Tacky tchochke shops, like the one above, clutter up every street and every corner around the tourist hot spots and they all carry the same junk: ‘David' key chains; glow-in-the-dark Virgins; plastic Pietas; lurid, mass-produced Venetian masks (wrong city, folks); Colosseum ashtrays; the Pope slapped on everything from tea towels to fridge magnets.
C’mon, are you really gonna use any of this stuff when you get home? Didn’t think so.
Consider these instead:
• Leather goods: Italy is known for leather and nice gloves or a wallet won’t add weight to your suitcase. Please, please don’t buy the knockoffs of designer labels hawked in the streets, OK? It’s illegal to produce/sell those and there are plenty of reasonable, legitimate leather goods to be found.
• Scarves: light, easy to pack, and available in tons of colors and fabrics
• Ceramics: hand-painted kitchenware is an Italian tradition. Larger items can usually can be shipped.
• Books: nice picture guidebooks from the gift shops of museums you visit - especially those which do not allow photos - are great keepsakes when you get home
• Music: CD's offered by street musicians you may have enjoyed
• Art: a small drawing or watercolor piece from a street artist
• Italian soccer or bike jerseys: also lightweight and packable, fans of the sports will love them
• T-shirts: not a thing wrong with one if you’ll wear it later. Choose well-made products with images of your favorite attractions
• Biscotti or amaretti cookies, liquorice or other wrapped, Italian sweets. Also dried pasta.
• We always pick up a Christmas ornament when we travel to a new destination. Putting up the 'Travel Tree' is an event at our house that brings back lots of great memories.
As expected for a tourist city like Rome there are countless of souvenir stores all over the city center with the typical magnets, postcards etc We liked some small magnets with pinocchio
At Piazza Navona there was a big Christmas bazaar with many colorful souvenirs (pic 1) but also many street artists were selling watercolor paintings. We also saw similar paintings (plus some oil paintings) at Piazza di Spagna where they were also people that can draw a big caricature of you.
If you visit La Bocca della Verita don’t miss the man that sells some unique small flutes that have the shape of Bocca della Verita (pic 2)! And they cost only 5 euros! Great!
We loved this shop! It’s a store full of wooden items, small games, dolls and of course some beautiful Pinocchios in many different sizes. We liked the quality (comparing to other similar stores we checked) and we bought a medium size Pinocchio with a beautiful wooden chair.
The place is ideal for gifts, most of the items are nicely carved and the variety is huge, even if you don’t have a lot of money you can buy a small item.
Stepping into this shop is like being transported into Pinocchio's world. The shop has toys, games, whatnots such as wall clocks, name plates, refrigerator magnets all finely carved. We are transported into old Gepetto's shop, albeit with a modern touch (a video showing the master craftsman-owner at work), on the left entrance of the shop where we see an array of tools that are used for the creation of these beautiful pieces of work.
Impressive are the displays of car, and a lifesized motorcycle on the door. It is a shop where everybody will feel like a child again, and it was a place I felt I could easily spend hours in...just admiring and touching objects that evoke memories of childhood.
This shop is busy, a lot of people come in, but service is also quick. A funny detail was a framed letter from Mrs. Obama thanking Bartolucci (i think the shop carries his name) for the wonderful time her daughters had in the shop in their recent visit. It could have been a simple photo of a couple of young girls anywhere, except for those secret service agents surrounding them!
On one side of the shop is a small hole trying to replicate a shop where tourists could go in and take photos of themselves.
What to buy: Woodcraft souvenirs -- everything is beautiful! Lovely as gifts...
The shop is located on the second floor of the Colosseum. It's a nice shop because you can buy books and other souvenir items.
Make time to just look around and check out all the materials the shop has.
What to buy: There are many things to buy here, but mostly souvenir items like key chains, refrigerator magnets, books, vases, pens, etc.
What to pay: Depending on what you buy. I bought a bookmark for 2.99 euros.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
— Michelangelo (1475-1564)
For a wide variety of marble objects, Marmi Line offers three locations in central Rome. These works in marble are mesmerizing. The detail and polish of each item shows off the skill and craftsmanship that Italians have been known for since before the Caesars ruled the Roman Empire.
Unlike the handwork that Michelangelo used to create his David, the items for sale here were largely created with power tools. A looping video in the shop near the Pantheon shows how the process begins in the marble quarries and continues to the workshop using modern electric-powered tools for cutting, chiseling, grinding, sanding and polishing.
Do not let these up-to-date techniques stop you from buying some of these beautiful dishes, bowls, lamp bases or decorative items. We bought two fruit compotes and some marble fruit. The Bosc pear is remarkably life-like, until you pick up this piece of ‘fruit.’
What to buy: Whatever suits your fancy, but remember marble is heavy!
Piazza Navona is a great spot to stop in and buy some art pieces. There is a large variety of watercolor paintings and oil paintings. The prices are usually displayed, but you can negotiate if you buy more than 1 painting from the same artist.
We got some really nice watercolor paintings and also an oil painting from here. Make sure you negotiate the price especially if you buy more than 1 piece from the same artist.
What to buy: watercolor and oil paintings
What to pay: 8 Euros per watercolor painting (if you buy more than 2 from the same artist); 75 Euros per oil painting (original asking price 100 Euros)
We found a wonderful little outside vendor just down the street from Trevi Fountain. She had a wonderful display of jewelry, specifically amber. I found some beautiful pieces for very reasonable prices. For example, I found several beautiful amber necklaces (actually they were the sliders but if you negotiate she will include the chains for free) and the cost ranged from 10-15 Euros each. Up the street there was a jewelry shop that had the same pieces for 30+ Euros each.
What to buy:
At the top of the Spanish Steps are many local artists selling everything from caricatures to huge oil paintings. These paintings are great alternatives to overpriced souvenirs.
The cheapest tend to be small watercolor paintings, but the best deals are on the oil paintings. The subject matter of the paintings are really diverse, from landscapes, Roman attractions, to florals and imitations of the Mona Lisa and Sistine Chapel.
Just remember to make sure you have room in your luggage because shipping art from Italy is difficult and expensive.
What to pay: For a small watercolor painting, depending on the painter and the subject matter, can sell for as low as 5 Euros to a maximum of 10 Euros.
The price of an oil painting is harder to determine, because it really does depend on the seller and the actual quality of the work.
But just keep in mind, the first price quoted is always negotiable! :)
Best place to buy souvenirs will be the booths on the side streets of main tourist areas.
A nice t-shirt 5 Euros.
When looking at prices be aware that the shirt may look the same but you will find differences in the silk screen compared to embroidery as well as the type of material.
Purchase one size larger than you wear in the US.
CASA DEL ROSARIO
Rome is full of souvenir sellers - shops galore and the constant stream of illegal pests selling anything.
It's refreshing to walk into a shop well laid out with friendly staff who hand the customer a metal tray to place their purchases onto. Row upon row of religious memorabilia in 2 rooms - and that's not all. They have a great range of general souvenirs of Rome at prices that seem to be at least 25% better than else where.
Artists paint and draw
Selling oils and watercolors
What to buy: If you are buying art from an artist on the square, take the time to talk to the artist and get to know him/her better. Ask for a business card.....
What to pay: You might try to bargain for a small sconto--discount.
There are a few stalls dotted around Rome which are all linked and sell exactly the same things. 15 postcards for a Euro, models of the statue of David and the colloseum. Even though they are linked and not great they still good value for money.
Its a small shop mainly glass fronted with everything red white and green you could think of.
What to buy: They sell the usual flag badges, Italy car stickers etc but in addition they sell Red and Green Pinochio puppets. They are hand carved and quite the bargain.
What to pay: It depends on what you buy there, but prices range from 1 Euro to about 30 Euros for one of the small statues.
Just a very large flea market that happens in Trastevere on Sundays. Gives you a nice atmosphere and some good bargaining ground for getting gifts for people. Enjoy and bargain. Oh, you will definitely get a smaller price if you keep walking away from a stall, especially the purse selections. Remember they just want to sell (while still getting some profit!). ENJOY!
What to buy: Buy anything your little heart desires! there are shirts, shoes, designer bag knock-offs, antiques, jewelery, furniture, and food. you are bound to find something here.
What to pay: from 1E to 30E depending on what you are buying