You’re finally taking your dream vacation — a cruise around Europe — and we hope you’ve made Rome, Italy, part of your travel itinerary. When cruising with Carnival, you’ll have the opportunity stop in Civitavecchia, in which you will have the option to travel to Rome. Once there, our vacation experts offer many things to do in Rome, otherwise known as the Eternal City, through one of our shore excursions. When you take a cruise to Rome, you travel to a city that is steeped in culture and history and also has a delectable cuisine that will make you want to stay forever. But don’t forget to make sure to bring home a special souvenir to relive those memories every day.
Here are the top 15 things to buy in Rome, Italy, when you tour this beautiful city.
1. Italian Ceramics
Many regions in Italy like Sicily, Tuscany and Umbria offer different but equally beautiful styles of hand-painted ceramics. Infuse your home with Italian-made charm by choosing a piece or two of this colorful pottery. You can also purchase a few, smaller items such as mugs, pitchers, a butter dish, a candle holder or salt and pepper shakers. There is a wide variety of items to choose from, you’ll want to take them all back home!
Italy and high-quality shoes go hand in hand. Designer Italian shoes sell for hundreds of dollars — you definitely get what you pay for — classic styles, high-quality materials, artistic craftsmanship and long-lasting wear. When you do go shopping, look for Italian shoes that fit your style at flagship stores, boutiques, outlet malls and markets.
3. A Leather Hand Bag or Travel Satchel
When it comes to a handbag or travel satchel, nothing beats a product made from real Italian leather. For the best leather goods in Rome, shop for pieces made from pieno fiore (full-grain) or cuoio di grano (top-grain) leather. You’ll be impressed by the authenticity of these items as you touch the fine leather. With a butter-soft and rich earthy aroma, you will feel as brand new as your new Italian bag!
Jewelry design in Italy dates back to the ancient Romans who sported all types of jewelry made from silver, gold, bronze, bone and various types of gemstones.
Because choosing jewelry is all about personal taste, shop for pieces that speak to you and fit within your budget. The nice thing about jewelry shopping in Italy is the consistent craftsmanship — even modest pieces feature great attention to detail.
Some of the biggest names in fashion are found in Italy, and Rome offers many flagship stores and plenty of boutiques that sell designer clothing. If haute couture is out of your price range, you can always try to find great, second-hand items of designer clothing in thrift stores and flea markets throughout town.
6. Silk Neckties and Scarves
Because they are high quality, luxurious and take up little space, silk neckties and scarves make a popular shopping choice for travelers to Rome. Many synthetic fabrics such as acetate, nylon and polyester are mistaken for silk, so be careful when shopping. Look for ties and scarves with a shimmery sheen, a very smooth feel and rolled, hand-stitched edges. These timeless pieces will be a hit when you wear them back at home.
Walk by a perfume shop (profumerie) in Rome, and you’ll notice how the fragrance gently wafts out onto the street. Inside, you’ll find chic furnishings and coffee beans in a small bowl that you’ll smell to cleanse your olfactory palate, in between perfume “tastings.” Because Romans like to make every moment an experience, some shops even offer cocktails. In addition to perfumes, you can find scented body oils, shower gels and lotions for sale.
Don’t forget to purchase some authentic Italian pasta to use in your new-found recipes. There are so many kinds to choose from, but we recommend picking pastas you might not be able to find at home. Think bucatini, which looks like spaghetti but has a tiny hole running through it, or orecchiette, which translates to “little ears” due to its shape. When shopping, remember that U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires that all foods taken on or off cruise ships be packaged and sealed.
9. Gourmet Foods
For more cooking fun or for great gifts, choose packaged gourmet foods popular throughout Italy. Things that should fit in your luggage easily include bottles of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and truffle oil; jars of porcini mushrooms; tubes of Italian tomato paste or olive paste and boxes of chocolates.
10. Italian Cookbooks
The food you will taste in Rome is out of this world, so make sure to buy some cookbooks to replicate these unforgettable meals at home. Look for cookbooks that feature popular local dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara (spaghetti carbonara), coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew), carciofi alla Romana (Roman-style artichokes) and suppli (fried rice balls). Mastering these recipes is another fantastic way to share your travel experience with friends and family, you will be the new rave of homemade dinners.
11. Coffee Products
Since Italy is the home of espresso, cappuccino and macchiato, it stands to reason you might want to pick up a few coffee products to bring home. Buy a package of locally-grown, whole or ground coffee beans, or consider some chocolate-covered beans, espresso candies or a bottle of coffee liqueur.
If you’re a wine lover, you may not want to leave Rome without a bottle of red or white (only one duty-free liter per adult is allowed back into the U.S.). Most grocery stores in Rome offer a good selection of local wines, but visit a wine store if you’re looking for something special. The Castelli Romani region just southeast of Rome produces some excellent red or white blends, or you can try a budget-friendly Barbera, a popular wine from Northern Italy featuring deep color, full body and low tannins.
13. Other Adult Beverages
In addition to wine, Italy produces a few other adult beverages that travelers are sure to enjoy. You might like a bottle of limoncello, a lemon-flavored liqueur that comes from the Amalfi coast. Other popular purchases include grappa, a grape-based brandy, or amaretto, a sweet liqueur for sipping or adding to coffee or cocktails. Any alcohol purchased ashore when sailing on Carnival Cruise lines will be safely stored with your ship’s crew until the end of your voyage. Check out our FAQ to learn more.
The city of Rome and its surrounding countryside serve as inspiration to many local artists who sell their creations in galleries, studios and stores and at squares and markets. Look for oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and more. For a one-of-a-kind purchase, find a street artist who will create an on-the-spot portrait or caricatures for the kids.
15. Religious Items
Because Rome is the home of Vatican City, it’s not surprising that many visitors pick up religious items to bring home. As you get closer to the area, you’ll find shops featuring all kinds of religious products, from rosaries and replicas of statues to pendants and postcards.
When you’re stopping in Rome on your European cruise, get some shopping done while you’re exploring this beautiful city. Check out shops, galleries and markets, and choose any of these 15 items for cherished mementos and great gifts.