Hanging out in Rome
I have been visiting Rome since I was a teenager. The hustle and bustle and constant energy of the city keeps you on your toes and your senses occupied. To this day, Rome never fails to draw me in.
There is something irresistible about the potential treasures to be found and new wonders to be experienced around every corner. So it will come as no surprise that the centre of Rome is best explored on foot. Albeit not particularly easy to navigate, and I am quite sure many a relationship has turned to dust in this pursuit.
I have travelled a lot throughout Italy yet the Romans remain my favourite people to watch. I love their simplistic elegant style and the way they act with a thriving and unapologetic air of self-confidence. Their almost-arrogance should be off-putting, but in fact I deeply admire it. They walk with a commanding swagger 2000 years in the making. I respect that.
After only 24 hours in the Eternal City, I find myself crossing the road like a Roman, eating and drinking like a Roman and generally living the dream. When you can get an espresso for 90 Euro cents… this is the pinnacle of living.
Here are my picks for some of the best food and drink in Rome:
- Food: Il Viaggio – Via Isonzo, 14 – True Roman food. Delicious, seasonal menu. Extensive gluten free options.
- Drink: Club Derriere – Vicolo delle Coppelle, 59 – If you can find it, it’s worth it. Gorgeous interior. Unmarked location. Cracking cocktail menu.
- Coffee and gelato: Giolitti – Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40 – old school Italian Café. Brilliant coffee. More gelato and biscotti than you could ever need.
Vintage shopping in Rome
2000 years of practice makes for a striking city. Impressive architecture at every turn, great food to eat, expressive public discourse, and something to satisfy every fashion hedonist. There is something for everyone. Whether you are looking for the high-end haunts along Via Condotti, the artisan boutiques by the river, the outlets in the Vatican city, or fossicking around vintage shops by Santa Maria Maggiore. The Romans have style down to a fine art so it is not hard to find ‘the good stuff’ in fashion, regardless of your definition of ‘the good stuff’.
Here are the boss lady’s picks for some of the best vintage haunts in Rome:
Babastyles – Via del Cancello, 21
Located in a quiet ivy covered lane near the Tiber river, this store offers a great range of preloved luxury ladies’ clothes, bags and accessories from the 1990’s onwards. There is plenty of Chanel, Louis Vuitton and YSL as well as a range of lesser known (but equally elegant) Italian designers. All items are in very good preloved condition and are reasonably priced. The store is well curated. The collection is elegant, interesting and relevant. Service is excellent. Most definitely worth a visit for anyone on the hunt for preloved luxury fashion.
The boss lady’s pick: A Dolce & Gabbana high waisted full length skirt with full length press stud closures and a floral lining (mid-90s) which is now part of the daily luxe collection.
Moll Flanders. Via Urbana, 132
Via Urbana has improved since my last visit in 2008. And the whole street has gone from dingy to trendy. I was pleasantly surprised.
Moll Flanders carries the most current range of preloved luxury fashion, including plenty of menswear. And it has two rules 1) no Hermes and 2) no granny vintage. This made me giggle.
The store itself is ultra modern and well appointed. There is a great range of clothes, bags and shoes from all the top international designers (except Hermes, obviously). The owner, Matteo, is a bit reserved at first but is super kind and stylish. The prices are quite reasonable considering the condition of the goods. Definitely worth a visit if you are looking for more recent preloved luxury goods.
The boss lady’s pick: A Metallic silver Salvatore Ferragamo clutch which is now part of the daily luxe collection.
Blue Goose. Via del Borscetto, 4
Situated in a quieter part of Centro, Blue Goose offers a great range of mid to high-end preloved clothes, bags and accessories. There are appearances by Louboutin, Valentino, Fendi and others.
The collection is quite varied and items are in great condition. Prices are very reasonable and the owner, Rossella, was so friendly and knowledgeable. I can’t wait to go back.
The boss lady pick: Pink snakeskin Valentino Couture heels. Too bad the boss lady isn’t a size 37. Instead, I came across a stunning 1980s Ungaro leather jacket, and needless to say, it is now part of the daily luxe collection.
Vintachic. Via Leccosa, 2
I love a dedicated vintage store, and this one is dedicated to over 100 years of formal and bridal wear. The store itself is a vintage treasure trove and I found myself wondering around it for ages. Aside from the bags, shoes and hats, Vintachic has over 300 vintage wedding dresses. And they are all for sale. Service is 24-carat in this store. The owner, Esterita, has a wealth of knowledge in period fashion as well as fabrics, and styles, and is very helpful and welcoming.
While there are some of the luxury brands we know and love, such as Hermes, Chanel and Versace, most of the collection is made up of couture bridal pieces. Quality is exceptional. This place is definitely worth a visit if you are into high quality vintage fashion, or just want to go back in time for a few moments.
The boss lady’s pick: A stunning beaded evening dress from the 1940s. It weighed a tonne but the detail and style was beyond breathtaking.
Ciao Vintage. Via del Governo Vecchio, 71
This store is peak luxury. Vintage Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel are nestled amongst the furniture and artwork in this classic antique store.
This store has a range of vintage luxury goods but specializes in rare, retired and one-off items. In addition to the luxury brands we know and love, they also have a variety of stunning Italian made crocodile and ostrich leather handbags and small leather goods. It is a great place if you love exotics. All items are in great condition.
The gentlemen who run this store are just that – absolute gentleman. They are knowledgeable, discerning, and have an eye for exceptional pieces. Worth visiting particularly if you’re looking for a limited edition or unique luxury item.
The boss lady’s pick: A Rolex ladies’ mini gold watch from the 1920s.
Cecelia e Omero. Via del Governo Vecchio, 110
This store is down the road from Ciao Vintage but is a paradoxical experience in vintage luxury.
This store is stacked with vintage travel bags, doctor’s bags, leather jackets and shoes from a range of Italian and international designers. It is dusty and crowded but is a fossickers dream. The owner is reserved and sat inside with a cigarette pursed in her lips as she fixed the stitching on a handbag. This store is quintessentially Roman in style and sense. I enjoyed it immensely; I got lost in there for a good long while.
The quality of the items varies a little, but most things are in good condition. Prices are reasonable.
The boss lady pick: Croc embossed leather vintage travel bag with brass hardware by The Bridge.
Cinza. Via del Governo Vecchio, 45
If you are looking for a vintage faux leather jumpsuit or pointy bras from the 1950s – this is the place for you.
It is more vintage than luxury but it gives a good solid nod to pop culture, vintage trends and all the oddity which accompanies creativity. There are plenty of rare and obscure pieces to pique your interest and most things are in good condition. Prices are very reasonable. Cheap even. Parts of the store contain the owner’s own personal collection. And being a collector myself, I enjoyed that jaunt through fashion obscurity.
Service is wonderful. It was a very relaxing shopping experience.
The boss lady choice: A Valentino black cashmere coat. Unfortunately, it was too heavy for the Australian winter.
Vesti di Messalina. Via Leonina, 24
Fun fact: Messalina was mother to the Emperor Nero.
This store is an American biker themed vintage store stocked with Doc Martens, denim jeans and leather jackets. There is not much in the way of branded luxury goods but there was plenty of D&G, Ralph Lauren and Moschino Jeans amongst the racks. That being said, the stock is good quality and in good condition. My favourite part of the store was the rack full of Italian made leather jackets. Honestly, I could’ve bought a pile of them, but managed to limit myself to only buying two. Unlike most other stores, this store has a plethora of menswear.
And everything is cheap. Super cheap. One thing to note, they only take cash. Thankfully there is an ATM up the street.
The boss lady’s pick: A Christian Dior denim jacket for 65 Euro.