Rome is a Mecca of aural and visual treats. Remnants of the great empire remain proud and dignified. Classical, Renaissance and Gothic architecture blend with modern high rise buildings. The people are feisty, swarthy and stylish.
The city is pure romanticism coming to life. The melting pot of cultures that the city boasts of is best savored slowly. Rome is a favorite of artists because the mere act of standing before the Colosseum is enough to flood their senses with infinite inspiration
Rome is as elegant as any European city imagined by ordinary folks through rose-tinted glasses. Many of the top designers are Italian so one of the things you will notice is how common high-end fashion houses are in Rome. The good news is that these finely crafted pieces can be had at prices significantly lower than say the US. The down side is that shopping in Rome is a bit different than what many of us are used to. For ordinary mortals like us who pursue the less sublime, Rome is a shopperís paradise.
When in Rome, dress to impress. Take the hint from the numerous designer stores you see. You can enjoy great bargains if you look the part. Italians are generally warm people but the sales personnel can get snooty.
Italians are creatures of pleasure and leisure. In Rome, all shops and businesses close for the afternoon siesta. If you have a lot of ground to cover, start your day early. Or do as the Romans do and use siesta to enjoy the sights over a nice meal and a bottle of wine.
Make sound shopping choices and decisions. Most shops in Rome have a no return, no exchange policy. Even if the product sold is defective or you changed your mind a few hours later, chances are the retailer will neither honor a refund nor an exchange.
If high end fashion is not your style, there are numerous specialty shops and street markets as well. The difficulty with specialty shops is most of their merchandise are kept behind counters. You need to know exactly what you want or be armed with a good number of Italian words. Street markets are fun and the variety of goods can be staggering. Be alert not just for good bargains but for pick-pockets and smooth sales talk. When in Rome indulge your shopping cravings but be alert, firm and smart.