How can you bring a piece of your Roman holiday to your friends and family back home that are and will probably remain jealous for a long time? What are the best gifts you can bring home from Rome to surprise and make everyone happy?
Among the many fun things to do, drawing a list of what to buy in Rome is often a traveler’s favorite. Finding the best souvenirs from Rome is a great way to bring home nice memories and gifts your friends will love.
Are you still wondering what to buy in Rome? Here is our selection of the best gifts from Rome and where to find them!
Rome Souvenirs for Foodies
Guanciale, pancetta, porchetta. All these Roman and regional cured meats are a treat for your meat-loving friends. You can use them for cooking, for example, guanciale if you want to make the perfect Amatriciana, or porchetta if you want to make the hearty sandwich you had as a cheap, on-the-go lunch in Rome.
While these are pretty famous and easy to find in most food stores, there are other regional cold cuts that are definitely less famous and available in the market. But how many know about the “coppiette di Bassiano” (dried pork meat)? Or the Roman mortadella that is actually quite different than Bologna’s one? These are treats that you can find in gourmet food shops like Volpetti in Testaccio or La Norcineria Iacozzilli in Trastevere, or in local food markets such as the Campagna Amica held on the weekends near the Circus Maximus.
In Rome, you can buy all types of Italian cheeses, from Parmigiano Reggiano to gorgonzola. But if you want a Roman product, you should definitely go for a good-quality Pecorino Romano DOP. You can use this in chunks to make your daily cheese platter out of the ordinary or grated to make the perfect tonnarelli cacio e pepe.
Pecorino is a sheep-milk cheese that can be more or less aged, and since it’s the regional pride, you can find it also in different flavors including walnuts, saffron, black pepper, chili, or the fantastic version with truffles. Other types of cheese you can buy in Rome as gifts are the fresh caciotta and the fresh stretched curd Fiordilatte, both made with sheep or goat milk, and the fresh ricotta, even though the latter is quite difficult to pack and carry.
The best places where you can buy the traditional cheeses that will make fantastic Rome souvenirs are local delis such as La Norcineria in Trastevere and Volpetti in Via Marmorata, or the fantastic food markets including Mercato Trionfale in Via Andrea Doria and Mercato Testaccio in Via Galvani.
Wine – What to Buy in Rome for Your Epicurean Friend
The famous wines from the Castelli Romani towns will be a very appreciated gift from Rome for any wine lover. You can find wines from every Italian region in most food stores, but if you want the highest quality, you should look for an “enoteca”, which is a wine shop. Some good enoteche in Rome are Buccone (Via Ripetta 19/20), Enoteca Costantini (Piazza Cavour 16b), Enoteca del Frate in the Prati neighborhood (Via degli Scipioni 122) and Enoteca Ferrara in Trastevere (Piazza Trilussa 41).
If you want to buy artisan chocolate in Rome as a gift, I suggest that rather than picking one from a store shelf, you go to the source, the lovely SAID dal 1923 chocolate factory in the San Lorenzo neighborhood (Via Tiburtina 135). Plenty of flavors, daring combinations, unusual shapes, and for sure picturesque gift packaging. While deciding what to buy in Rome, at SAID’s, you can also have a quick lunch or, if you go in the evening, an aperitif with an ambrosial chocolate-flavored cocktail.
Central Italy is famous for its truffles, so in Rome, you can buy delicious truffle-based products, especially pasta sauces and creams. You can find these in several artisan food shops including Castroni in the Prati area and Volpetti in the Testaccio neighborhood.
But if you want to buy a little piece of the actual truffle mushroom, I recommend trying your luck at the Campagna Amica food market that takes place every Saturday and Sunday near the Circus Maximus. This is, out of question, one of my favorite food markets in Rome where you can find also other regional specialties and are a great place to visit in Rome when it rains. These include goat dairy products, olive oil, wines, bread, pasta made with local ancient grains, and what to buy in Rome if you want to impress your connoisseur friends.
Sweets and Pastries
We all know how much Italians love to end their meal with a dessert. Even if I am always careful about what I eat, I often welcome a little sweetness after lunch. The whole country boasts a great tradition of cakes and cookies, and a nice package of traditional sweets is one of the favorite souvenirs from Rome you can bring your friends and family.
Even though there are industrial versions of traditional sweets in many store chains, I suggest you opt for smaller shops, bakeries, or delis for a larger choice and definitely better quality. While fresh pastries such as cornetto and maritozzo can only be consumed in loco, there are sweets that can totally be packed and become easy things to buy in Rome.
Some of the typical pastries belonging to the old Roman tradition easy to pack either in your carry-on or hand luggage are Pangiallo Romano made of different kinds of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, with the addition of honey and raisins, Panpepato, a different version of the Pangiallo enriched with chocolate and spices, Mostaccioli, a very old recipe that ancient Romans used for weddings, and Torrone Romano, also dating back to the ancient Rome and enriched with pistachio, almonds, and chocolate.
Some of the places I recommend you buy your sweet gift from Rome are Valzani, a great pastry shop in Via del Moro in Trastevere, and Antico Forno Roscioli, historic bakery in Via dei Chiavari near Campo de’ Fiori.
Fashion Gifts from Rome to Wear
Even though in Rome you can find all big jewelry brands such as Bulgari, Morellato, and Cartier, if you are wondering what to buy in Rome as a unique piece, I suggest preferring the local artisans still up and running despite the big store chains competition.
In the very city center, right in the Tridente area, visit Bottega Franchi (Via Ripetta 156) operative since 1962, for some wonderful, original pieces including rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, and sculptures. While near Piazza Navona, visit Cristiana Perali (Via dei Banchi Vecchi 60) for sophisticated pieces of jewelry including a collection devoted to Roman historical symbols such as the amphorae, the cobblestones, and olive tree leaves.
If you are into a more contemporary design, Anna Retico Design‘s boutique and workshop in Trastevere (Vicolo del Cinque 13) exposes her collection of colorful necklaces, rings, and earrings in every shape and unusual material including rubber, PVC, and nylon!
If you are a fan of leather accessories, visit at least once the Artigianino stores. Founded in 1991 with a workshop in the Appian Way, it’s now present with a few stores around Rome, including in the Centro Storico (Via del Corso 527/A) and in the Piazza Navona area (Via del Governo Vecchio 129). Bags, small purses, wallets, belts, keyrings, backpacks, and other types of accessories made of high-quality leather from Tuscany in a large range of colors and elegant shapes. Here, you can secure fantastic gifts from Rome for your trendiest loved ones!
What’s a better place than the Vatican to buy a Catholic rosary? Between the gift shop of the Vatican itself and the myriad of religious goods stores lined up in the neighboring alleys, you can find rosaries of every color, shape, and type of beads, from the most precious ones to plastic rosaries for a budget gift from Rome.
From the shops in Via di Porta Angelica, Borgo Pio, Borgo Vittorio, and Via del Mascherino, a rosary, whether it’s a precious jewel or a simple one, is definitely what to buy in Rome if you have a spiritual friend or relative.
Do you have friends and family with unconventional tastes and daring fashion trends? What about an artisan handmade hat as a souvenir from Rome? Browse the beautiful creations of Patrizia Fabri Antica Manifattura Cappelli and be sure that you will find something perfect. Founded in 1936 by a Tuscan family of hat-makers and taken over by fashion designer Patrizia Fabri, here they sell hats for every occasion and style. You can find them in two venues in Rome, Via degli Scipioni 46 in Prati and Via dell’Oca 34 in the Centro Storico right next to Piazza del Popolo.
Home + Décor Souvenirs from Rome
Not just rosaries and beads but also decorative objects, paintings, calendars, and all types of collectibles available in the stores around the Vatican and Borgo quarter are among the favorite souvenirs from Rome. You will find something for every style and budget, from cheap plates to decorative crosses and sculptures.
If you are planning also a day trip from Rome and are still behind with the gift shopping, why don’t you head to Viterbo? In this magical city, strolling around its medieval San Pellegrino quarter, you can find stunning ceramics, all typical of the area and strictly handmade. As a matter of fact, you will likely see the artisans working as often their workshop is located in their store.
We loved the store of Cinzia Chiulli Percorsi Artistici (Via San Pellegrino 27), a feast of artsy homeware and décor made according to the new and old Tuscia tradition. Whether you want some small and easy to pack, affordable for a little token, or an important, expensive gift, here you will be spoiled for choice. This is what to buy in Rome as a gift for someone you know has an artsy personality and fine taste.
Who said that all your souvenirs from Rome need to be expensive? What to buy in Rome if you want just a small token but nothing too demanding? You can find fridge magnets of different colors, dimensions, shapes, and subjects all over the city. There are naturally more around the tourist landmarks with the images of the main highlights, but you will find some also in other neighborhoods, and probably less tourist-looking, maybe representing some Roman dish or Roman tradition.
It might be hard to believe, but even in the 2.0 era, in Italy, you will find plenty of paper postcards, and if you are still looking for ideas of what to buy in Rome, with a nice, artsy postcard you are likely to surprise your friends. Whether you want to send them or bring them with you, one of the best Rome souvenirs really is good, picturesque, old-fashion postcards.
You will probably find them around popular landmarks, but also in stationery shops around the city. Postcards are professionally taken photos so if you really want good memories of your trip and don’t have a camera, they make for a fantastic gift from Rome for yourself, too!
If you need help writing them, check out this great tutorial on how to send souvenir postcards!
This is one of the very original and exclusive gifts to buy in Rome. All types of objects such as little chests of drawers, picture frames, photo albums, and personal diaries are decorated with artistic hand-painted paper. These Rome souvenirs can really adapt to anyone: from a simple notepad to a daily agenda, hand-painted objects make for thoughtful and quite inexpensive gifts from Rome.
Of course, you can buy pretty things in store chains and shopping malls, but let’s face it, when they are made in small artisan shops, they look, feel and smell different, and a connaisseur will totally tell. The place I recommend for this type of Rome souvenir is the historic shop of Aldo Fefé (Via della Stelletta 20b) near the Spanish Steps so in the hearty of any Rome classic tour.
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