Published on 22/11/17 in Press
The most fashionable street in Rome
…I must talk to you about the shops. The sight of tourists walking, loaded down with bags with all the known Italian brands printed on them, is as common in the Piazza di Spagna as that of pilgrims around Saint Peter’s. The record is held by the Japanese. It is unbelievable what they buy. They are followed by the Arabs and the Russians. The shops, in turn, hire young Japanese and Russian saleswomen to serve the customers, and I expect we’ll see Chinese shop assistants very soon. The first years that I lived here, I was always loaded down with bags as well, but when my closets became full, and our little tower/residence cramped with all my purchases, I put a stop to my reckless consumerism and finally realized that I felt just as much pleasure entering the same shops and buying only what was absolutely necessary.
Some of my friends tell me they shop just as well in the boutiques in Parioli, and in another couple of areas nearby, where prices are lower. I don’t know. I remain faithful to my old habits in the Piazza di Spagna, and to the streets that cross it, which makes me feel a bit of a tourist, it is true, but I won’t change. The quintessence of Roman shopping is here, and it is so nice to stroll among the shops and admire the windows. And I don’t want to limit myself to international brands but to those that are uniquely Roman, which are probably even better. I won’t tell you their names, you will have no difficulty in finding them. They are around everywhere.
Do be careful what time of year you go. There are days when swarms of Japanese crowd the shops and you will have to wait in line. It happened to me one time outside a well-known shop on the via Condotti, where the porter would open the door, letting us in ten at a time. I patiently waited my turn, having struck up a conversation with a French woman who absolutely had to buy a pair of pumps. She had forgotten hers in Paris and had a wedding to go to that night. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but decided to wait anyway because our conversation was so interesting. As we were talking, a Roman lady came by and, upon seeing so many women waiting in line to get in, said something quite rude. Her appearance matched her rude tone completely.
“What did she say?” the French woman asked me.
“I didn’t understand,” I told her, and it was true. I don’t understand Italian swear words, as strange as it may seem. I did understand the lie she told, though. She knocked on the window and told the porter she needed to change an item, and quickly, as she was in a hurry. He was slightly taken aback, but she knocked on the window again, more loudly this time, and her bracelets clanked together with the same intensity as her voice. Faced with such a volatile temperament, the young man disregarded his orders and opened the door to her. She stormed inside and I’m sure she never even thanked him.
Fifteen minutes later, it was time for our group of ten to enter the shop and, as I was wandering around, I happened upon Storm Lady. I told you she was a liar, and I was right. Biding her time, she was trying on the shop’s entire spring collection... An excerpt from the book: Feeling ROME
Images: Via dei Condotti
A bag designed by Salvatore Ferragamo
Bulgari - High Jewellery Collection
A bag designed by Gucci
The e-book Feeling ROME, illustrated with colour images, is available on:
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YouTube Book Trailer Feeling ROME: http://youtu.be/n7wWEazN8fA