|Alcova||A wide range of fetish gear and interesting labels.|
|Libreria Babele||Wide range of books and also a great resource centre for maps, info etc.|
|Studio||Gay Sex Shop offering everything a boy or girl could need.|
Gay Rome is also a hotbed of elegant fashion with a wide range of fabulous designer stores. The Italians love to shop for clothes, and for modern-day Romans it’s a question of quality rather than quantity - even the less well-to-do spend a vast proportion of their income on looking good.
Most of the designer boutiques are clustered around the Spanish Steps, with big names such as Gucci, Prada and Missoni well represented. Even if you don’t have the funds to splash out, it’s a great area to window shop and people watch while enjoying an espresso in one of the many open-air gay Rome cafes.
The Piazza San Silvestro exhibits Rome's best jewellers, Bulgari and Martinelli, among others. In Via del Corso one can find, in addition to an assortment of clothing department stores, the flagship stores for Ferrari (which is worth a look if nothing else) and Swarovski, with exquisite crystal-wrought crafts.
The markets of central Rome, which operate Monday to Saturday from 7am to 1pm offer a variety of tourist memorabilia and souvenirs. On Sundays, the popular Porta Portese flea market operates from the Trastevere district. While this market is stimulating for shopping enthusiasts, Rome has some of the most skilled pickpockets in the world and visitors are advised to take care with possessions.
Libreria Babele Rome (Via dei Banchi Vecchi 116) has been Rome's gay bookstore since 1993. As well as the expected gay books and magazines, DVDs, and CDs, this gem is also a community center of sorts, with guides, maps, events and a comfortable drop-in and hang-out feel to the place. You can find titles in English.
Many local sex and fetish shops stock gay merchandise, but a couple are of more interest than the others: Alcovo (Piazza Sforza Cesarini 27) and Hydra II (Via Urbana 139) both stock leather and fetish items, and the latter also carries Western, vinyl, and vintage wear.
SHOPS ARE OPEN FROM 9 am to 1 pm and from 3:30/4 pm to 7:30/8 pm Tuesday to Saturday, and Monday afternoon. From the middle of June to the middle of September, the shops are closed on Saturday afternoon but would be open on Monday morning.