Immerse yourself in a virtual Vogue with a walk along Rome's famous shopping street, passing lavish boutiques and splurge-worthy stores from some of the country’s most prestigious fashion houses.
From the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, Rome is not short on big-ticket tourist attractions. But when it comes to taking a little piece of Italian style back home with you, a spending spree on Via Condotti is a must. Here are six must-visit homegrown haute couture fashion houses just steps away from Millennium Hotels and Resorts’ boutique hotel.
Via Condotti. Photo by NovoaR/CC BY-SA 2.0
Giorgio Armani’s Italian icons
One of the most influential designers of haute couture, expect to find the label’s signature silhouettes and dazzling evening wear for both men and women on show at this coveted Rome address. With several ranges bearing the prestigious Armani name, you’ll find collections aimed at every member of your family. Whatever you opt for, you are guaranteed to walk away with a piece that is inextricably linked to Italian style – after all, it was Giorgio himself who designed the ceremonial Italian flag-bearers’ uniforms for the Winter Olympics in 2006.
Bling from Bulgari
For high-end accessories, it has to be Bulgari’s flagship boutique. The store has been open since 1905 and it recently celebrated the label’s 130th birthday with a sleek refurbishment led by American architect Peter Marino. As you browse the timepieces, jewels and sunglasses – or perhaps even act out your wildest Cinderella dreams in the bridal gallery – you can rest assured you are in appropriately A-list company: Audrey Hepburn was particularly partial to a bit of Bulgari bling.
Gucci channels a golden age
Photo by Achim Hepp/CC BY-SA 2.0
Offering a little slice of history, the Gucci store is situated just seconds from the gorgeous Spanish Steps and is the fashion house’s original Rome boutique that first opened in 1938. This might explain the fabulous decorative touches – from the entrance that channels a Dolce Vita era vibe to the Art Deco glass and gold lampshades. While restoration work has revealed an 18th century vaulted ceiling on the ground floor, the boutique remains cool and contemporary with a team of designers channeling their mentor and ex-creative director Tom Ford’s sophisticated and sexy style cues.
Sky-high shoes at Jimmy Choo
Photo by Maegan Tintari/CC BY 2.0
Elevated to stratospheric fame thanks to Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw’s footwear fandom, this renowned shoe emporium also sells an eye-catching range of leather handbags, such as the office-worthy Riley or glitzy Milla clutch, and scarves in various bold prints. Ditch those boring flats back at your hotel – the Grand Hotel Palace Rome is ideally located for quick shopping bag drop-offs – and strutting back out again in style. Just watch out for those cobblestone streets.
Fashion royalty at Palazzo Fendi
Get a feel for Fendi’s design aesthetic with a visit to Palazzo Fendi towards the end of Via Condotti. Formerly the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the imposing six-storey structure was built as the centrepiece of Mussolini’s new Roman Empire, but remained vacant 75 years after construction. That is, until Fendi decided to take up residence. Today, the cheekily nicknamed ‘square Colosseum’ is the company’s head-office-meets-museum. The house’s archives and fur atelier are located on the lower floor, while an exhibition space on the ground level features art and design installations that are open to the public, alongside a café and bookshop. It’s said Fendi designer Karl Lagerfeld turned to the building when looking for inspiration for a recent collection.
Bags, bags, bags at Prada
Taking over her family’s leather goods business in 1978, designer Miuccia Prada didn’t waste time turning the brand into a fashion powerhouse, and while the company might call Milan home, the Rome store features the same range of iconic handbags and cutting-edge fashion collections. The men’s store is located just down the road at Via Condotti 88/90. Continue a little further for coffee institution Caffè Greco, which has been serving espresso at number 86 since 1760.
Weary from a day of shopping? Cap off the day with a spa treat back at the hotel. Your body will thank you.
For more ideas on what to do in Rome, check out our list of dining spots.