Unique Souvenirs You Can Only Pick Up In Rome
Souvenirs in Rome are easy to come by. Get within close proximity of any major tourist attraction and you’ll see stalls flogging Colosseum key rings, Italia tea towels, and bags of novelty pasta. You know, the kind of stuff nobody actually wants. Thankfully, there are also artisans, craftsmen, and independent boutiques offering unique gifts and souvenirs to remind you of your time in the Eternal City. Here are some of our favorite souvenirs to buy in Rome and where to find them.
A walk along Via Margutta is like a walk back in time and nowhere is this truer than at La Bottega del Marmoraro. The location is a hole-in-the-wall workshop selling engraved marble plaques, tablets, and statuettes. The tiny shop is filled to bursting with pieces made by marble worker Sandro Fiorentini. Pieces are inscribed with classic Italian and Latin phrases such as ‘la dolce vita’, ‘carpe diem’, and ‘veni, vidi, vici’, as well as jokes and quips using modern slang. Pre-made plaques start at €10 and personalized pieces from €15.
Sandro is one of the last artisans working marble in Rome, we highly recommend a visit to his shop to take with you a truly eternal memory from Rome.
Italy has long been famous for the quality of its leather goods and the sheer range of items on offer. From passport holders and purses to handbags and jackets, there’s usually something for everyone’s price point. For luggage, bags, belts, and wallets in a classic style, we love Mancini, located just a few steps from the Pantheon. This family business has been hand-making accessories for Rome’s well-heeled crowd since 1918. For something a little edgier, head to Saddlers Union on Via Margutta. The brand was originally a hit in the 50s and counted Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn as clients. In 2009, it was revamped and many of the classic designs given a modern makeover. Their signature bucket bag remains a bestseller and is now joined by studded shoulder bags, bright clutches, and monogrammed cuffs and chokers.
No, these aren’t gimmicky garments adorned with an image of His Holiness but the actual socks that the pope wears. As such, they’re made of quality fabric (Cotton Lisle or soft merino wool) and come from the Gammarelli shop, just behind the Pantheon. This family-owned tailor specializes in ecclesiastic clothing and has been dressing popes, cardinals, and bishops since 1798. All kinds of religious garb like cassocks, robes, and skullcaps are available but we think a pair of the pope’s favorite red socks make a great gift for any man, religious or not.
Italian Architectural Jewelry
Established in 2012, Co.Ro. is a gorgeous boutique in the heart of the historic center selling handcrafted jewelry inspired by the architecture of the city. While the idea might sound like a novelty, the owners, both architects, have created a brand that is elegant and original and the pieces sit on the right side of quirky. We love the sterling silver Gasometro cuff, inspired by Ostiense’s iconic industrial landmark. We also love the Square Colosseum pendant, which takes its cue from the Palazzo della Civiltà in EUR.
An original painting or photographic print of Rome’s charming streets makes the perfect holiday memento. You’ll find local artists selling their creations in a number of spots across town. Just around the corner from the Trevi Fountain is the compact but charming Trevimage. This photography shop sells beautiful snapshots of Rome at reasonable prices. Owner and photographer Carlo De Gori is usually on hand to tell the story behind each shot and help customers find a piece they’ll admire for years to come.
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