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The Best in Rome

Rome Shopping: PIAZZA NAVONA
contributor Christine D. Elliker


Piazza Navona

G
round zero for shopping in this part of Rome is the Via del Governo Vecchio, an ancient walking street, which runs from Piazza Pasquino just behind Piazza Navona, to the Piazza Orologio near the Castel St. Angelo bridge. It has become a haven of trendy boutiques, cafés and restaurants, catering to locals and tourists alike. For the most part, the shops are not cheap. (Apartments in this area sell for a small fortune.) What you'll find instead is a great deal of style, items you might not see anywhere else, the creations of Italian designers, some of them not so well known. Best of all are the shops that offer an eclectic mix of things, which somehow all work together, a reflection of the owner's eye. But beware of attitude, the shopkeepers have plenty of it!






Agau

This modern boutique is like a candy shop of unique jewelry — everything is irresistible. The handmade necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings are fun yet elegant. Pick from bright and joyous colors like teal and candy apple red. The jewelry is separated by season, and prices are reasonable, with earrings starting at 50 euro.
Via Di Parione, 30 tel. 06 68892392


Massimo Alba

The designer, who was the former creative director of cashmere labels such as Malo and Ballantyne, now creating luxury sportswear for men and women, all decidedly "Made in Italy." The new Rome store is housed on two floors of the 16th-century Palazzo Lancellotti.
Via dei Coronari 203 tel 06 683 08737

Alchemilla-Mate
This spa-like store specializes in gorgeous floral design for special occasions, and also offers a huge variety of handmade soaps and perfumes as well as small items for home and garden décor on two floors, each with a unique design and theme. Even if you don’t plan on making a purchase, stop by for a relaxing experience.
Via Del Governo Vecchio 15/16 tel. 06 687 1163

Arlette
The shop specializes in
laid-back fashions from the Tuscan collection Bottega di Brunella, roomy and comfortable clothes made from natural fibers. For fall/winter the look is creatively-styled knitwear. In spring/summer look for their lush linens. The store also presents one-of-a-kind jewelry by Francesca Corradini, and the Brunella line’s infant wear, as well as men’s oversized shirts and free-form pants.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 49 tel. 06 688 06837

Arsenale
Large and stylish, the shop stocks a selection of amazing hats and shoes as well as fashions by owner Patrizia Pieroni, which tend toward the ample and flowing. A good source for an unusual wedding dress or formal gown as well as a unique piece to add to your everyday wardrobe. Expensive.
Via Governo Vecchio, 63 tel 06 686 1380


L'Artiginato
Right in the center square of Piazza Navona, this shop offers unique treasures to bring back home with an immense collection of trinkets, glassware from Alessi, and artwork from Rome, as well as a small selection of classic Roman souvenirs.
Piazza Navona, 84 tel. 06 6864 198

L’una e L’Altra
Specializing in cutting-edge fashion, this is the shop in Rome to find designs by Dries van Noten, as well as a fair sampling of Issye Miyake, Martin Margiela, and Italian designers Zucca and Faliero Sarli. The ambience matches the spirit of the clothing and clients get the sort of personal attention that attracts celebrities and the super chic.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 105 tel 06 688 04995

Josephine de Huertas & Co
This is own of three boutiques owned by French designer de Huertas, French designer, and Italian designer Mauro Crachi, offering high quality tops, dresses and jackets for the sophisticated woman. Go further down Via del Governo Vecchio and find the second boutique, a larger shop, intended for young women with a strong sense of French style. Just around the corner you’ll find their third boutique, which is a concept store for young children.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 68 tel. 06 6876586

Mado
The owner, a Colette look-alike, holds court on a velvet couch at one end of her fun, funky shop, stocked with hard-to-find vintage Japanese kimonos, as well as designer clothes from the ‘60s and before, vintage and vintage-look jewelry, hats and other accessories. Check out the bargain rack at the front of the store, where a handful of items can be had for as low as five euro each.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 89/a tel 06 687 5028

Maga Morgana
Maga Morgana’s two shops cater to a diverse clientele. At number 27, she sells cottons, knits, ethnic looks and vintage t-shirts, a casual, funky and colorful mix. Her other store, down the street at number 98, is a different sort of fantasy altogether. There you’ll find the most feminine frocks imaginable, many with a vintage Room with a View feeling. And in the back of the shop, a bride’s fantasy selection of gowns, one more spectacular than the next.
Via Del Governo Vecchio 27 and 98 tel 06 687 9995

Mercurio
You’ll feel like you just walked into the dressing room of an old Hollywood star. The shop compliments its chic ambience with vintage-style shoes, tops, and jewelry. Find handcrafted fashions from France, Italy and England. Items are pricey but flawless in quality and beauty.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 32 tel. 06 686 5994


Poems
You'll find rocker-chic fashion for women, in this dimly-lit shop. The indie background music may inspire your creativity in choosing an ensemble from Poems’ selection of funky patterns and floral prints on tops, skirts and dresses. To complete the look, check out the cute flats and heels, as well as their colorful totes.
Via del Governo Vecchio 10, tel. 06 685 83900

SBU (Strategic Business Unit)
For the man in search of a really cool python belt, perfectly-cut narrow jeans, cowboy boots or simple shirts in great colors and some of the funkiest printed t-shirts in town.
Via S. Pantaleo 68-69 tel 06 688 2547 Outlet store in Salario at Via Chiana 73-76

Tempi Moderni
Vintage and vintage-look ties, printed shirts, bakelite jewelry, glorious kitsch from the ‘20s to the ‘50s .
Via del Governo Vecchio 107

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In Rome Now Travel Guide: Shopping in Rome, Italy