What are some Christmas presents that are unique to Rome?
Shopping for presents is the quintessential holiday activity, and one that goes farther back in time than most people imagine – the current tradition is one of the remnants of the ancient Saturnalia rites, a Roman celebration that was held at the end of each year and included, among others, the exchanging of gifts. Over time, this practice became entrenched in the Christian cult of Christmas, and even those who are not religious tend to participate in that.
So, what better way than buying something in the very city that was famous for this particular rite?
We’ve selected a few items that you might be wanting to explore while in the city. These are not your standard souvenirs or even what most people would suggest, but at From Home to Rome we enjoy staying away from cliches!
For a foodie
Buying anything food-related in Italy should be easy enough, however travellers tend to go for those brands or products that have already made it big in their own country. While this is a perfectly valid approach, the food and wine scene is rich with alternatives, many of them local to Rome and the Lazio region, so we suggest you explore that – products are almost unheard of, they’re extremely high quality and cheaper, too.
- Wine: Casale del Giglio, Marco Carpineti, Ciolli or San Giovenale offer many interesting selections, many of them from organic grapes, in the sparkling, white and red categories.
- Coffee: Rome is home (pardon the pun) to a number of *torrefazioni*, shops where coffee is served as well as roasted and ground on the spot. Castroni, Sant’Eustachio, Tazza d’Oro are some of the most well-known torrefazioni in the center of the city, with locations being within walking distance from many of our managed apartments.
- … And everything else: Still looking for something unique (and very, very edible)? Try visiting either one of Eataly’s Roman branches and take your time sampling some of the products on sale there… or go with your gut (again, pardon the pun!) feeling.
For the sports fan
With two of Italy’s major teams being both from Rome, buying something football-related is as easy as saying “ciao!” – there are many stores for either AS Roma or SS Lazio in the city. Additionally, Rome has much loved basketball and volley teams and is huge on rugby culture. For these and many other sports, you will be able to find jerseys and other equipment either online or in such stores as Old Soccer, on Via di Ripetta, just meters away from our very own Paradiso Penthouse.
For the kitsch lover
Let’s face it, there is something inherently good in some”officially” bad-taste presents. The cheesy factor is so high that sometimes these objects make a full-circle and turn to be exquisitely funny. Take for instance the very well-known local calendar (no doubt you will have seen it on sale throughout Rome) with the “hot priests“. Or some of the more over-the-top figurines with reproductions of Roman emperors. We saw one of the emperor Augustus used as a bookend and we fell completely in love with the idea.
For the history buff
Of course with the amount of bookstores and museum shops all over the city you will be able to find many ideas of a more traditional kind if you’re shopping for someone who’s in love with Roman, Renaissance or Baroque history: exhibition posters & catalogs, books, weapon or armor replicas… You name it! However, taking a stroll into one of Rome’s flea markets can reveal many more options. The Porta Portese market, within walking distance from our Casa di Fenizio accommodation, always has some hidden jewels of the vintage and antique variety – prints, ornaments, paintings and so much more.
For fashion enthusiasts
While you will be able to find many familiar brands on Rome’s high streets, it’s the backroads you need to explore – the alleys around Campo Marzio, particularly (just downstairs from Campo Marzio Bellavista!) or Via del Corso are chock full of artisanal options when it comes to buying ties, shoes, suits and so much more.
Bonus tip: ceramics, jewelry and more
When it comes to the shopping experience, we can never praise the Roman central districts enough. If you’ve booked a place through From Home to Rome, you’ll be able to see why: all of our accommodations are quietly placed in Rome’s most scenic central areas, located directly above the city’s most interesting stores.
Take our apartment on Via dei Capocci, for instance: in a 10 minutes-walk radius from there, you will be able to find jewelry shops, independent boutiques, purse makers and ceramic stores. And if you decide to visit the well-known Mercato Monti on Via Leonina, open most weekends throughout the year, you’ll be able to catch them all together in the same indoors location, presenting their creations to a wider audience that’s eager to meet the Eternal City’s up and coming creative talents.
These are just a few examples in a city where the shopping experience is potentially limitless – stay tuned for more shopping tips!