names from hills, three of Rome's famous seven: the Viminale, Esquilino and Quirinale all fall within the district.
Shopping Monti is a fascinating experience. Turn almost any corner and you'll find another surprise: boutiques, gourmet stores, home furnishings you won't find anywhere else. The main shopping streets are Via del Boschetto, Via dei Serpenti, Via Leonina, Via Panisperna and the side streets that connect them.

American Apparel
This big and bustling store, a branch of the Los Angeles-based shop, features all natural fiber, made-in-America casual separates for men and women, in a wide range of colors and styles, t-shirts, sweats, leggings, pants, dresses. Perfect for mixing and matching. Pick up a travel wardrobe you can roll into a little duffel bag.
via dei Serpenti 155
tel 06 4898 6737

Area Bzz
Verona-born Davide Bazzerla is the creative artist behind this extraordinary collection. His work is fabric art as much as it is clothing. He cuts and braids and arranges cloth into incredible garments. His work is in the collection of the Museo Galliera in Paris, where in 2002, he was named one of the most creative designers in the world. His clients, he told us, are sophisticated women of thirty-plus years of age, who come from London, Milano, Florence. If you are a woman with a great flair for clothes and tremendous individuality, Bazzeria is the designer for you. Everyone else, stop by the shop — it's like walking through an art gallery.
Via del Boschetto, 3 tel 06 485 743

This shop with a one-letter name sells fashions, accessories and items for the home, all in black (for which the B stands) or white. You'll find great shapes in dresses, coats and separates, wonderful chunky black jewelry, black teapots and candlesticks. There are a few touches of white here and there to set things off and in summer, white is the predominate color.
Piazza Madonna dei Monti, 1 tel 06 478 26335


Art meets footwear in this trendy shop, featuring specially-designed sneakers from Nike, Reebok and New Balance.
via dei Serpenti 96
tel 06 895 33677

Simona pays special care to stocking the shelves of her shop with 100 percent natural health and beauty products many of them from Italian producers ABOCA, Erbolario and Guam. She also carries he hard-to-find San Giovese line of a wine-based products. And this is one of only three places in Rome where you can find the complete Nature Plus line. English, French and German are spoken.
Via del Boschetto 28/a   tel 06 4820816



Le Gallinelle
This small shop sells an intriguing mix of new and vintage clothing and accessories, all put together with great panache. Look for the stylish quilted jackets made from cotton fabric printed in Afghanistan.
Via del Boschetto, 76 tel 06 488 1017

Il Giardino del Te
This sleek and modern space feels as much like an art gallery as it does a shop. On display are more than 120 international teas from Japan to Russia to Sri Lanka, including the rare and precious Chinese white tea and many interesting house blends, as well as a wide selection of all the accoutrements: strainers and tea cups and wonderful tea pots.
via del Boschetto 112/A tel 06 474 6888

God Save the Look
A vintage shop with a great attitude. Clothing and accessories for men and women from the '50s, '60s and '70s.
Via Panisperna, 227A tel 06 482 5211

Handmade clothing and accessories from Argentina. Colorful hand-knit sweaters, skirts and shawls. Appliqued felt pants and skirts, hand-painted leather handbags. Seriously fun shoes.
Via degli Zingari, 62 tel 06 488 2962


The name means "heart" in Japanese, and that's the inspiration for one-of-a-kind hand-made designs, including leather items and fashion-forward dresses. Looks are unique, yet prices are reasonable!
Via del Boschetto 75
tel 06 487 0657

The Milk Bar
New Yorker Kiersten Pilar Miller created this oasis for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, offering sexy yet functional maternity clothing, nursing bras and tops designed for nursing. She also carries items that make motherhood more manageable, such as portable changing tables and fashionably patterned baby slings. Among the brands you'll find here: all-natural Weleda products for mom and baby and Medela products for breast feeding needs. A small salon and garden terrace, furnished with items from the tv series "Sex and the City," provide a nice area for relaxation or feeding baby.
Via San Martino 34 tel tel 06 972 76418

Only Hearts Outlet
The reduced-price haven for this trendy shop, featuring super feminine and luxe designs by American Helen Stuart, including lingerie, shoes, dresses, accessories. Shops in New York, LA, Miami and two other locations in Rome.
via del Boschetto 78
tel 06 454 30993

Pifebo Vintage Shop
Dimly lit, with a funky décor, this vintage shop is stocked with clothes, old records and art pieces. It's a small store, but there's a lot to choose from. Check out the stunning selection of boots and heels.
via dei Serpenti 141

244 Via Panisperna
This bright corner shop has some wonderful contemporary clothing, but it's main attraction is the shoes, really beautiful footwear from high-fashion to highly amusing.
Via Panisperna, 244 tel 06 488 0598

Fabio Picconi
It's fun to browse through this shop, which is crammed full of vintage costume jewelry. We love the bakelite bangle bracelets, and the large rhinestone pins. Perfect for gift-giving.
Via del Boschetto, 148 tel 06 47 41 697

For the acid rockers among us, the shop sells vintage clothing, weird t-shirts and generally groovy stuff for men and women.
Via del Boschetto, 140 tel 06 485 511

Segreti di Donna
The women's clothing here is all embroidered, appliqued, sequined, bejeweled, lace-trimmed or some combination of the above. All very much of the moment and very well-priced.
Via dei Serpenti, 102/103 tel. 06 454 916089

Hand-crafted accessories and jewelry from the Middle East and Asia, including a wide variety of eccentric and beautiful pieces.
via dei Serpenti 77
tel 06 489 07427

Spazio Artigiano
Owner Cristina Venezia has assembled a treasure trove of hand-crafted items, including a great selection of Sicilian ceramics, hand-loomed textiles, reverse glass paintings from Romania, handmade scraves, jewelry, handbags, blown glass. Just a block from via Nazionale, but away from the bustling traffic. This is the best shop in Rome for unique gifts and those special touches for your home decor. In the New York Times, the shop was listed as one of the best places to find gifts under €100: "...an array of handmade items, with a specialty in Italian ceramics. Furniture lines the interior walls of the shop, displaying simple glazed pitchers from Le Marche, elaborate painted terracotta heads from Sicily and delicate porcelain from Venice. There are a handful of objects from the owner Cristina Venezia’s native Romania, as well: hand-painted Easter eggs in the spring and naive religious paintings on stained glass year-round.
Vicolo dei Serpenti 13 tel 06 48 24860



Tina Sondergard
Danish ex-patriot Tina Sondergard's shop is a miracle. She makes all the garments to measure, using beautiful, unusual fabrics, and she charges less than you'd pay off the rack. For example, an impeccably made wool coat will cost little more than €300. Dresses, skirts, jackets, trousers, all very original and very well-made. Run, do not walk.
Via del Boschetto, 1/d tel. 334 385 0799


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